You're Not a Failure.
Ever feel like a failure? I have. Sometimes I feel that way about a project that doesn’t pan out like I hoped. Or my messy home that doesn’t look like the magazine picture I have in my head. Or, when really bad, I can feel like a failure as a parent. It usually sounds something like this...
If I were a better parent, then…
You know what I mean?
If I were a better parent, then I would spend every waking moment totally present with my daughter. If I were a better parent, then I would never reach for my phone when with her. If I were a better parent, then my child would love to be outside exploring all the time and eat healthy at every meal. I’ve even thought, If I were a better parent, then my daughter would never cry.
But then sometimes I start thinking about my pressing to-do list instead of being present with her. Sometimes I check the messages on my phone. Or sometimes I even give her the phone (shh...don’t tell anyone) so I can prepare her food. Sometimes she even cries (imagine that!). And I feel like a failure.
But here’s what I’ve learned and what I want you to know:
I’m not the failure. My systems are.
When you feel like a failure as a parent, you’re not. But your systems might be failing. Let me explain!
I’ve heard it said before that a SYSTEM Saves You Stress, Time, Energy, and Money. Think about it. This is why we have a system for getting ready for bed (even if you feel like it's chaotic, there is probably an order to brushing your teeth, taking out your contacts, changing your clothes, etc.). We do the same for getting up in the morning, preparing meals, what you do when you first get in the car, and so on. Why? Because the system Saves You Stress, Time, Energy, and Money.
You’re not a failure! That’s good news. But your systems might be failing. And that’s even better news because you can change the systems in your life that have to do with parenting!
So here’s what I want you to do.
1. Think about the most stressful part of your day (or experience) with your kids.
Let’s say this is bath time and every time it’s bath time you feel like a bombshell goes off because while you’re looking for the toys, the towel, the shampoo, a fresh diaper, and a clean set of clothes, your child gets the whole bathroom wet and soapy. Not fun to clean up.
2. What is ONE THING you could do to help the system?
Rather than condemning yourself and feeling like a failure, address the system. Maybe you need to have a place where you put all the bath time items. Maybe it’s a caddy with the toys, shampoo, and rags. Maybe it’s having the diaper and clothes ready where your child will change (or you will change your child) after bath time.
3. Try that one thing TODAY!
You’re not a failure. You’ve got this! And we are here for you.