Parenting is a serious role, and it is the longest journey you will ever take in your life. It is full of ups and downs and it can get tricky to navigate at times. Most people believe that parents are fully responsible for the way their children turn out. Their personality, behavior and mannerisms, values and beliefs all depend on their upbringing. This can put a lot of pressure on parents to be perfect all the time for fear of messing the kids up. It also doesn’t help that we live in a society where the behavior and choices parents make for their family are constantly criticized. But is keeping up this image of perfection realistic? No. Because, just like the kids, parents are people too and everyone faces challenges and makes mistakes. This is an important lesson that your little one needs to learn. And what better way to teach them than to be honest about your struggles and find ways to overcome them together? To be honest, the white picket fence family never existed!
Here are a couple of stereotypes best left behind:
1. Trying To Look Perfect
Keeping up appearances will not make your children happier or better. In fact, it confuses them further. Children can sense when something isn’t alright. So acting like everything is okay when you are falling apart on the inside will teach them nothing but how to ignore and suppress their emotions, which is not a great thing to learn. Neglecting your emotions will not lead to better family life. If you are tired and need five minutes to yourself, express your needs to your kids and take a time out. If you are struggling to juggle everything that’s on your plate, communicate with your partner and ask them to help you with certain tasks. Come up with a schedule that works for all of you, so as to not overwhelm you or your kids. Remember, no one has it all together always and that’s perfectly okay!
2. Never Going Out
You are allowed to have a social life after you have kids. Maintaining a good relationship with your friends will help you have a safe space where you can unwind and recuperate. Discuss outings with your partner and take turns on the weekends. That way you can both interact with friends every alternate weekend. Also know that taking your baby out is a good option. This should be based on your comfortability and your pediatrician’s opinion, not everyone else’s. There are several kid friendly places. Go walk around in parks, go to the museum or the zoo. There are several fun activities you could do together. If your baby is still very young but vaccinated and healthy, go to a quiet cafe. Your baby deserves a day out and so do you.
3. Being Ashamed Because Your Baby Is Crying
All children have cried and thrown a tantrum in public at some point. That’s just how they express their negative emotions. It’s normal to feel a little embarrassed and ashamed when your baby has an outburst because you think it disturbs everyone else. But the truth is, most people are used to it. We all understand that babies cry when they are tired, hungry or upset. So as long as your little one isn’t running around and getting in everyone’s way, no one is going to mind a little tantrum. Take your kids out, teaching them how to behave in public and how to express their distress in socially acceptable ways will benefit you and your baby.
4. Leaving No Time For Yourself
Every parent needs to rest and take some time out for themselves. It’s okay to ask for help. Hire a nanny or a babysitter for the evening and go do something for yourself. If this seems too far-fetched for you, simply take a couple of minutes to do mundane tasks without your babies following you around. This could be a ten minute shower without any interruptions or taking a 15 minute break to read a chapter of that book you’ve been putting off. Whatever it may be, take your time to enjoy the little things in life. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and feeling frustrated. Taking a breather every now and then does not mean that you love your child any less. In fact, it will keep you from harboring feelings of resentment towards them.
Being a parent is a full time hands on job. Be kind and patient with yourself as you learn how to best cater to the needs of your little one. It’s okay to feel like you have nothing figured out. You are doing the best you can and that’s what counts. Don’t constrain yourself to old stereotypes that will stifle you. So are there any parenting stereotypes we’ve missed out? Let us know in the comments section!