In a world where life seems to keep us spinning in a never-ending vortex of fast-paced, pressured parenting, crushing bills and overwhelming expectations, Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centre says, “Parents, it seems, have lost their ability to see themselves as also worthy of happiness, peace and fulfillment. Parents seem hard-wired in continuing old patterns of parental-martyrdom (yes, there is such a thing) and parenting is tougher than ever.
Parents tend to be their own biggest critics with feelings of not being good enough, not having enough time, not being organized enough, not having as much energy as one another – the list, unfortunately, does go on and on!” She adds that parents have all but forgotten that they are deserving of all the things that they want for their children – love, purpose, acknowledgment, happiness, fulfillment and peace!
She offers 6 tips to help parents find their inner joy, despite challenges:
1. Know that you are enough: You are doing the best that you can, given the circumstances and knowledge that you have at this stage in your life. Stop the self-judgment – it has no purpose.
2. Recognise that you are not, nor ever will be, perfect: And neither is anyone else that has ever parented or walked the face of this earth. You will make mistakes. Recognise and acknowledge these and choose to make better choices moving forward. Mistakes are wonderful learning opportunities, if you allow them to be!
3. Stop comparing yourself to other parents: Parenting is not a competition. Fulfilling parenting cannot be achieved through enviable and resentful thoughts about others.
4. Set boundaries: Boundaries add value to your lives. Saying no to too many extra mural activities (so that YOU are not left exhausted) or managing household chores where everyone in required to muck-in will leave you with more time to enjoy the things that you find fulfilling. The key to boundaries is consistency in expectations.
5. Realise that your children are growing up: And they will, at some stage, leave the ‘nest’. Your time with them is precious – make yourself available to enjoy activities together. Find reasons to laugh and play (jump on the trampoline, slide in the mud). In fact, you will find great joy in just being ‘silly’ together! Play board games, tell and listen to each other’s daily stories.
6. Cultivate an environment of mutual respect: Where you listen to understand and where self-respect and respect of each other is modeled and embraced. Challenges are inevitable—make sure you have each other’s backs!
“You cannot be happy all of the time, but you most certainly can cultivate pockets of joy that add value and meaning to your life. as a parent, believe that you are worthy of these moments and seek to actively ensure that you live a life of fulfillment and happiness, despite the challenges that swirl around you. You are enough. Believe it!” Cindy concludes.