Lately I've been giving some thought to parenting, and comparison. It's too complex a topic for me to write on at length (at least until I've had another coffee), but I think it's the kind of thing we need to think about every now and then. This post by Kristy of Paisley Jade struck a chord, and got me thinking about the damaging effect comparison can have on our parenting.
Far too frequently I find myself at the mercy of comparison, and it always forces me to forget about the very uniqueness that makes me the perfect mother for my kids. No, I will never be that super organised mother whose children are perfectly well-behaved and have nutritious bento box snacks prepared for every outing. My house will never be immaculate, and my children will probably never be sleep or toilet trained. Ever.
And yet I already know that it's more important for me to recognise my own unique set of skills, talents and traits and bring those to the table, than to berate myself for those areas in which I find myself lacking. Why do I always forget this?
There are aspects of parenting that feel innate to me, and there are some that don't. And I know that I'm not alone there. The saddest thing is that the pressure to fit ourselves into a cookie cutter mould, aside from making us feel hurt and miserable and inadequate, deprives our children of those amazing qualities that we are supposed to share with them. It is our very differences and uniquenesses that make us wonderful parents.
That's not to say that I won't continually strive to grow and to improve as a parent. This year I am taking up Miriam's challenge to parent my children more intentionally, which to me means finding ways to parent from a calm, happy and focused place. I am taking all sorts of steps to improve our lifestyle and create a healthy, happy home, and one of those steps is to take time to remind my boyfriend and myself that we are great parents already. That our children love nothing more than to see us happy and doing things that we love. That his guitar-playing and my goofiness are as valid a parenting tool as any other.
What's true for us is true for you, too! It's time to stop comparing and to start celebrating ourselves, not just for who we are as a parent, but for who we are as a person. Let's not deprive the world, and more importantly our children, of the uniqueness that makes each of us so awesome. They already believe it, they already see it (if only we would stop trying to hide it). And man, have you ever seen your kid's face light up when they witness you feeling truly truly happy? Now that's good parenting, right there.
Damn, why does this year just feel so awesome already?! Do you feel the same?
p.s. Photos taking during a short and sweet 'just for fun' outing we took yesterday, that ended in ice-cream cones, like all the best outings do.
p.p.s. I may be failing at my 'blog less' goal already, har!