How to be a better parent

how_to_be_a_better_parent

A few days before my son was born I wrote a letter to him. About my hopes and dreams for him as a person, and my hopes and dreams for me as a parent. About the values that I wanted to instil in him and the values I wanted to guide me as a mother. I found the letter recently while vacuum packing another load of worn, but not yet disposable clothing. And wow, the hormones must have been really raging when I wrote it. The letter was about 10 pages long, full of repetition, illegible writing and what I assume are some tear stains??

It was a lovely idea though, wasn’t it? To think about what kind of mother I wanted to be before I actually become one.

But who bothers doing that? Between the morning sickness, doctor’s visits, online pram research, trips to baby bunting, nesting and finishing season 7 of Friday Night Lights there wasn’t a lot of time to worry too much about me and my impending role as a parent.

And to be honest, I didn’t think that it was particularly a time to be focused on me. I thought it was a time to prepare for my child to enter into the world; a world full of overpriced replica Danish furniture and Instagram worthy interior designed shelving displays.

And while this is true (somewhat), it is equally as important a time to be thinking about me and my parenting legacy. To think about my vision for the future and how family fits into that. Because let’s be honest, once the chaos and sleeplessness of a baby sets in, the “me” time is in short supply (at least in the short to medium term).

Becoming a mother was my greatest achievement, but it does not completely define me. And I know that to be the best version of me, not just for me but for my son too, I need to keep my career, aspirations and interests always in my sights. I need to be guided by my values as a person and as a mother and motivated by my ambitions.

The Grace Papers program helped me to set my values and my vision for the future.

This evolving roadmap has guided me in how I raise my son, how I prioritise him and other aspects of my life as well as how I act, grow and develop as a parent. I’m not a perfect mother, my career doesn’t always feel established or secure - but through all the doubts and decisions, I have something to guide me on my way.

I know who I want to be, and where I want to go – and that is helping to ensure that I’m the most sane, well adjusted and proud parent I can be (most of the time).