I sat down in the recliner one night at the end of what felt like the longest mom day in the universe. The kids were finally asleep and I was at the end of my parenting rope. I could have handled things better that day and tears stung my eyes.
I typed “How to Feel Like a Better Mom” into Google
I found a lot of advice like “get dressed for the day” and “take time for yourself at the spa”. I do believe that taking better care of the outside helps, but what about the inside? The deep soul-serving stuff that can spur on a real heart change when you need it most?
I sat down and thought of several “big picture” snapshots of my parenting journey. What has worked, what hasn’t. What I did right, who helped me when I was a kid, I went all out.
I found eye-opening perspective that truly helped me and led me to understand myself and my kids better. It really upped my status in the enthusiasm department and I came back refreshed to fight another day.
I felt better from the inside-out. If you are feeling helpless and defeated at the end of the day after the kids are finally in bed, that is the perfect time to do these soul-searching exercises.
How Can I Feel Better as a Parent?
Often times, it takes sitting down and thinking about the better parts of parenting and how far we’ve already come. Sometimes it’s thinking about ourselves in childhood and what helped us for a parenting light to turn on. And sometimes it’s looking to the future.
These questions will take some thinking time, but are so helpful in seeing our kids as individuals and our parenting styles based on our own experiences.
I have added in answers from my own parenting life as examples below to get you started. It also helps to keep your thoughts in a nice, neat place to refer back to in the future.
Are you ready to gain insight and perspective and feel like a better parent?
Here are 10 Exercises to Help You Feel Better as a Parent
1. Think of each child as an individual. Write down your 3 favorite qualities of each child next to their name.
Example: Child 1= wildly creative, compassionate heart, never gives up
Child 2= a total ham, fun sense of humor, makes friends easily
2. How is your child different from you? Name a positive quality they have despite you.
Example: Child 1= Amazing at Math, technical things
Child 2=Very extroverted in person
3. How is your child the same as you? Name a positive quality they have because of you.
Example: Child 1= Wants to do the right thing, critical thinker
Child 2= Laid back, finds humor in situations
4. Write down a proud parenting moment that demonstrated your child heard something you taught.
Example: Child 1= When his little brother got in trouble, he said “It’s okay little guy, mommy loves you no matter what.”
Child 2= Very careful moving around small baby inside play tunnel at the park, patiently waited to get around the baby, looked up at me and smiled
5. Write down a proud moment you witnessed between siblings, or with another child.
Example: The first time big brother made little brother a bowl of cereal for breakfast and held his hand in the yard walking around.
6. Write down an unexpected, special parenting moment you had with each child. How was it special?
Example: Child 1= On a terrible morning getting ready for school, I told him I loved him no matter what, even when I’m angry. It was special because it relieved and diffused the situation for both of us.
Child 2= I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen and embraced my crying, screaming toddler at my feet. We cuddled by the oven for several minutes and it was exactly what we both needed.
7. Name a struggle each child had at one time. What was your role in helping them overcome it?
Example: Child 1= Focus and attention. Coached him at length from home, made lists of tasks to get ready for school in the morning, made it a game with a kitchen timer to see how fast he could get ready.
Child 2= Separation anxiety. Playdates to socialize with other kids. Enrolled in Mother’s Day Out program a few days a week and gave big hugs/snuggles upon returning.
8. Write down a struggle you had as a kid and who or what helped you. Is this something you can use now in your own parenting?
Example: My middle school math teacher noticed a big change in me over the summer break and sat me down after class to ask how I was doing. It meant a lot that he took the time to care, and it made me aware of my rebellious behavior. It means a lot to kids in this difficult age range to be seen and feel like they matter, and I’ll always remember that.
9. Think of a time you accomplished something big. Who did you look for in the crowd? What qualities do they have that can influence your parenting style?
Example: My mother at my high school graduation. I was difficult as a teen but she saw past surface behaviors and she never gave up on me. And I’ll do the same for my own kids.
10. Think of them from the first time they crawled or walked as a baby, wobbly and unsteady. Then envision them on stage receiving their high school diploma. What do you see in their future based on their qualities from Questions 1, 2 and 3?
Example: Child 1= wildly creative, compassionate heart, never gives up, amazing at Math, technical things, wants to do the right thing, critical thinker.
I see him going into a job field with brain smarts and compassion, endless possibilities, could be a CEO/Founder
Child 2= a total ham, fun sense of humor, makes friends easily, very extroverted in person, laid back, finds humor in situations.
I see him going into something physical, a job field with personality/people, very dependable, he will be an awesome dad
I think the big point is that this parenting thing does ultimately lead somewhere. We can’t know for sure how it will all go, but for me, it is a great comfort to step back and remember that all of the hard days add up to a bigger picture. We are raising people who will come into their own one day with our guidance.
I hope you gained insight into not only what makes you tick, but your kids as well. One of the biggest things I learned as a mom was that my kids are gifted differently than I am. So it helps to see different views on things and find the blessings in the differences. Their strong qualities now could very well catapult them into the world later.
I’m also a fan of ice cream after the kids are finally in bed 🙂 Hang in there, parents! It’s important work.
Need More Parenting and Household Survival Tips?
- 10 Ways to Cope With a Toddler
- Mom’s Summer Vocabulary
- How We Finally Got Control of Overflowing Toys
- Teaching Kids Housework
- I’m a Crappy Friend
- Is She Just Like Me?
- 50 Pool Snack Ideas
- The Perfect Field Trip Lunch
- Graduation: The Greatest Reward
- Making Family Memories on a Budget
- Saving Money on Back to School Shopping
- Saving Money at the Grocery Store
- Stretching Groceries in the Kitchen
- Life After Losing Your House
- Staying Together in a Money Crisis