We’ve had a lot of friends become new parents lately and I’m a little blown away by how much more they know now than we did when we had our first baby nine years ago. But despite being armed with more information, one that thing that hasn’t changed is the tendency for us parents to keep a mental tally of the things we think we’re doing wrong.
And as inevitable as dwelling on our parenting mistakes probably is, my Valentine’s Day gift to all new (and relatively new) parents is this little reminder of the things you’re doing right that you probably don’t even think about.
So next time you find yourself cringing over how you messed up, remember this list and smile instead. There are at least a couple of these that will apply to you and maybe a few you can look forward to!
- You feed them. They have no idea where the food comes from so when they are hungry and you produce food, it can mean only one thing … you are a genius.
- You are able to decode a cry and know, without even fully waking up, if it means wet, cold, tired, hungry, or, “I lost my soother.”
- You read the book the 18-month-old is obsessed with – in the hilarious accent that makes her laugh – eleven times in a row and then once more for good measure.
- You play peek-a-boo, hide and seek, I spy, and the name game, even when you’re sure you don’t have another “banana fanna fo fanna” in you.
- You have magical powers to make boo-boos better. One kiss and they are up and running again.
- You understand toddler-speak when nobody else in the world can, deciphering unintelligible sentences and made-up words better than the most highly-trained United Nations translator.
- You know how to make your child smile even when they are trying hard to stay really, really angry.
- You are their definitive idea of comfort. You are who they want when they are sick, sad, hurt, or scared. You are macaroni and cheese personified.
- You have one of the only things guaranteed to make their eyes light up every time: your face.
- You role model strength, resilience, love, and nurturing just by showing up for your kids every day (and night) as your awesomely imperfect self.
As much as possible try to replace that negative ticker tape running through your head with the positives.
And on challenging days take this little golden nugget from our friends at Sesame Street and wear it in a locket around your neck: “Everyone makes mistakes, so why can’t you?”