They say being a parent is the hardest job in the world. It’s day four of the Easter holidays and my patience is in short supply. I love Small and Tiny with all my heart, but boy is it exhausting trying to entertain them all day long! The squabbles, the requests for snacks every 4 minutes, the desperate need to find a toilet RIGHT NOW when you’ve just reached the front of a long queue.
The level of exasperation I am getting to and the shortness of my fuse have shocked me a bit. I sometimes feel like I am outside my own body, watching my reactions, and feeling pretty bad about what I see. But I feel powerless to do anything about it.
It can be easy to focus on your failings as a parent and indulge unhelpful thoughts. Today’s top favourites have been:
- “You are so impatient, you’re just not cut out to be a parent.”
- “If you were a good parent, you wouldn’t have to be dealing with the same behaviour constantly. It’s your fault.”
- “Your own needs aren’t important during the holidays. Stop being selfish and just grin and bear it.”
These thoughts are pretty disheartening. But every time I think one of them, I’m reminded of the encouragements I have had about my parenting over the years. I’ve been using those positive words to help drown out my frustration and self-doubt. I have written before about the damage discouraging words can cause to parents, but I think there is even greater power in encouragement.
Parenting can be a touchy subject. Even well-intentioned words can cause parents to question themselves or feel judged, particularly when they are drained or low in confidence. I’ve certainly been in this situation recently, realising after a conversation that I may have sounded dismissive when I intended to be reassuring.
So here’s some encouragements I think are pretty ‘safe’! I’m going to try and dish them out this week to amazing parents I know who may just be at the end of their tether.
- “You’re so good with her.” A friend said it to me the other day and it moved my focus away from the difficult behaviour I was dealing with and back to the great relationship I have with Tiny. Which is what all this parenting lark is about!
- “How do you stay so patient?” Often this one has come when I’ve been feeling decidedly impatient! It reassures me that although I might be wanting to scream inside, I’m communicating clearly and helpfully with my child.
- “We’ve all been there!” I’ll admit it, sometimes my children’s behaviour embarrasses me. This comment has helped me stop trying desperately to change their behaviour and reminds me that they are just normal kids. All children get overexcited, rude, selfish, ungrateful, silly and stroppy at times (as do all adults!) It is reassuring and not judgemental and opens the door to conversations about how to deal with different behaviour.
- “Would you like a up of tea?” Yes, always yes. Tea always helps.
Let me know what other comments have helped you in a moment of parenting need!