Being a parent can be so hard. Everyone tells you that it’s the most challenging job out there, but it’s difficult to fully understand until you’re in the throes of raising your own little person.
Luckily children are also a continual source of joy. Nothing makes a bad day melt away like the smile on the face of your child. Still, there are times when even the best of parents question their choices and actions; when the individual needs and hurdles that your child faces seem daunting—and that can be a scary, overwhelming place to be. So here are seven things to keep in mind when the going gets tough.
1. This too shall pass. This saying is incredibly annoying to hear at times of duress—but it’s true. Every moment is fleeting—both the good and the bad ones. Maintaining a healthy perspective on the impermanence of life and its struggles does help.
2. Children are resilient. I think people in general are resilient, but this is especially true of kids. Sometimes it’s actually harder for us to watch our children endure life’s woes than it is for kids to get through them. This isn’t to diminish the suffering of a child as less than that of an adult, but kids are much more in touch with living in the present moment and enjoying the little things in life at any given moment—even the rough ones.
3. Ask for help. Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on, and admitting that you can’t do it on your own is often more awkward than it should be. Don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for help, be it emotional or physical. Additionally, you’ll be teaching your child that the surrounding people in life are ones that you should be able to count on. Don’t be a martyr. You’ll be teaching your child that too.
4. There’s always something good. Even life’s worst moments have flashes of humor or fun. Make sure to also acknowledge these times when the sun peaks out—life’s too short to miss the rainbows.
5. You’re growing. Unfortunately, to be the best people we can be we must endure hardships. We tend to grow the most when put under stress. Allow yourself time to reflect on the lessons you’re learning that are promoting your own self-growth—or open your eyes to ways that you could be.
6. Life isn’t fair. This one isn’t necessarily a happy suggestion, but it’s true—and wallowing in the unfairness of life is a waste of time. Illness strikes the best of kids and stress happens to good people. Try to not see your battles as a personal attack from the universe. Rather, realize that we all have our own burdens to bear—even if they come in different shapes and sizes.
7. You can do this. Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader to be successful in any arena, but especially parenting. You can be a good parent. You can make it through these ups and downs. You will come out on top—and so will your child because they have you and your unflagging support.
I’ve long felt that the heartfelt concern and self-awareness displayed when people question their abilities to be good parents ironically leads to doing the job well. Sometimes, however, we need a simple reminder that all of us have times when we feel inadequate or flat out rotten—and that these times are, thankfully, not the majority. This too shall pass. In the meantime, don’t forget to always look for the silver lining—especially where children are concerned.