As you set your New Year’s resolutions for 2022 were any of your intentions about improving your parenting? We can all improve as parents, regardless of whether we set motherhood goals or not. By setting some clear goals, it’s easier to become the parent we want to be. Here are our suggestions on how to be come more intentional about your goals and reaching them.
1. Be specific
In order to move towards positive change in life we need to be able to have specific goals. You can’t reach a goal if you don’t set one in the first place. Be detailed and exact about your goals. For example, say “I want to improve my sleep schedule in order to become more patient” or “I want to improve my communication with my children, to be calmer with them.
Once you know exactly what your motherhood goal is, you can journal about the specifics about your goal. The more specific and tangible the better! For example, “I want to sleep most nights at 10PM the latest and be up by 7AM the latest. I want to wind down and ease into my evening so I can relax before sleep time. I want to read, relax in bed and stay off any devices or tv for at least an hour before sleep. When I notice my patience is running thin with the children, I will notice my irritation and breathe. I will remind myself to choose my response rather than react out of fatigue or frustration.”
3. Identify and address obstacles
If you know there are specific obstacles you have to work through then identify them now. For example, you are a working mom and work expects you to be online 24/7!?! Well, that would be a big obstacle! Do you need to have a conversation with your manager about the fact that you have a family? Do you need to educate them about burn out? Go ahead and do that. Most companies and employers are well aware of mental health needs and have policies that address the issues. So talk to your HR or manager directly to tackle these rather than living in resentment. Your exhaustion is not in your, your family’s or even your employer’s best interest.
4. You don’t have to be a superwoman
Another common irrational thinking that gets in the way of us changing our lives for the better is the thinking that “everyone else does it and I don’t have a choice.” Just because everyone else has unhealthy habits doesn’t mean you need to live your life that way, too.
Don’t forget that you also have a choice in how you want to live your life. If your neighbor across the street is a full-time working mom who is always immaculately dressed, hosts wonderful dinner parties in the weekends, reads a book a week and is never late in dropping off the children at school, it doesn’t mean you have to be able to do the same to be a good enough mother. Celebrate your exceptional neighbor and choose the lifestyle that works for you and your family.
5. One step at a time
Please remember everything is a process and takes time. It takes a lot of practice and mindfulness and you will never get it “right” 100% of the time so please be kind to yourself. Just pick one thing you want to improve in your parenting and keep reminding yourself of that one thing on a daily basis. If you need help, ask for it!
Dr. Ava Ghasemi (Holdich) is a licensed Psychologist with 11 years experience in the U.S., Canada and the Middle East. She has a practice of individual and couples therapy at the MapleTree Center in Dubai.