Parents often spend a lot of time second-guessing themselves about their decisions, rules and even their own behavior. They wonder if they’ve been too strict or not strict enough. They worry they are too focused on their careers and they’re missing out on precious moments they can’t get back.
Instead of spending 2017 beating yourself up, try to do something to address whatever shortcomings you think you have. We set New Year’s resolutions in every other aspect of our lives, from finances to physical fitness. Maybe it’s time we turned that spotlight on our parenting skills as well.
Find some extra downtime
A lot of times parents envision the kind of life they could lead if they only had more time – they would be better parents, the house would be cleaner, or they’d have more patience. If time is your biggest obstacle, try to find some more.
If you haven’t called in sick to work in the past five years, take a sick day occasionally. The office can survive without you for one day.
If you have friends or family members who need more of your time than you can comfortably give them, let them know your schedule is filling up and you might not be as accessible as you once were for a while. If parenting is your top priority, give it the respect it deserves.
Modern parents spend so much time on their phones and computers. There’s so much to cram into one day – work calls or texts, answering emails and keeping up with friends and family. But if we’re being honest, some of that time spent on phones and computers isn’t necessary. It’s spent on Facebook or playing games.
If you catch yourself wasting some of your time online, try to step back from it for a while. See if you miss it. See if you think you have a closer relationship with your child when you aren’t staring at a screen as much.
Cut back on the drama
It’s amazing how much energy many of us devote to drama. Sometimes it’s unavoidable – there might be a medical problem that crops up. But sometimes we get sucked into drama that has nothing to do with us – a dust-up in the office or a fight between our friends.
Take Elsa’s advice and “Let It Go.” You’ll be happier and have more energy to spare for the things that really matter
Make an appointment with your child
When we see something written on a calendar, we tend to make time for it. So set a block of time aside for your child. Write it down, and treat it like you would any other appointment. Don’t take phone calls or answer emails during that blocked-off time. Spend it 100 percent focused on your child. That kind of time is crucial for building healthy relationships.
It won’t matter what activity you choose to do, your child will just be happy to have your undivided attention.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.