I hope you survived the Holidays and had lots of fun with your family. If it was a bit of a struggle for you, congratulations on getting through it, even with some bumps and bruises. Think of this new year as a great time to make a new start.
I’ve decided that my theme this year will be “Take Care of the Care Taker.” It’s been my mantra for years, but I have to admit, sometimes it is much easier said than done. It is my goal to help you learn how to get better at, or even just ‘how to’ Take Care of the Care Taker, meaning YOU! There will be at least one Tip each month geared towards this and today, will be the first.
GIVE YOURSELF A PAT ON THE BACK!
When was the last time you took a few moments to think about what you were doing right as a parent? We often get caught up in trying to be better or trying to keep up with the perfect parent down the street. We tend to be focused on the negatives: “I should have”, “I really messed that up”, “If only I would have,”…
I want you to stop for a moment and think of one thing you did well today. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be one thing you feel you did successfully. Challenge yourself to look for success and then give yourself a pat on the back!
Are your kids fed – even if it’s mac-n-cheese again, have they eaten? Are they wearing clothes? It’s freezing where I live today and although my girls are not wearing what I would have dressed them in (fleece, winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves, wool socks, snow boots), they left the house dressed warmly enough to get to where they are going.
I know these questions sound simple, but honestly, someone had to buy the food and prepare the food – even if it just means peeling the banana. Someone had to get the food to and from the table in portions for the child to eat. Someone had to teach the child how to eat with utensils (or fingers, depending on the food), use a napkin, clear her plate – even if it’s still a work in progress. Any one of these is an accomplishment and you should pat yourself on the back if you’ve achieved at least one!
Some days you will have much bigger and better chances to pat yourself on the back. When I saw my daughter comforting a friend who was distressed, I decided to take some credit for not only teaching, but also modeling this behavior with family and friends. Watching my children share toys and games and ideas with friends is another time when I pat myself on the back. They might not always share with each other, but they did learn how to share and take turns. I’m taking partial credit for that, too.
And some days, you will have to focus on those small and simple reasons to pat yourself on the back. Did you make it where you were trying to go without getting lost? Did you find a good parking spot and park the car without any accidents? At least the dogs love me and appreciate that I feed them…
There is a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will find what you are looking for. Start looking for reasons to pat yourself on the back. I’d love to hear what you are patting yourself on the back for, even if you think it is a small accomplishment!