To say that I have this exceptional parenting thing under control at all times would be a lie, but I also have a confession to make. After an extremely challenging two years with Michael as well as personally, I am also at a point in my exceptional parenting life when I am seeing things coming together for me and how I look at Michael, myself and my relationships. How did it all start? Well, it began when I became tired of always pushing down resentments, fear and anger. Once I realized that my feelings were as valid as Michael’s, I began seeing how important it was I own them as much as I teach Michael to own his. I also realized how important my own personal happiness was too, just like Michael’s.
So now, when I am tired and need a break, I have no issues saying, I need 20 min. I’m taking it. I come back recharged and ready to handle anything. Finally, I also own failures and times when I don’t make good choices, and like I tell Michael, it’s ok to make mistakes. We live, we learn, we grow. I have even been known a few times to say when I yelled and became frustrated, Mom forgot to use her calming strategies.
Just this evening I said something without thinking that upset Michael. He felt I was treating him like a baby and he hates this. He grumbled, “Why didn’t you stop and think before talking Mom?” I almost laughed. It is usually me telling him that. “Because I forgot Michael. You are right. See, we all forget to do this sometimes.” I have also learned how to sit down with Michael and talk about what we can change to communicate better and so both of us are calmer and happier. This has made a world of difference.
But what things have helped me connect everything together in my parenting life to grow and become stronger? Here is the list I follow and continuously revise as needed:
- Make time for things that nourish my spirit: For me this is meditation, yoga and writing. I pretty much do all three every day, and if I ever miss a day with any of them, I get back to it first thing the next day.
- Get enough sleep: No matter what I am falling behind on at home, I do not sacrifice sleep.
- Enjoy time alone with no guilt: Time alone for me is spent taking strolls in a bookstore, nature walks, or sitting quietly reading a good book with a cup of coffee. This is time well spent as it re-energizes me and gives me patience to handle any parenting stress that comes my way.
- Make time to talk and see friends: Spending time with adults, like minded ones that make you laugh and share your highs and lows, also helps you see the whole picture of your parenting life. It’s not all bad!
- Write down the progress your child has made: This has been one that has been a game changer for me. With all the struggles and hard times our family has had, seeing how far Michael has come in maturing, and seeing it on paper in a place in the house where we all can look at it, has helped us all celebrate the successes and look to the positive.
- Realizing that I am the guide, not the savior: I used to think that I was responsible for saving my child or making sure he made all the right decisions or else I would have failed as an exceptional parent. Now, I see more realistically that I am Michael’s guide. I am here to teach him, help and support him, and show him the path, but then it is his choice which way to go. His choice, good or bad, and I am not responsible for that. I love him no matter what an tell him that, but he is responsible for his choices, not me. This has taken a lot of pressure off of me.
Exceptional Parents, how have you emerged and changed as an exceptional parent over the years? Remember, each thing you learn as you parent, helps you to grow and become stronger. You grow through the good and bad moments. You grow through learning to let go of old hurts and embrace your mistakes as well as successes. And through it all you realize one day that you find balance in your life again, and acceptance of yourself as you do of your child. This is when you can truly parent from your best place. Until next time.