There is no greater responsibility and no greater heartache than that of being a parent. Our children are guaranteed to make us proud, make us laugh, make us cry, embarrass us, anger us, and even disappoint us. The parent/child relationship goes from dependency, through learning boundaries, to finally separation and along the way the path can be quite rough.
Here are just a few tips for making it a bit easier:
1. Find the funny. Even if at the moment you are in the situation with your child, you are angry, frustrated, and upset, remind yourself to take a step back and find something that you will eventually laugh about later. Then, don’t wait for later. Laugh now, even if you don’t feel like it. Not only will you handle the situation better, but your child will learn that erring is human and that it doesn’t define them.
2. Relax and breathe. Life is busy enough without allowing precious quality moments with our child to pass by too fast. When you get the chance to hold your child close, to learn something new with them, to explore the world from their point of view, make it last. All too soon the moment will be gone and will be only a memory. The bills, the errands, the chores, can all wait while you take the time to prolong a special moment with your child. After all, soon, this too will only be a memory.
3. Plan to fail. You are just as human as your child is and you are going to fall on your face, make momentous mistakes, and screw things up good as a parent. Just accept it, smile at yourself, stop beating yourself up and hug your child and let them know that you’re trying. Parenthood and child rearing doesn’t come with a manual so don’t expect to get it right even 75% of the time. If your child knows without a doubt that you love them unconditionally, then you are already a success.
Take a page from my favorite TV show quote in M.A.S.H. “Drop your pants and slide on the ice.” Enjoy your child while they are with you. All too soon, they will be grown and having children of their own. Don’t let everyday cares get in the way of once in a lifetime moments that can define your relationship with your child.