For just a minute I would like you to pause and come up with your definition of a “good mom” or a “good dad.” If you are like the majority of us, you will come up with a plethora of things that you think qualify someone or yourself to be a good parent. These things might include but are not limited to: patience, a sense of humor, modeling kindness, love, integrity, being present and engaged, balance, wisdom, being a good example as a spouse, helping them to be the best version of themselves and the list goes on.
All of these are noble characteristics to possess without a doubt. However, I have come to the conclusion that the said list of qualities that a “good parent” should possess leave most of us feeling less than and falling short. Because let’s be honest, if we truly believe that a good parent must embody patience and we lose our patience even every other day, we no longer make the cut. If we believe that a good mom or dad should be present and engaged then when we aren’t that way we fall short once again. Ultimately, this leaves us chasing an unattainable carrot and the side effects are disappointment in ourselves, frustration and anger for not living up to this ideal. And what do most of us do when we are confronted with these lower emotions? Of course this does not include everyone, but most of us would rather escape and numb these feelings. So we distract ourselves by binge watching Netflix, overdrinking, overeating, overspending, over doing social media and the list goes on. The inevitable result of this is a parent who is less present and engaged and left frustrated by their actions because they can never fully embody that “good parent” definition that they hold in their mind. This takes us further away from what we truly want to be as parents.
So, the question is; how can we be more present and give the very best to our kids? I would like you to consider this belief for a moment, because I believe this is one of the best answers to this question. What if you were to believe that you would be a good parent if all that you ever did was love your child? No more and no less. I can hear some of you already thinking and saying that this would not work because a good parent must do and be more than just a person loving their child. I have also questioned whether or not buying into this belief would make me more complacent as a parent and therefore not as motivated to strive for those noble qualities. However, deep down, I know the very opposite to be true.
I know that if I truly believe that I am a good mom based on the only requirement that I love my kiddos, I will come from a place of abundance. I will always want to be the very best version of myself for my family because I absolutely know I will always love my kids with my whole heart until the day I die. Without even trying, I meet the requirement. I will enjoy those relationships more because everything above and beyond loving my child is icing on the cake and it becomes so much more enjoyable from that perspective.
Do me a favor and try on this belief for a spell. Put down the rest of the expectations you’ve had about what you must do, and be, to be a good parent, unless they are serving you in making you a better parent. I know they have never truly served me in that endeavor.
So if you are reading this, I don’t believe you are a good parent, at all. I would put money on you being an AMAZING parent because I have NO doubt that you adore your babies.
PS. Mom and Dad- thank you for being incredible parents. Peggy and Steve- thank you for being incredible step parents. I love you all to the moon and back.