What does it mean to be a successful parent?
I used to think that being a successful parent meant happy kids (all of the time), hot dinner on the table every night, laundry washed and put away, homework done on time, dishes done before I go to bed, and work and home was balanced perfectly. I was delusional. This doesn’t happen, at least not to me. If you have this figured out, please email me and tell me how to do this.
I was driving myself crazy trying to be the perfect mother. I got to the point where, if the stars did not align, I began to feel as though I was failing. Failing as a mother; the single most important thing that I am supposed to and want to do well. I have eight little people that are counting on me to get it right.
I was speaking to a group of entrepreneurs about my experiences and challenges of starting a business, and I said something that I just realized at that very moment: Success is defined in different ways, depending on your perspective. I started looking for the small successes at home the same way I did at work.
Just last week, my son, Lucas, said to me, “Hey mom, I’m really glad that when I was born, we weren’t too rich and weren’t too poor. We were just right.” The successful part of this story is that when Lucas was born, we lived in a house that I felt was not “just right” for my family. I felt like every day there was a mountain to climb. My children, however, felt like things were “just right”. Wow. Perspective AND success. I simply couldn’t see it then.
It took me a little while to figure out where to look for moments to pat myself on the back. Here are some examples:
There is still milk in the fridge for breakfast this morning; success.
I packed school lunches before I went to bed last night and saved myself 10 minutes this morning AND everyone is happy with what they were given; success.
Nobody cried at bedtime; success.
I put on a cheery face even though I was crabby as hell; success.
I kept my cool when four kids were screaming and crying; success.
Holy crap, I suddenly found myself doing a lot of things right! All I had to do was look! Now when I am having a bad day and I don’t keep my cool or there is no milk in the fridge, I know it’s okay. I know I can reset and there is another small success right around the corner if I just look for it. I changed my perspective and it changed the way I valued myself as a mom, a good and successful mom.