Are things a little crazy at your house lately? They are at mine. With all the back to school activity, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. We’re dealing with early morning chaos and with kids who are beyond exhausted. When you add in extracurricular activities and after-school commitments, our calendars are more than full! As our families adjust to new, busy schedules, we also face the challenge of our own individual stress and irritability. There’s a lot going on! So, in the middle of all the craziness, let’s support each other as parents.
There are so many ways we sympathize with one another as parents that you’d think we’re a pretty tight bunch. But when we get down to it, we can fall into criticism for each other quite easily. We each have our own opinions and way of life, and it’s normal for each family to have different priorities. We’re not all called to the same path. And yet, our human nature likes to think that we are right and everyone else is wrong. So how can we let go of this tendency? Any time we want to change something or develop a new habit, we have to choose some action items.
Let’s look at a few ways we can actively support each other as parents.
Start with your look
I’m not talking about how you look, but your actual way of looking at other people. Have you ever been sure that someone is scowling at you? Maybe they really were giving you a nasty look, or maybe they were zoning out, unaware of their facial expression. Either way, let’s each determine to be more aware of what our look might be saying. Let’s choose to communicate encouragement and friendliness in the way we literally look at other people. Think of the difference you would feel if you received a smile instead of a frown when you are having a public parenting moment. What if the other parents at your school made eye contact as they walked by instead of looking down as if you weren’t there? With your facial expression, you can be the parent who is clearly welcoming and accepting.
Evaluate your way of thinking
Now let’s think about how we look at people in general. How do we see the decisions or opinions of others? What if other people think completely opposite of how we think? Is that OK? We each fall into our own ways of life, our own belief systems. It’s easy to think we can’t get along with people who have a different way of life or belief system. But this is far from the truth!
In the parenting world, there are so many opinions about so many issues. Food and eating habits, screen time, vaccines, entertainment content…and now we have all the COVID issues to disagree on as well. There are so many ways to disagree, but do we have to highlight our disagreement? Could we not accept that someone thinks differently and that’s OK?
One thing that we can do to support each other as parents is to accept and respect people who don’t think the same way that we do. With all that has gone on in our world recently, we’ve had to open our eyes to a general unwillingness to see something from someone else’s viewpoint. Let’s apply these lessons to our everyday interactions, and be the parents who are happy to listen and learn from others. Let’s be the parents who support other parents in their parenting journeys, even if they look much different from our own.
Think past what you see
When we choose to support each other as parents, it becomes easier to see past what is in front of us. I mentioned that during this changing of seasons, we ourselves can become irritable and stressed out. When we express our irritability, we’d really appreciate some grace from other people. We’d like them to think we’re still decent people, decent parents, even if we lost our cool for a moment, right? Let’s decide to give that grace to other parents as well. Let’s look past what we see, and give someone the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she’s having a rough day. Maybe he didn’t sleep well last night. If you’re brave enough to ask, see how they’re doing. You might find another way to support each other as parents if you take the time to ask.
And you know what? As you support each other as parents, your kids watch and learn to support their peers as well. It really is the basic teaching we give to our kids: be a friend. Let’s live that out as parents too.
My Signing Time is here for you too!
In this crazy season, we have resources to help you. Signing can help with communication, as it creates a safe way for kids to express their feelings. Check out the section on feelings in the Signing Time Dictionary. Need a few minutes to breathe and collect your thoughts? Our programming is fun and educational, so you know your kids will enjoy and receive something beneficial from screen time with My Signing Time. Try out a digital subscription with a 14-day free trial right here!