In my earlier post I talked about building up self-esteem in our children, today I want to focus on us as parents. So, how are you doing today? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest) how would you rate your own self-esteem as a parent?
For many of us I can anticipate the blank stare off into space… with visions of laundry, bills, and to-do lists dancing around in our heads. There’s just no room for thinking about self-esteem. Wherever you are right now, take a deeeep breath, relax the tension in your body for just a moment. Have you thought about your self-esteem today? What have you done that might build up your own self-esteem? Yes, you’re normal. For many parents we focus on building up our kids and leave the last if any for ourselves. And sometimes even less for our partners (more on that in my next post this Friday). But what we can do for ourselves is not just important for us but for those around us – how we feel about ourselves directly affects all our relationships. The same simple steps for building esteem in our kids applies to us parents too… Noticing, Tone, and Belief.
Part of taking a deep breath is about noticing what we actually have accomplished today. Now, if you’re a selfish slug I suggest you stop it and get changed. But most of us have sped by all the positive things we have done for our family today. It takes strength, values, and reliability to have worked all this out, you know. I mean, coordinating children’s schedules and needs plus working out of the house or in the house is devotion pure and simple. There is always something else we shoulda/coulda have done. And often we evaluate ourselves only on what did not get done rather than the other 99 that did. Just notice. Notice the positives you did today.
You know, aren’t we all as parents wishing we had the playbook? That secret, magical book of instructions that somehow slipped out when our children were born or adopted? We’re involved parents, and we’re looking constantly for the right thing to do in our family situations. Yet we feel tone-deaf. It’s like we can’t hear for the noise that is the basic fiber of the relationships in our family. But for all the noise are we really listening for anything? It will always be difficult to give a helpful tone to our family if we aren’t giving a helpful tone to ourselves. This goes back to asking ourselves, How am I doing right now? What is a legitimate need I have right now, today?
If a person signs up for a relationship they signed up for a change. This is multiplied when children come along. Relationships and family are all about change. The simplicity of this is right here: focusing on our own change. Every member in my family requires something uniquely different than the others. Much of it feels foreign, like, some elastic stretching sensation of something getting pulled out of me I didn’t know was there. Then, this other person is happy (in a healthy way) and I see how my change was for the better. This is where belief comes in. I mean here, real transformational belief and change that enhances our self-esteem and energizes us to build the self-esteem in our family members.