It’s easy to slip into thinking you “should” parent in a certain way or you “should” be able to manage a certain challenging behavior. But, the truth is, we are imperfect parents doing the best we can with the information we have. Today, I encourage you to write yourself a few “permission slips.”
If you have a child in school, you’re familiar with permission slips. Those sheets of paper that give your permission for your kids to take a tour of the local fire station or head to the zoo.
Those are great, but that’s not the kind of permission slips I’m talking about here.
These are permission slips for you.
Permission to be you.
There is so much pressure on us as parents.
The information overload is real, and it can be a heavy burden to carry. No matter where we turn, we feel criticized, sized-up, measured, and judged. We feel our best isn’t good enough. And our worst is too horrible to admit.
There has to be another way.
Permission Slips Every Parent Needs
What if, instead of focusing on all the ways you’re messing up, you give yourself permission to be human. Here are some examples:
- Permission to be imperfect. This is the one thing we all have in common. No matter how good things get, you will never perfectly handle every parenting situation that comes your way. We’re working for progress, not perfection here.
- Permission to feel feelings. Feelings are part of the human experience. All feelings – even anger. It’s not wrong to feel angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, confused, or overwhelmed. We can learn from and grow through these experiences.
- Permission to be a work in progress. It’s OK not to know everything right now. It’s good to be constantly learning about yourself, your kids, and parenting in general. Do the best you can with the information you have at the moment.
- Permission not to solve problems. There seems to be a lot of pressure to find the “perfect” solution or consequence when our kids are struggling. That’s not the goal. Instead, let focus on listening, being empathetic, and helping them brainstorm.
- Permission to have boundaries. Creating healthy emotional and physical boundaries for yourself and your family is essential. That might mean you have different rules, different expectations, or different needs than other parents, and that is OK.
- Permission to parent your children differently. You are the expert on your child. Other people may share their opinions, but that doesn’t mean you have to adjust your parenting – unless it aligns with your needs and the needs of your unique child.
- You have permission to be silly. Play is the language of kids! If you tend to be more uptight or serious, it’s OK to let a few things go, to manage a challenge with a joke or a song, or wrestle and roughhouse, rather than giving everything a firm response.
- Permission to have a bad day. You’re not a robot. You’re affected by the world around you, your job, your financial situation, your relationships, and yes, even your kids. If you got up on the wrong side of the bed, acknowledge it and move forward.
- Permission to have limits to what you can do. It’s OK if you can’t lead the scout troop, bring treats for the class, run the fundraiser, and have a home-cooked meal every night. Focus on the things that are most important and let the rest go.
- Permission to take time by yourself. Attachment parenting can be misunderstood as “needing to be with your child constantly.” Your self-care is important too! Focus on building a strong, healthy relationship with your kids and reconnecting after you are apart.
- Permission not to know everything. If you feel compelled to read “one more blog post” or “one more book” to find the answer you’re seeking, step back and take a deep breath. Your kids just need you. Not “you with all of the answers.”
- Permission to seek help. You absolutely, positively, do not need to go through this parenting thing on your own. With online capabilities, you’re no longer limited. You can see a therapist or a parent coach or a doctor from the comfort of your home.
Give yourself permission
I was going to create a printable for you, but I decided against it. I don’t want you to use my words, I want you to write things in your own words.
What’s on your heart? What’s in your head?
What do you need to give yourself permission for today?
Grab a piece of paper and write, “I give myself permission to…” then fill in the blank. Write as many as you need. Put them in your pocket or on the dashboard of your car. Hang it on the fridge or your bathroom mirror.
You are valuable. You are worthy.
Brene Brown talks about writing permission slips in her book, Braving the Wilderness. You can pick up a copy of her book here. (This is an affiliate link)