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As parents, we try so hard to do the right thing for our children in a world where there is no single right answer. The weight of this responsibility is huge. We get caught up in "should-dos." We’re quick to judge, and can be extremely harsh judges of our own parenting. Too often we forget to practice self-compassion. We forget to be quiet and still and listen to our own heart.
There is endless information out there about how one should parent. We feel guilty all the time. We feel like we’re never doing as good as we could be. We worry WAY TOO MUCH!
As wonderful as living in a world of connection is, it becomes very easy for us to lose our own voice in the mix. We read all the "should-dos" and no longer know what feels right in our heart. How many activities should your kids do? How much time should you be spending with them one and one? How much time should be devoted to learning, and how much to exercise?
If you focus on everything you hear or read that you should be doing, you’ll never feel good enough!
What we forget most often as parents is self-compassion! Parenting is the hardest job in the world, yet we are so quick to beat ourselves up. If our children make a mistake, if they don’t complete everything to the absolute best of their ability every single day, do we want them to beat up on themselves? Of course not! Teaching our children self compassion starts by practicing it with ourselves.
Sometimes as parents we talk to our children in a crappy tone. We take our tiredness, stress, and feelings of being overwhelmed out on them. It sucks and it’s not what we want to do, but it happens. It happens to everyone. Instead of apologizing and moving forward, we often drag it out longer and longer by focusing on feeling guilty. That guilt can manifest itself in a lot of unhealthy ways. We worry that our children will be scarred for life by our lack of patience, and we worry about what impact will it have on their future.
Parenting isn’t about being perfect, it’s about love. Real, true love is stronger than any moment of impatience, or poor choice of words. It is about loving these little beings we’ve been blessed with, with every ounce of our soul, even if we mess up. Even if we can do better.
To be a better parent we must practice self compassion. Swaddle our own emotions with love. What would you want your child to do in the same situation? Love and forgiveness is the answer. The next time you catch yourself being a real hard nose on yourself, treat yourself with the same love and compassion you wish to share with the world. And remember - parenting is the hardest work in the world!
What do you do to give yourself a little love when you need it most?