Do you have a hard time enjoying special moments with your child? That’s not surprising: the daily grind is often a race against the clock that leaves little time to simply enjoy being a parent.
“I find it hard to simply enjoy playing with my kids,” worries Marie-Ève. “I look at the time and keep thinking about everything else I still have to do.” Do you, like Marie-Ève, have a hard time enjoying special moments with your child? That’s not surprising: the daily grind is often a race against the clock that leaves little time to simply enjoy being a parent.
The good news is: experiencing the moment doesn’t require more of your time. It’s just a matter of learning to be aware of what is happening in the here and now and focusing on what you’re doing: nothing else. Granted, this takes practice. “But it’s good for you because it forces you to forget all your worries for just a moment and strengthen the bond with your child,” notes Geneviève Henry. It’s also a great way to reduce stress.
Specialists agree that children don’t need a perfect parent, only a good enough parent. In other words, a parent with strengths and weaknesses. “The most important thing is love, guidance, safety and consistency in discipline and rules,” says occupational therapist and author Francine Ferland.
In his book L’estime de soi des parents (Parents’ self esteem), psychoeducator and remedial teacher Germain Duclos tells the story of a mother who believed she had no parenting skills. He asked her: Do you feed your child properly? Do you dress him appropriately? Do you show him you love him? Do you set certain boundaries with him? Do you give him your time? “This mother answered ‘yes’ to all these questions,” he writes. “She finally understood that she was a competent parent even though she wasn’t perfect, which, by the way, none of us are.”
Believing in yourself, trusting your instinct and paying attention to the needs of your child is what will help you slowly develop the feeling of being a competent parent.
A few tips that may help you to appreciate the present moment:
- Find inspiration in your child. “When children are busy with something, they don’t think about what happened yesterday, or what they’ll do tomorrow,” says Francine Ferland, occupational therapist and author. “For them, there is only now, and it takes their full attention.”
- Stop negative thinking. A good habit to start is to become aware of your thoughts and, if they are negative, to return to the present moment. If you have a tendency to dramatize and worry about everything, the repercussions can be detrimental to your mental health.
- Create little rituals. “Why not add some fun family rituals to your routine such as Sunday morning pancakes, Saturday night picnics in the living room or a story before bed?” suggests Nicolas Chevrier.
You’re allowed to make mistakes: human beings are imperfect.
You need time for yourself. Doing something you enjoy helps you recharge your batteries and control your emotions.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, use yourself as a yardstick and gear your improvements based on your own abilities.