You are an awesome parent!
How did that feel going down? A little too self-congratulatory, maybe?
When you read the title, I am sure that you felt the sting of self-judgement. See, you know that you still sneak your almost 4-year-old his pacifier whenever the whining inches to cosmic levels.
Or you take potty training a little less seriously than all of your other friends (and your mother) think you should! Dinner is sometimes a hodgepodge of canned chicken noodle soup, a couple of slices of left over bacon, and a handful of chocolate covered raisins...you know, for fruit.
So, saying that you are an awesome parent is a new concept entirely for many of us. But, there is a secret.
"I’ve learned that being a loving or even super hero scale parent is not about some giant invisible blanket that must cover every inch of your parenting."
You can be awesome in some or many areas…but not one of us gets to be awe-inspiring in all of them.
Your child receives an intricate love from you that she will not receive in the exact same way from any other person in her lifetime. You love in ways that are especially suited to soothe the soul of your little one. Your unique form of parenting highlights all of those things that are purest inside of you.
So, think about it. What do you do that makes your child(ren) feel especially loved? How is your commitment and consistency in this area of super hero proportions?
Let me give you a few examples:
1. My friend Corinne is a ball of playful energy. At any time, you can find her in the middle of her living room engaged in sword fights with her children or chasing around a drooling baby for hours on end. She is a very physically engaged parent and the person that you want on your team during the annual Christmas Eve Dodge Ball game. Trust me on this!
2. My girlfriend Ana is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama who is always devising some cool educational activity for her children. She knows exactly where they are academically and has detailed plans on how to move each of them to the next level. She has centers for crafts, for computer time, and she does all of this while serving as a support system for many other moms.
3. My friend Tiffany is an event planning goddess. Her daughter has the best birthday parties with monogrammed outfits and specialty cakes that were ordered weeks in advance. Each napkin, cookie, and decoration are meticulously coordinated. And, I can see the parents walking around taking mental notes on how to bump up their birthday party game whenever she has a party. I’ll see if I can get you an invitation to the annual Christmas Cookie Party.
You see, I could give you examples like these for days. These friends are actually fantastic moms and there are so many things that I admire about each of them.
"But neither of those parenting traits fit me at all."
I am neither a great crafter nor do I aspire to be. My kids’ birthday parties include cupcakes, pizza, and prepacked decorations from Party City- the ones that were on sale. My children have always gone to daycare and I don’t hand out any rocket science parenting advice. Oh, and I tend to facilitate the roll around and chase each other activities from my couch.
None of those are my “bang up” parenting areas.
That said, here is where you will find my Wonder Woman mama cape:
1. We dance. We dance in the car on the way to school. We dance in the living room as we reenact scenes from Annie or practice the routine for the closing scene of Trolls! The girls have a dance party while jumping on my bed anytime I am trying to fold my overflowing pile of clothes.
2. We sing. We sing on the way to school. We sing about the alphabet. We sing about God. We sing Vivienne Green’s song about getting back home to her baby. We sing about rainbows and about doing the Cupid Shuffle. We sing theme songs to television shows - especially the opening song for Elena of Avalor.
3. We make up. We make up after someone has been in time out or after an argument. After we find calm again, the offending party (many times me!) apologizes and asks for forgiveness. The other person (most of the time) says “I forgive you” and we start over. We don’t hold grudges and we allow each other to begin again as many times as needed each day.
4. We have entire days where we don’t get dressed for the day. We hang out in whatever ridiculous state each hour finds us in. Pajamas. Tee shirts. Different colored socks. No socks. Who cares? We look horrible and play Uno. That’s our plan for the day. Uno that includes hugs each time two us share a matching color. The other rules are just too complicated for us. In our family, we have pajama days and play rule-free Uno. It's kind of our thing.
5. We use loving words. I say how proud I am of them. Or that hanging out with them is my favorite thing to do. Or that I see them being brave. I tell them the words that are in my heart. I hope they hold on to them for safe keeping.
I’m sure there are others and I will try to think of them to add to my rock star parenting list.
And, I will also try to have patience for all the other areas where I am scoring a steady C-. The long list of areas that I cringe about when I think them over. I’ll try to have more compassion in my self-judgement and I urge you to do the same.
You are doing so well!
"In your sweet spot areas, you are at the top of your parenting game."
You are the Lebron James of snuggles or the Serena Williams of patience. You are the Rocky Balboa of keeping an organized home or the Michael Jordan of creating fun and nutritious snacks. Your art projects are Pinterest worthy and your ability to budget down to the penny should be featured in Good Housekeeping magazine.
No one can do it quite like you and your little one loves you to pieces for it!
So, for the record, you are one awesome parent. The stars sing your praises and so do we! Please take a moment to really focus on the things that you do well. Take a moment to list the ways that you love and to celebrate how consistently and freely you give that love.
You are absolutely dominating the parenting game! You just have to know where to look to tally up your score.