One of the worst thing a parent can do is compare themselves to another parent, especially a celebrity parent. We see it more than ever now, celebrities toting their children—some biological, some adopted—as their latest accessory. It can be very easy for us ‘everyday’ parents to find ourselves wondering just how they manage to have the glamorous lifestyle and still have the kids in bed by nine.
Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Many of these parents have way more help then we do. It’s unfair to compare ourselves with the rich and famous. They have round-the-clock nannies and the best that money can buy. Surely the pictures we see of them at the park strolling hand-in-hand with their well-behaved children are a far cry from the pictures we never see of them: frustrated, tearing their hair out with up-all-night babies and crazed teenagers. Even still, if we’re not peering into the lives of the onscreen June Cleavers we still may find ourselves a little curious as to how other parents handle the odds-and-ends of parenthood.
The truth: It’s such a waste of time and effort to constantly try and follow the latest parenting trends. What works for one family doesn’t always work for another. Each family is different. Each child is different, and each parent—mom or dad—has a different idea of what’s best for their child. I remember feeling a little uncomfortable when other parents would talk about the awards their child was receiving at school when my child was struggling. I felt the heartache and self doubt when my methods of parenting wasn’t giving the results I was hoping for. I felt that pain. I felt as if I had let my child down and myself down. So I stopped and “got back to scratch” (i.e., made a fresh start). I developed these simple rules for “Getting Back to Scratch:”
- Trust – Self doubt is a parent’s worst enemy. You have to trust in yourself and keep in mind you will make mistakes.
- Keep an open mind – Holding on to generational parenting ideas can sometimes hinder a parent. Instilling culture is a must but it’s okay to accept some of today’s new modern approaches.
- Forgive – When I say forgive I’m talking about forgiving YOURSELF. It’s easy to become overcritical of ourselves especially if we’re too busy comparing.
- Stick to what works – Like I mentioned before, doing what works for your family is the essence of good parenting. Maybe you do homework right after school, maybe you do homework after everyone’s had dinner and settled down. Either way is right as long as it works for you.
- Share – Don’t be a hero. Share the responsibility of parenting with trusted family or even friends. When you need a break, ask for one. Create a blog or web page where you can share ideas with other parents around the world, explore your similarities and just vent if you have to.
- Divide and Conquer – If the problem is the kids won’t listen, the rooms aren’t getting clean, homework’s not getting done, etc., pick one thing and focus on that first. Then move on to the next issue.
There’s nothing glamorous about being up all night changing diapers and telling a teen twenty times to clean their room. But there is something to be said about a parent who listens to his/her family’s needs and creates a custom template for raising her/his child. In fact, it makes for a fabulous parent!by