Parenting is not for the faint-hearted. It is a nonstop, incredibly demanding, often moving in circles while talking to brick walls, kind of life. Thankfully, there are plenty of parenting blogs and unsolicited advice from well-intentioned (and some not so well-intentioned) sources to damage a parent’s self-esteem for them. Often free of charge.
Nay, I say. No more. The time has come to Parent unapologetically. Follow these steps to become a more confident, secure parent.
Step # 1: Identify Your Priorities
Without overthinking it, sit down and make a list of your priorities. What do you spend most of your time doing? What is important to you? What are you willing to make sacrifices for? Make sure to identify the things you truly value. Avoid adding to the list items you think you should value.
When it comes to determining what is most important it’s necessary to remember that it’s impossible to say yes to everything. Knowing what your priorities are is a vital component to parenting unapologetically. Identifying your priorities allows you to make the best decisions for you and your family.
That brings us to our next step.
Step #2 Make Decisions Based Upon Your Priorities
I realize this sounds obvious, but it’s not as easily put into practice as one might think. Go ahead, try it. Think about what you spend most of your time doing. Where is most of your energy being expended? If you were to now create another list; this one being an inventory of how your time is spent, would it match your priority list?
For some, the lists are practically spot on. However, I believe that is probably the exception and not the rule. If your lists don’t match up; what changes can you make in your schedule to reflect your values and priorities? Are you willing to make those changes?
A woman was telling me how she longed to add to her family and stay at home with her children but she was unable to do this because she had to work overtime nearly every week to pay for her mortgage. Her energy expenditure did not align with what she believed her priorities to be. Could she downsize to save money on her mortgage which would allow her to stay home? Or did she value the prestige that came with owning that home in that neighborhood more than she had originally thought?
Which, again, brings us to the next step (see how this works?):
Step # 3: Own Your Decisions
You’ve listed your priorities and you’ve made decisions to reflect them so don’t second guess them. If you’ve taken the time and thoroughly thought through the choices you’ve made, then own them. Take comfort in knowing that you are making the best decision for you and for your family at this time in your lives. Maybe these decisions will change with circumstances, but, for now, anyway, these are the decisions you have made.
You stay at home instead of working full time? Great, own it.
You chose disposable diapers over cloth? I don’t blame you. Own it.
You choose to work two jobs so you can invest thousands of dollars into your daughter’s dream of becoming an Olympic gold medalist? Super. Own it.
These are your choices. There is no need to make excuses for them. They are yours. Own them.
Step #4 (It’s a Doozy) Allow Other’s to Own Their Decisions
This is probably the most difficult for the majority of people. This is when it is important to remember that your priorities are not their priorities.
This is okay.
The fact that we are all created to be individuals who will ultimately have different priorities and make different choices is an indispensable component in this life.
It’s time to Parent Unapologetically.