Parenting comes with pressure. I mean if the Duchess of Cambridge can admit to “experiencing a lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance under the pressures of being a perfect parent”—then we ‘normal’ moms don’t really stand a chance. We might not all be raising a future King with the world documenting our every move, but we are raising the next generation of leaders—and that is a big undertaking. Whether it is pressure we put on ourselves or outside pressure, at one time or another we all experience it.
Decades ago raising children was a community undertaking – hence the “it takes a village” phrase. However, in our ultra-competitive society, parenting has transitioned from a village task, to the shoulders of individual parents. With this transition has also come the rise of meeting a “perfect parent” ideal. Constantly reaching for unobtainable ideals often leaves parents feeling stressed, overwhelmed and with the strong sensation of living inside a pressure cooker. On those days where you think, “man this is hard,” here are a few things to keep in mind:
You are not alone. Other parents feel pressure too. Stress is a normal part of life and parenting. Small amounts of stress are actually healthy and help us focus and get things done. (Maybe this is why moms are so good at tackling those to-do lists? I’d like to think so!)
Experts don’t exist. There is no parenting expert. Yes there are doctors out there with their own parenting ideas, but you are the only expert when it comes to your child. You have a Ph.D. in your child and should always trust your gut when it comes to making decisions that fit your child and family.
Pinterest is not reality. Alright, I admit that I love Pinterest. A lot. Getting decorating ideas from Pinterest is something I really enjoy; however, I do have to remind myself that most of the pictures found on social media are not reality. All you are getting is small, edited (and often planned and set up) snippets of life. You cannot compare your parenting, home decorating or cooking skills to what you see on social media – it’s not healthy and it’s not everyone’s reality.
Parents are rockstars. To all of you – you are rockstars. In your child’s eyes you are the coolest. While you might doubt yourself or focus more on your shortcomings, realize that your kids don’t see it this way. They see a loving parent who they want to emulate. Our four-year-old son has recently started to wear my husband’s shirts around while stating that he wants to be “just like Daddy” – which for my husband is equal parts adorable and terrifying. For me, I find it incredibly sweet, and thanks to these dang mom hormones, I usually tear up each time he puts on that over sized shirt and marches around our home.
Instead of aiming to be a “perfect parent”, how about we aim to be a happy parent. That sounds like more fun and carries far less pressure. Let’s take joy in our parenting strengths, hug our kids and smile more.