Parenting has been — and continues to be — the most amazing privilege of my life. It is filled with so many beautiful memories and moments of pure joy. Magic, even. BUT… parenting is also filled with plenty of really challenging moments as well. Some days as a parent are just really hard.
Maybe you are in the throes of sleep deprivation or your toddler is getting those pesky molars. Maybe you are in the midst of your postpartum journey and still figuring out what it means to be a parent and feeling completely overwhelmed about pretty much everything. I’ve been there.
But while I can’t make all of the hard parts go away for you, I can give you some truths that I’ve clung to myself during really difficult moments. These truths anchored me, and I hope they can do the same for you. Keep your chin up. You are doing a really good job.
1. Some days are just hard… and that’s OK.
Unfortunately, we are not guaranteed sunshine and rainbows every day. Some days are hard, but that doesn’t mean that it will always be that way. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Tomorrow is a new day.
Even though today was hard, tomorrow is a new day — a new chance for a fresh start. Tomorrow you can do better and react better than you did today.
3. Let go of expectations.
Sometimes, we are just way too hard on ourselves. We want to be “perfect parents” when there really is no such thing. We can’t do it all, but we can do our best. Sometimes, we need to let go of our expectations of how our day/week/motherhood should go and just let the waves take us. Maybe that pile of laundry won’t get folded quite as quickly, but we may just get to snuggle our babies a little bit longer. Letting go of expectations can often make room for those more magical moments of parenthood to seep in.
4. You are your child’s world.
Being a parent can be incredibly exhausting. Being responsible for another human being and ALL their needs is a lot, but in those moments when you feel overwhelmed, stop for a moment and reframe the situation. Remember that your child is crying because they need YOU. You are their entire world and the love of their life. It may be incredibly tiring, but it’s also really sweet, and pretty flattering, to be honest.
5. You can do hard things.
You are strong and you can get through this sleep regression/tantrum/etc.
6. Other parents aren’t perfect either.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and truer words have never been spoken. It’s easy to compare ourselves to other parents we know and feel like they are doing a much better job, but the truth is, none of us is perfect and we are all figuring it out as we go. We all have strengths and weaknesses and are good parents in our own way.
7. You are exactly the parent your child needs.
Even though you may never be a perfect parent, you are exactly the parent your child needs. No one knows and loves your child quite like you and that really is the most important thing that a little one needs.
8. Be kind to yourself.
When you have those hard days, be sure to take a moment for yourself. In the midst of the chaos, make yourself a cup of tea or take a bath while the baby sleeps. Find those little moments when you can, and be kind to yourself, because you are doing a very hard but incredibly important job.