Being a parent probably takes a lot more hard work and patience than you imagined when you thought about having children. It also takes a lot of time in our lives – there are morning and bedtime routines, shopping, meal preparation, attending school events, other activities, and…and…and. With all of these obligations, we sometimes forget that we decided to have children because of the joy of being a family and raising small human beings. Here are some ideas for keeping joy alive:
- Slow down, and observe the joy your child experiences when learning something new, or doing an activity.
- Allot time to play whatever your child wants to play. Just join in and enjoy your child.
- Stop chasing your children’s imaginary future successes. Getting into the best college doesn’t guarantee your child a job, having a job doesn’t guarantee happiness. Enjoy where they are right now –the time goes by so quickly.
- Let go of perfection. It is way over-rated. Don’t keep a mental record of ‘wrongs’, especially your own parenting mistakes. Take the experience, acknowledge it, make a repair, learn from it.
- Build a tribe. Family time can be more fun with other families – have a monthly pizza night, a game night, a hike or softball game with neighbors or friends.
- Make some room for “adult only” time with the people you love; that might be with your partner, your best friends or your adult family members. Adult relationships need nourishing too.
Check in with yourself every so often: on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most joyful, ask yourself, “What is the level of joy I have in my current place in the parenting journey?” “What is one small thing I could do to bring a little more joy to myself, my child or my family?”