Finding the Joy in Parenthood
Author: Jasmine Vanstone Date Posted:24 June 2017
Ask any parent-to-be about having children, and they are so excited at the prospect of having a little one and all they joy and love they bring with them. They look at the cute little clothes, can’t wait to prepare the nursery and daydream about holding them in their arms and loving them.
While we certainly do get this and more as parents, the reality of sleepless nights, teething, potty training, toddler tantrums, and the same-old-same-old routine can set in and leave us a little disenchanted sometimes.
The truth is no one is prepared adequately for parenthood. It’s the one ‘career’ that has no training, certificates or degrees to get an idea of what to expect. The sleepless nights, the worry when they aren’t well, the doubt, the guilt, and the pure exhaustion and frustration that comes with parenthood can’t be understood until you are in the thick of it.
But it doesn’t have to drain your joy when reality hits. Here are five tips to help you find the joy in parenthood.
1. Ditch the guilt
Too often we beat ourselves up about not being good enough and not having it all together like other parents. Check where this guilt is coming from within you. Are you comparing yourself to others? Are well-meaning but often insensitive people always telling you what you should be doing? Are you putting unnecessary expectations on yourself that no one could live up to? Relax and give yourself a pat on the back for getting through each day. You are doing a great job!
2. Shift the focus
There will always be days that just don’t seem to go right. But the bad times never last and while you might be feeling down, now is the time to focus on all of the little joys you experience like how their little hand slips perfectly into yours, the cuddles, the “I love you’s” and the looks of complete adoration. You may not be able to control everything that comes at you, but you can control how you think about what is happening.
3. Find outside support
While you are busy thinking the problems you face are unique to you, others are going through similar experiences. Join a mother’s group, play group or make time to catch up with friends over coffee. Find someone or somewhere that can give you support and empathy. You will hear how others are handling similar situations and gain relief by knowing you aren’t alone.
4. Keep a Journal
It’s easy to overlook wonderful parenting moments when it feels like there aren’t too many great ones in a row. However, keeping a journal of all the things your kids are doing and those beautiful moments make precious memories. The journal isn't to just record milestones, it’s about times that are special that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. When your day seems too overwhelming then take a look at your journal, it won’t take long before your focus changes to the joys of parenthood.
5. Continue Learning
No one suddenly becomes equipped to be a parent. It’s a ‘learn as you go’ education. With that in mind, never stop learning how to become a better parent or how to deal with bringing up children. Some things may work in your family, and some may not. Be open to new ways of thinking and know that not no one gets it right every time.
How do you find the joy in parenthood?