Posts Tagged ‘guilt’

He’s healthy, he’s happy, and he likes me

How do you measure your parenting skills?

Because, let’s face it. Most of us feel guilty about, well, everything. I think most of us feel inadequate as parents sometimes.

Or maybe it’s just me.

But, either way, I’ve come up with what I think is the best yardstick by which to measure my ability as a parent: I mentally tick off these three boxes:

  • He’s healthy.
  • He’s happy.
  • He likes me.

I figure if I can tick off two out of three of those boxes at any given point in time, I’m doing okay. And usually I get 100% on this test – I have a perfectly normal, healthy little two year old, who’s generally a happy camper (waking up grumpy from naps doesn’t count, nor does the occasional meltdown because I won’t give him Promite sandwiches for the fourth time in a day). And he likes me. “Mummy, hug!”

Now these three things aren’t necessarily key performance indicators of good parenting for everyone. Particularly the health thing. Kids get sick, and there’s not a lot we can do about that – hey, my child had swine flu recently (and wasn’t that the most cabin-fevered fortnight of my life?). And sometimes you have to shift the bar – if your child has something serious or chronic, chances are pretty good it is something outside your control. But, like a lot of mothers, I worry about a lot of things – does he eat enough? is he getting enough vegetables? oh no, he didn’t have any fruit today, but he ate biscuits three times… I look at him, and I see a perfectly normal little boy who’s lean and tall and who seems to have boundless energy, and I think, well, whatever he ate today/yesterday/over the course of the last week, he seems pretty healthy to me – I must be doing okay on that front.

I think my point is that I’ve found a little set of quick checkboxes that reassure me at any point in time. If I can say to myself, “he’s healthy, he’s happy, and he likes me,” then I can easily and rapidly remind myself of the bigger picture – which is that as a parent, I do just fine.

Have you ever thought about a quick checklist like this? Day to day, what is it that you want for your child – things that are within your control, that is? What is it that you look for in your child to reassure you that you’re doing okay at this parenting thing?