Celebrate small victories to be a better parent

 In Parenting

It’s the small victories. Give yourself credit. A break. Be kind to yourself.

These are things people have said to me, that I’ve said to others, when we’re in stressful times. But what does that mean?

Parenting can make us question ourselves, doubt ourselves, and worry that we can’t do anything right. And when we doubt ourselves we feel like we are not good parents.

But here’s the thing, we tend to focus on the negative we do or feel. It’s easy to pass over the positive things we do every day as moms and dads. But a small shift in our focus can have big impacts on how we see ourselves and how we move on through our parenting life.

Why small victories matter

One thing that has become crucial to riding out the anxious, depressed times, the difficult parenting moments, is to give credit to your small victories.

They say it in business and creative work, in mental health recovery, and it works in parenting as well.

We thrive when we see our steps as a continuum of progress, not just whether or not we got to the end of the race, not just the big picture.

When we recognize small victories we give ourselves a mental boost to keep going, to keep worries of failure at bay. It helps keep us grounded.

[bctt tweet=”When we recognize small victories we give ourselves a mental boost to keep going” username=”taragiroud”]

What small victories should we celebrate?

Small victories are everywhere if you look. Did you get everyone out of the house on time (or close enough) without screaming? Did you make a few minutes for your kid even though you were busy? Did anger creep up out of nowhere and have you screaming at your kids for something stupid they did only to come back and apologize and offer everyone a do-over?

Part of the problem is a vicious cycle of fear and blame and guilt so more fear etc. But when we start to give ourselves credit for the small victories, we build our confidence, we put that cycle away and start down a path to even bigger victories.

How to acknowledge small victories

So once you see small victories, what do you do with them?

I’ve written before about the power of journaling. If you have a gratitude journal, or want to start one, this is a great place to begin.

You know how saying something out loud suddenly gives weight to an idea, same goes for writing it down. Write in your gratitude journal that you’re grateful you had a moment of clarity, that you had a moment of extra patience you didn’t know was in you. Whatever it was, write it down and be grateful. Then, when you forget that you’ve ever done anything right as a parent, go back and read through those times and find reassurance.

You could have chosen so many other courses of action. But you didn’t this time. This time you did something, even for a moment, that you could be proud of.

It might seem silly to make this much of an effort for something so small as an apology, but don’t laugh. Or laugh and then move on. This is powerful stuff. You’ve got goals and they are big and this one little thing doesn’t seem to change anything. But foundations are laid one stone at a time.

After you do this for a while, you’ll be able to see that you no longer see yourself as a failing parent even in the hard times. You see yourself as someone who makes mistakes but also as someone who can and has made the right choices.

I believe it is in this acknowledgement that we find balance that can feel so elusive as parents.

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Be a better parent with small victories

Woman beach summer and cute young girl via ShutterStock.com

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Showing 9 comments
  • Dawan
    Reply

    Ohh yeah I celebrate and tap myself on the shoulder everytime I see a progress with my daughter or with myself as beeing a mum! It does reminds me of how good job I am doing with my daughter especially when I am a stay at home mum and feel sometimes “useless”.

  • Claire
    Reply

    It’s good to be reminded not to sweat the small stuff, while – um – celebrating the small stuff! 😉 Great post

  • Tanya
    Reply

    I so agree with the journaling. Taking time to acknowledge good things, in myself and others, really changes my perspective longer term.

  • Kate
    Reply

    Such a good reminder. I think it’s so important as parents to let go of the idea of perfection. What we are doing is really hard! And I really need to remember to keep a gratitude journal. I love the process when I do it, but never last more than a few days before I forget!

    • Tara McLaughlin Giroud
      Reply

      It’s hard to keep all of these little things, like the gratitude journal, in our consciousness. But hopefully it resurfaces as a help when you need it. 🙂

  • Manuela
    Reply

    I could not agree more. Someone once told me being a mum is like running a marathon, it is not a sprint. So true. I also find that 4 years and two kids in I am so much more relaxed about so many things and just enjoy more. My second toddler loves broccoli, what better victory is there? ;-))

  • Rachel
    Reply

    Great idea! I recently had a small victory and told everyone I could about it (lol!) The journaling idea is great, I’ve been wanting to get more into a journaling (besides my habits tracker), and this would be a very good positive way to start!

  • Hanka
    Reply

    I ´ve been journaling my small daily victories (but fails as well) for few weeks – it helps me a lot and I feel very positive about it.

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