An amazing friend of mine wrote a post entitled, “100 Ways to Be Kind to Your Child“. It’s a fantastic piece, one written by a real mom with all the sincerity of her heart. She’s a mom who knows as well as any that there are times when the stress of the day piles on until you feel like you could very well snap. So she created this great resource. 100 ideas for a parent to choose to be kind, and to be intentional and mindful in those simple acts of kindness. (You really should read it.)
Yet with that post, as with many like it, too many parents see it — not as a list of 100 diverse ideas so that hopefully, maybe, at least one will resonate with them and be that answer they needed — but as a list of 100 more things they have to do to be “good enough”. 100 more reasons to feel guilty about not being a perfect parent. 100 more ways they might be ruining their kids.
Parenting is not a test (as Kate Fairlie wrote perfectly at Childhood 101). You’re not going to find an answer key in a blog post, one against which you can measure your performance and assign a grade.
You’ll find some great suggestions. Some will be just what you needed to hear. Some won’t be right for you. Not right now. But that’s no reason to think you’ve got it all wrong.
In this Information Age it is easy to find so many wonderful resources, so many new ideas. Though we can now access this seemingly unlimited wealth of knowledge all from a little phone in our back pockets we are still mere mortals ourselves. We can only do so much right now.
And chances are, those who write all those brilliant lists don’t intend for you to do it all at once anyway. Usually they’re just hoping you’ll be inspired by something. Just one thing.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed when you read about all the things you could be doing with your kids, let go of the guilt. Pat yourself on the back for what you are already doing (whether it made the list or not). Ask yourself if there’s one thing on that list you could work on. Just one. One thing you think would mean something to your child.
Focusing on that one will accomplish much more than feeling guilty about the other 99 ever will.
This is part of the Myth of Perfect Parenting Series. Read them all, starting here.