There is no secret formula to being a great parent. Unfortunately, we are all getting on the job training and won’t know the results for years.
I am not a parenting expert and I’m not sure if parenting experts really exist.
The one thing I know for sure is to be a better parent is to be a better you.
When I start to think about what make us better parents, there are five things that come to mind immediately:
A Job You Don’t Hate
There is probably nothing worse you can do as a parent than have a job/career you hate.
Most of us have had a job we couldn’t stand. You know the one where you are unappreciated, underpaid, and overworked.
Having an unenjoyable job affects your mood. When your career affects your emotional state you aren’t able to give it your all in other areas of your life – like your family. This isn’t fair to you or your kids or your spouse.
When you have a job you enjoy, it changes your entire life: You are in a better mood and have more energy.
I don’t recommend you quit your job because you hate it. You have a family to take care of and that would be really irresponsible.
However, you should start looking for a new job you would enjoy. If you don’t know where or how to start here are a few places to check out:
Another way to be a better parent is to get your finances in order. It is difficult to be a good parent when you are stressing about money.
Whether you are in debt, don’t have money for a $1,000 emergency, or behind on bills; then you need to get a handle on your finances.
I know how it is to be debt – It is always on your mind. When you are playing with your kids, you are thinking about how you are going to pay off that $10,000 credit card bill. When you are behind on bills, you are hoping the next call isn’t from a bill collector.
This really stresses you out and doesn’t allow you to live a life that you deserve.
The internet is filled with information about how to pay off your debt. Unfortunately, none of those sites will help until you determine WHY you want to pay off your debt. Figure out your why!
If you are having money issues, create a plan today. Like right now. Stop reading this post. Like I mean sit down with your spouse and figure it out.
It amazes me how many people are really unhealthy. This is not fair to your children.
Kids have a lot of energy and if you are out shape it is difficult to keep up with them. I couldn’t imagine not having enough stamina to run around the yard with them, wrestle with my kids, or go on a family bike ride.
Also as a parent, I take my health seriously because I want to be around for them now and well into the future. This important to me and should be important to you too.
You don’t have to go out and run a marathon right away. Instead, start small. Go on a walk. Eat a salad with your burger instead of fries. Celebrate those small wins.
Then build on these small habits. You will start feeling better about yourself, improving your mood, and gaining more energy.
Your family will notice and they will like it!
Often we take those closest to us for granted and we need to make sure everyone in the family knows how much they are appreciated.
I don’t think you need to buy a room full of flowers or rent a highway billboard plastered with a big thank you. The little things usually mean the most.
The one thing my kids love is what I say to them before they go to bed. It goes something like this…You’re very smart, funny, cute, athletic, and successful…who is a winner?
They don’t let me walk out of their room without saying it!
Also, make sure your spouse knows you appreciate him/her. Write a thank you note, go out to dinner instead of cooking, or simply lay together and watch a movie.
It is important everyone in the family knows they are wanted and appreciated. This makes family life so much easier.
In a world where we are tied to our phones, being present can be difficult. It is so easy to stop what you are doing to check on every beep, ring tone, or vibration.
One of the least stressful times I can remember in the last five years was when we went out of the country for vacation. We didn’t have access to our phones, internet, or television.
I couldn’t check email. I didn’t interrupt conversations because my phone was vibrating. I didn’t even know what everyone on Facebook was doing. It was crazy.
Guess what…we survived and it was great! I loved every moment of that vacation because everyone was so present.
Try locking your phone up for a few hours on the weekend. I bet you will feel relief and will enjoy your family a little bit more.
When you take care of these aspects of your life, you start becoming a better version of you and a better parent.