Parenting Priorities

Maybe you’ve had as tough a month as a parent as many I know have.  It’s often hard to be a parent, parents have a very unique set of challenges that change with each passing day, year and generation.  Over my 10+ years of working with parents I’ve seen a lot.  The one thing I know that makes a bigger difference than almost anything else is this: take a break.

What am I talking about?  I’m talking about hiring a babysitter at least once a week for 4 hours during the day.  I’m talking about getting someone to watch the kids and put them to bed at least once a month so you can have date night.  I’m talking about sending the kids to camp, pre-k, afterschool programs and to visit their grandparents and cousins.

Why? For several reasons.  First, unless you’ve got a neighborhood with tons of kids your kids age to play with, the kids need to be interacting with kids their own age on a relaxed basis.  Second, the kids need to be with other adults because other adults and people can teach your kids lessons and help your kids with things you can’t do.  Third, you must get a break at least once a week or you can basically plan for a breakdown.

Never feel ashamed or like less of a person because you ask for help.  You’re smarter than those who think they can just push through it and make it on their own.

Once you’ve worked in some free time away from your kids, I encourage you to focus on really making the most of the time you do have with your kids.  Babysitters and other family members do not a parent make.  You’ve still got responsibilities as a parent to raise your children as creative, passionate, smart individuals.

What about you?  What lessons have you learned from being a parent or being with parents?

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