Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Parenting 101

Yesterday was a good day.

I get to speak to a lot of parents who, like me, have young children. I get the feeling that generally speaking, there isn't a great deal of 'success' felt by parents of these little people. Yesterday I realized that, for me, this is no reflection of my children, it is dependent upon a whole range of

If I get everything on my "to-do" list done for the day, I feel good. If marking off all the items on that list meant I dragged my son all over the coast and snapped at him while I did it, it just wasn't worth it. I feel like I failed.

Parenting is hard to measure. In fact, perhaps it is immeasurable. There are no boxes to check off that let you know your child is complete.

I have worked full-time as a teacher for a little while. During this time, I have had days that I was just plodding along, and others where I felt like a success. I completed everything I had hoped, I saw enjoyment on the faces of the children I taught. They were engaged and interested. The measuring stick was so clear to me of when I was teaching with success and when I was not.

The measuring stick for me as a mother is not as clear. Does a successful parent have well behaved children? Do they wake up cheery and go to bed happy? Do they have clean houses and nutritious meals? Do they go to the park and have regular family outings?

From the outside, if I saw a mother who ticked those boxes, I would initially think they must be doing a pretty good job as a parent. But if I measure myself this way, there will be many days I feel like a good parent, and even more that I won't.

I have decided to change my focus and feel successful in the little things. The things that bring me joy. Yesterday, I felt successful as a parent.

Carter and I survived the shops without any tantrums or scolding. He enjoyed the trip, and as a result I did too. I didn't even need to use bribery!

Tony got his homework and reading done quickly after school and had plenty of time to relax.

Tony and Carter played trains together and drew pictures for each other without needing any prompting from us.

We played a game of charades together and there was no meltdowns.

Dinner was made, served and eaten early and without any fuss.

Both boys were read stories and tucked into bed happy.

I dropped Carter off at preschool and he waved happily and blew kisses as I left.

They are not remarkable achievements, but when I look at them all I feel like yesterday was a success.


  1. I like your perspective Jo. Positivity will create more positivity in ourselves and others. Plus our kids would never think we're doing a bad job, I never thought that once when we were younger about Mum.

  2. They are very remarkable achievements Jo...I'm so glad you had such a great day:) I think successful parenting is all about never giving up...not on yourself as a mother or on your you are indeed successful :). Love you lots Mum xxxx PS Jade, now you are older, you can see clearly though :)xxxx