Let’s face it, being a parent isn’t easy. It can often feel like a never-ending cycle of stress, worry and frustration. By the end of the day, the only thing you feel like doing is getting into bed and slipping into a long, deep coma!
However, there are ways to make parenting that little bit easier. Changing your mindset and a few simple habits, could make a massive difference to your parenting journey. So, if you’re looking to become a happier, more relaxed parent in 2018, here you’ll discover some of the top things you need to let go of.
1. Comparing Yourself To Others
One of the most common mistakes parents unknowingly make is comparing themselves to others. Social media has brought a lot of positives, enabling us to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. However, there’s no denying it’s also contributed towards a “comparison culture”.
Seeing statuses from parents gushing about their perfect children and lives can make us feel like utter failures. It makes you wonder where you’re going wrong and why your children can’t be as well behaved as everyone else’s. What you don’t tend to realize is that their lives aren’t as perfect as they seem. They too have days where their baby has kept them up all night and covered them in a poonami! They just don’t post anything about these less than perfect days. So, in reality you’re comparing yourself to something which isn’t even real.
Although it’s tough to break the cycle of comparing yourself to other parents, doing so will make you massively happier. The next time you catch yourself wishing you or your children were like others, remind yourself they too aren’t perfect.
As a parent, it feels like there’s always something to feel guilty about. Whether it’s guilt from needing to return to work, or guilt that you let your toddler eat candy for breakfast because it was easier; guilt is a very common yet destructive feeling.
When you feel guilty, it drags you down, making it impossible to be happy. You need to start trusting in yourself and realizing that you’re making the best choices to meet the needs of your family. Even if you make mistakes, it’s all part of being a parent. Nobody gets it right all of the time. So, stop feeling guilty. Refuse to feel guilty! By doing so, you’ll end up a lot happier.
3. Over Worrying
Again, worry is all part and parcel of being a parent. However, over-worrying is not. So, how can you tell the difference? Well, as soon as the worry takes over your mind, or if you’re worrying about something which might not even happen, that’s over-worrying.
You’re always going to worry about your children to some degree. However, what you need to remind yourself is worrying is nothing more than a waste of time. It’s not going to change the situation and it’s certainly not going to alter the outcome or solve anything. All it’s going to do is add stress and unhappiness to your life. So, the next time you catch yourself tied up in knots over something which might not even happen, stop. Take deep breaths and resolve to stop over-worrying. Distract yourself with something else if you need to, just don’t let it drag you down.
4. Putting Yourself Last
Your priorities definitely change when you become a parent. Naturally you’re going to start putting your child first. However, this doesn’t mean that your needs aren’t important too. Putting yourself last isn’t noble and it’s definitely not going to help your child. What they need is a happy, healthy parent. So, this year it’s time to start putting yourself first again.
This doesn’t mean you need to be selfish. It just means you need to start making time for yourself and your needs. Make sure you get your regular health checks and you have the odd day, or even just an hour, where you do whatever it is you want to do. Doing this will make you a much happier parent, which in turn will make your children much happier too.
5. Unrealistic Expectations
Before you became a parent, you likely had an image of how you thought it would be. Looking back on that now, is it exactly what you thought? Probably not!
At the end of the day, you and your children are only human. Nobody is perfect, we all have flaws and life isn’t always going to turn out how you expect it to. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine! Holding on to unrealistic expectations is only setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
How often have you not done something because of fear? Like guilt, fear can be a very powerful emotion. It holds us back, makes us miserable and limits our opportunities. If you let fear dictate what you and your children do in life, you’re never going to be happy.
So, whatever your fears may be, this year resolve to face them. Often, our fears are never as bad as we truly imagine them to be. When you face and conquer your fears, it brings a great sense of empowerment and also makes life a lot more fun!
7. Caring What Others Think
Do you often find yourself worrying about what other people think of you and your parenting skills? If so, you’re definitely not alone. So many parents let other people’s opinions dictate what they do, say and how they act. However, what you really need to realize is that the only person’s opinion which truly matters, is your own.
This is your life and your parenting journey. If other people disapprove, that’s their problem, not yours. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror and be proud of who you are and the decisions you’re making, that’s truly the only thing that matters. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you really don’t need to listen to them. Focus on what you think and remember that there will always be somebody who disapproves or feels you could be doing something differently. It’s impossible to please everyone so don’t even try.
8. Thinking You Need To Be A Super Parent
This one ties in closely with unrealistic expectations. There seems to be an unwritten rule these days that parents need to be able to do it all. Again, social media has played a large role in the development of this belief, as we frequently see other parents seemingly managing to create the perfect balance.
You feel you should be able to take care of your children, maintain a clean home, go to work, cook delicious homemade meals, maintain an active social life and keep yourself in shape. It’s what other people do, so you should be able to do it too right? Wrong! This isn’t actually what most other parents do. Most parents struggle just as much as you do, they just may be better at hiding it. Even the rare handful of parents who do appear to do it all, don’t have it as together as you might think. They may be over-stressed and unhappy with the consistent pressure. Or, they may simply get a lot more help than you do.
So, ease up on yourself and stop trying to be the perfect parent – they don’t exist! Just focus on doing the best job you can. As long as your children are healthy and happy, that’s all that matters.
These are just some of the things you really need to let go of in order to be happy. It sounds easy enough, but the truth is, letting go of these thoughts and behaviors is tough. It’s not going to happen overnight. However, with persistence and perseverance, it is totally possible to let go of these things that are weighing you down.