Every year on June 1st we celebrate Global Day of Parents; a day dedicated to recognising and appreciating parents for their commitment to raising and nurturing children.
This years theme is centred on recognising parents’ worth & affection and the time and care they give to their children.
Most parents will tell you that raising children is a full time career in itself and like any career it requires consistency, care and commitment. It's important we recognise and appreciate these qualities in our parenting, not only in celebration of what we offer our children by way of role modelling, but also as an exercise of self appreciation.
Parenting can certainly throw us a few curve balls from time to time, sometimes on a daily basis. From sleepless nights and bittersweet exhaustion in those early days, to juggling work with daycare, school and after school commitments, to then becoming grandparents, the learnings are endless.
As a working parent, juggling family commitments with work presents its challenges. Be it getting the kids to school on time, or getting yourself to work on time, quite often the morning routine in the household can be stressful.
Even the most organised home can be displaced by a toddler or teenage tantrum, or a late night deadline that leaves the parent (or parents) out of sorts.
Couple this with a sick child or family member, a sleepless night (for whatever reason) and you have a recipe for disharmony.
Letting go of perfectionism
It's important to realise that there is no such thing as the perfect parent. In fact, there is no such thing as perfection at all. Part of what makes for great parenting is letting go of expectations we've taken on from others or placed on ourselves to get it right all the time, to be in a flow all the time. It's literally not possible.
Once we accept that we are and will be imperfect, it's much easier to get on with things and enjoy what's on offer within our family unit. This usually lends itself to having a laugh when things go a bit pear shaped.
Children respond very well to lightness, and not so well to intensity, so offering a light-hearted point of view in the midst of a seemingly difficult moment can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to personal and family wellbeing.
Another area that can really support parents, and particularly working parents, is appreciation. Most of us do a lot in a day and although it's never about the amount we do, it's important that we take the time at the end of the day to appreciate all the incredible things we've had a hand in.
Appreciation is a great space filler when you are having that stop moment.
Appreciating our particular qualities as a parent, and confirming what it is we offer our children by way of our own strengths is super important and contributes to our overall health and vitality. The more we love and appreciate ourselves, the more we role model these particular qualities to our children.
Being a parent is not only a wonderful opportunity to grow and evolve through the everyday experiences of parenting, but it is also an opportunity to build beautiful relationships with our children so that they to may grow and evolve alongside us.
If you enjoyed this article you might like to listen to this podcast from our Parents At Work Podcast Series. Parents At Work Chief Services Officer Kiri Stejko talks with Psychotherapist and Relationship Counsellor Jean Gamble about 'Valuing our Relationships'.