Everyone has moments when they don’t feel like the best parent in the world. Whether you’re just having a bad day, you feel like you’ve lost control of the house, or you have that gnawing sense that something is amiss, there are steps you can take to restore your confidence. Remember, it’s important for everyone in the family that you stay in touch with the good parent that you are. With that in mind, here are some tips to help keep your parent muscles strong.

Routines
We talk about routines a lot. They’re a great way to build confidence in yourself as a person and as a parent. Also, creating regular, positive habits will help you manage what may seem unmanageable. Whether it’s keeping to breakfast or bedtime schedules, making sure Mary practices piano before school, or having a family walk every Sunday, those type of structures will give you a grip on the day and your family a measure of comfort.

Talk
It’s another deceptively simple step. Parenting can be difficult when there aren’t other moms or dads around. Try to cultivate those people you can share your thoughts with — really talk to — and you can help them with what you know. Discussing your worries will lighten your load and you’ll be surprised how much your experience can benefit others.  It will be a healthy reminder to see that everyone goes through similar struggles.

Find Ways to Get Out
Take up offers of help when you can. You don’t have to be proud. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent if you want to go to a coffee shop or a movie in the afternoon. Even if it’s just a half hour to get in a walk while your son or daughter is at the neighbors, it’s valuable and important to find ways to get a little time to yourself. When you can, earning a few favors by helping out your neighbors can be very helpful, as well. You might discover that watching over their kids for an afternoon is a lot easier than caring for your own!

Develop New Relationships
Parenting support groups, resource centers at local schools, meetings at the neighborhood library, or online groups are a great way of finding people you can talk with when things are difficult. This is important, especially if you don’t have anyone in your life with whom to share your concerns. If you’re fortunate and have supportive people around you, building new relationships can still be empowering. With every new friend comes the added security and strength that only another person can give.

You are the most important person in your child’s life. It is a big responsibility, and a rewarding one, but it’s not all that you are. Make sure to care for yourself and cultivate the interests that help make your life complete. Take a class at the local community center. Join a tennis league or a book club. Then stick to your plans. By making sure to invest in yourself, you become a happier person and a better parent for your family.

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