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Don’t beat yourself up: Great parenting isn’t mistake free

Every parent, no matter how many children they have, goes through guilt whenever they feel that they are not being a perfect mom or dad. As parents, we put ourselves through tremendous stress to provide the best possible life for our children, and there is no shame in that. It is important to do everything that you can for your children. We want our children to have access to as many learning and growth opportunities as possible; we want to spend a lot of quality time with our children; to be at every birthday party, sports game, playdate; to cook them healthy meals and help with homework.

It’s an exhaustive list, and it can be extremely overwhelming, and sometimes you feel as though it isn’t enough! Take a deep breath – because like Bob Marley said, “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

As a society, we often place many high expectations and unrealistic goals on ourselves and our children, and for families in which both parents are working, this can be extremely difficult to deal with – especially if you follow along with the parenting how-to books that you see on Amazon and other book retailers.

It’s time to give yourself a break and recognize that nobody knows your child quite like you. Don’t let yourself get beat up because you think that you are not doing everything the books say you should be. You will completely stress yourself out, and that will have a much deeper effect on your child than missing that soccer goal.

A study published in March 2006 concluded that a mother’s mental health directly affects her kids. Kids whose moms were treated — successfully — for depression were much less likely to become depressed themselves. But if the mom’s depression continued, her children were more likely to become depressed, too.

BabyCenter has a great article about this and a list of Wisdom for Happier Mothering – head over to their website for more reading. Here are a few tips from their site:

  • We all have guilt, just don’t let it take hold. We feel because we intend to do the best by our children, but that is not always possible. You cannot let guilt hold you down.
  • Your instincts are just fine. Good parenting comes from the soul, heart, and gut. Treat others as you wish to be treated is a great motto to live by.
  • Taking care of yourself is important. Don’t forget that you are more than just a mother or father, you are a human being that deserves to be able to take care of yourself.

Parenting isn’t easy – nobody ever said that it was. But beyond the day-to-day struggles of getting kids dressed, making dinners, and giving baths, there are mental struggles that we as parents deal with every day. Often it’s too much to bear, and it can take its toll on us if we allow it. It is important to take a deep breath, sit back, get a look at the larger pictures, and say to ourselves “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

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