parent activity: the parent you want to be
For any other job in life, we set aside the time to prepare, to think things through, to define our objectives and the actions necessary to get us to our goal. For parenting, we mostly just show up and throw ourselves in. But what if we gave ourselves a little, even a very little, focused time to pre-think?
Whether we’ve articulated it or not, we each have a vision of the parent we want to be. Some of these ideas stem from our own upbringing – ways we’d like to emulate our parents, and in other ways, things we’d like to do differently. And there are other people we see in action, who do things in a way we admire.
The goal of this activity is to identify the characteristics that describe the parent you want to be. Once named (the basis of the “pre-think” in this instance!), these ideas can serve as a lens through which you can evaluate how things are going from time to time.
List 5 adjectives you hope your child would use to describe you.
(e.g. hard-working? fun? funny? relaxed? driven? understanding? smart? playful? independent? available? kind? generous? strong? creative? dependable? present?)
Now take each of these adjectives and think about whether your interactions with your kid(s) over the past few days (or weeks or months) would reflect the parent you aim to be.
Here we ask ourselves: are we making choices and behaving in ways consistent with our goals? If “fun” is on the list, is enough time being allowed in the day for the lightness required for fun? If “patient” is on the list, what can be done to avoid the harried rushing? If “forgiving” is listed, how is it being modelled?
Keep in mind, we parents tend to be too tough on ourselves. Don’t do it! This parenting stuff is hard work, and some days are simply better than others. We try to take the long view and use our adjectives as goals, to serve as reminders of the parents we want to be more of the time. -t