This post is brought to you by Shamin Brown Consulting. Shamin Brown is a social worker and certified health and life coach. Her aim is to educate, equip and empower women through her services.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
Parenting is hard. It doesn’t come with a manual no matter how much we wish it did. You may find yourself questioning your parenting decisions long after they have been made. “Did I get it right that time? Was I too harsh? Too soft? …Will my kids be okay?” Friends and family don’t always help. Sometimes, they actually make it worse with their judgments and “opinions” of who you are as a parent… or, worse yet, their stories about how much better they handled situation x, y, z when THEY were parenting.
Yet, for some reason, you often turn to your circle to tell you what to do and how to do it. Is it surprising that you don’t always appreciate the outcome then? No one knows you – or your kids – better than you. As a matter of fact, if you want to get spiritual about it, they CHOSE you to bring them into this world because you were the BEST woman for the job. So, why do you question yourself?
Because you love your kids SO much that you want them to have the absolute best of everything – including yourself. And, when you are not sure if they are getting that, you doubt yourself. Here’s the thing, though… every good mother I have ever met experiences guilt and self-doubt as a parent at some point or another. Being torn between believing you are doing your best and feeling like a bad parent is normal. Self-doubt is a sign of good parenting for many reasons but here is the top three.
One, when you don’t see yourself as perfect your kids learn that imperfection is okay (and, perhaps, to accept themselves unconditionally). Two, you will own your mistakes, apologize and repair what you need to when you need to (and model this for your kids). Three, self doubt causes us to look inwards, reflect on where we are at and where we want to go and make the changes we feel need to be made… what incredible role modelling for our children!
So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? Don’t start comparing. Remind yourself that self-doubt makes you a better parent, look inwards and acknowledge that you are not sure. Get clear about what’s important to YOU, not Homemaker Hannah down the block or the “perfect” mom-in-law who is always ready with advice. (Remember, they aren’t perfect either… even if they hide it well.) And, most importantly, take the time to recognize all the things that you are doing well, no matter how small they may seem.
Today, I challenge you to write a list of everything you do with, and for, your kids. Then, treat yourself to something nice in appreciation of all you do. Celebrate the beautiful moments and memories that you have created with, and for, your family.
Say yes to yourself. Choose you. You’re worth it.