Many parents feel pressure that they have to be the best possible parents. This seems to be getting worse and worse with pressure from the internet and social media adding to the pressure on women to hold down a career as well as looking after their children. There seems to be a competition in the playground between mothers as to who is the busiest and this only escalates the stress that they are already under, thinking that it is acceptable to be rushing about doing many different things, working, keeping the house up together, keeping on top of washing, cooking nutritious meals, doing voluntary work and running children to different extra-curricular activities. It is worth noting that this is not the way to be the best parent ever.
If you want to be the best parent that you can then you need to find time to relax. If you are always stressed then you will be more likely to lose your temper with your children and you will not have time to be with them and enjoy them. Do not feel that you have to do everything but ask the family to help you so that you have more time to be together. Even cleaning the house together can be an activity which you can use to teach the children useful skills as well as be together.
Look After Yourself It is so tempting to think that the best thing for your children is to put them first all of the time. However, to be good parents we sometimes need to put our needs first. We need to make sure that we are well fed, well rested and happy so that we can be a good parent. This might mean that we have to feed ourselves first, go to bed at the same time as the children, do things which make us happy as well as things that make them happy and generally look after ourselves. If we get ill, grumpy or tired we will just not be parenting as well as we could.
Listen to your children and yourself It is really wise to listen to what your body and your children want. It can be so easy to do what you think is best based on trends or what other people do and not think about what is right for you and your children. Some families, for example seem to fill all of their spare time with holidays, activities and clubs, whereas others just spend time at home doing very little. You need to think about whether you have the money and energy to do lots of things or whether it is better for you just to be relaxed in your spare time and not constantly be doing things. It might be that you need a combination of these things with some time to relax at home and some time to do activities. Think about family time, how much time you have to drive them around to places, how much money you have available to spend on these things as well as how much enrichment you think they will get form the various activities. Give them what they need not what they want It is so easy to succumb to pressure to feel that you should be giving your children all sorts of things. There are so many books, toys, games and electronics that are available to buy for children and the constant advertising means that there are many things that they may want. However, buying children everything that they want will not be good for them. If they get used to always having what they want they will ask for more and more things and you could end up easily running out of money. It will also make them feel that it is normal to buy everything that they want and so when they are earning their own money they will spend it all on things rather than saving up and keeping money for a rainy day or for emergencies.
Ignore pressure from others It is so easy to feel pressure from others. Whether it is from books, television, social media, magazines, friends or family there always seems to be someone saying that what you are doing is not right. The most important thing is to understand that there is no right way to bring up children. There is no rule book and so you can do it the way that you want. Each child is different to and this could mean that things that work for one child do not work for another. One child would love to go camping and spend lots of time outdoors; whereas others will want to be indoors reading books all of the time. There is no right or wrong when it comes to this but if certain activities suit you and your child better then those are what you should be doing. This also applies to what you feed them, how you discipline them, what you do when they are unwell, what schools you send them to etc. There are so many decisions that have to be made that it can be really difficult. No parent gets it right every time but as long as you do what you feel is right and you learn when you make mistakes then you are being the best parent that you can be. That is all that you can expect from yourself. No one teaches us to be parents and so we are learning all of the time and making mistakes and so you need to make sure that you do not put lots of pressure on yourself to be perfect. However hard you work to shape your children, they will be affected by their genes as well as the environment that you provide for them and so you will not have a complete influence on them so do not beat yourself up if they do not turn out exactly as you expected as you cannot change everything about them.