Before you had kids you would often hear people say parenting is the hardest job there is. You might have disagreed, thinking that there are many jobs that are harder than parenting; or thought, sure that sounds true, sure it must be hard. But if you don’t have kids, it is an abstract concept to you. The full depth of the statement doesn’t register.
Then you become a parent. You watch your child grow and change and learn and begin to deal with their own problems and you realize just how true that statement is. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. It is physically and emotionally hard. It is unrelenting and never-ending. The moment you become a parent, you are a parent for life. You never stop being one, no matter how old your child is. You can’t shut it off.
As well, being a modern parent poses a unique set of challenges. Technology is evolving quickly, and parents are having a difficult time keeping up. We have more information available to us than ever before, and as such we are bombarded with reams of conflicting parenting advice and constant fear-mongering. We are told over and over that we aren’t doing enough for our kids. That we aren’t spending enough time with them, feeding them good enough food, nurturing them enough, supporting them enough.
It seems that no matter what we do, it’s never enough. We are left exhausted and discouraged and feeling like we’re failing. Like our kids deserve better than us. We feel we don’t measure up to today’s (impossibly high) standards of parenting. These feelings erode our confidence and take away our joy. We wonder how those other parents do it, how they make it seem effortless. Why can’t that be us?
You are not a perfect parent, and you will never be one – no one is. But in the eyes of your child, you are perfect. You are more than enough.
Repeat it to yourself. This is your mantra. “I am more than enough”.
You’re going to make mistakes, that’s inevitable. You’re going to have bad days. That’s okay. Everyone does. Everyone. Even the people who seem to have it all together have moments where they mess up, where they don’t feel good enough.
Parenting is hard. What works for one child doesn’t work for another. What works for one parent doesn’t work for another. All of the “You MUST do this or you are failing your child!” advice on the internet is feeding into our insecurities and making it harder to know what’s right and what’s best for our kids. Shut it off. Ignore it. You are what is best for your kids. Whatever you can handle is what’s best for your kids. You are more than enough.
You don’t need to subscribe to anyone else’s idea of good parenting. Sometimes we can’t do it all. Sometimes frozen chicken nuggets in front of the TV is all you can handle. And that’s perfectly fine.
You are doing the best you can with what you have. The fact that you are even questioning your skills as a parent shows how much you love your kids and how committed you are to raising happy, healthy children. If your child is fed, clothed, and has a roof over their head; if you are trying to keep them safe; if you are trying to be a better parent – then you are doing exactly what you are supposed to do.
The important thing, the thing that matters most to your child’s well-being, is love. Do you love your kids? Does your child feel loved?
Then you are more than enough.