Friday, April 13, 2012

Being the Best Parent You Can Be

I've been thinking about parenting this week. I've read two blog posts which gave me insight on my life and on what my children need from me: Super Mom Debunked and Your Children Want You.  I believe both of these blogs are true.  I look at other people's Facebook posts of the crafts they do.  I think: I should buy more crafty stuff and make stuffed pigs and beautiful butterflies out of paper mache. 

Then, I try to think about all the fun things I have done with my kids: growing butterflies from caterpillars, making Jupiter with Son Number One, making art with Popsicle sticks, letting them run outside, play in the mud and dirt, letting them be the master's of their own creativity.

As a parent, it's hard to not feel guilty about the time you don't spend with your children, especially with everyone else always pointing it out.  The time you do spend with them should be quality time though, but it isn't always.  We all have bad days.  We all have days where we come home from work/school/activities exhausted and just want to lie on the couch and do nothing.  We flip on the television and our children turn into mindless zombies, and sometimes they crawl onto your lap while watching t.v. just to remind you they are there.

As a working parent, I don't have a lot of time to spend with my kids.  I constantly ask myself if I am doing enough.  Am I spending enough time with them, absorbing their little cuteness, watching them grow?  As these articles point out, I can't be super Mom.  I can't be there every minute of every day.  I have to take time for myself too, to recharge my batteries, to be a better parent for them.  I know this, just looking back at my past and how I related to them back then.  I know, in order to be the best parent I can be, that I need time away from them as well as time with them.  There is a fine balance in there.

I always believe in really talking and listening to your kids.  Use every minute you have with them as a way to connect.  Every afternoon, I pick up the three kiddos from school.  They pile into the car, and I ask each one of them (yes, even Darling Daughter, but she rarely answers!) how their day was.  I access the looks on their faces, and I ask them if something happened that day that made them happy, excited, sad, or angry.  They share with me, because they know I will listen.  I'm hoping this is a theme that will extend into adolescence when a lot of children push their parents away.  Sometimes even if you don't have the answers, listening is enough to let them know they are loved, and it will bring them comfort.

Nobody is a Super Mom.  We are all humans with our own needs, as well as our kids' needs.  Do the best you can with your circumstances.  Incorporate listening into your daily life.  Let your children know you are there for them.  Hug them often.  Show them you care with your words and your actions.

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