Since I began blogging — and teaching online courses — one question has driven every single word I’ve written, every single word I’ve uttered and every single idea I’ve passed along to other parents.
What do you want your parenting legacy to be?
Do you want it to be that you were tied to the kitchen sink washing dishes?
Do you want it to be that your kid has to keep repeating your name over and over just to get your attention?
Do you want it to be that you worked more than you lived?
These questions are important because I strongly believe these moments are the ones that stand out for children. When you think about your own childhood and your own parents, what stands out?
So, your parenting legacy …
Is it to be the change you wish to see in the world?
Is it to be fun?
Is it to be creative? Or kind? Or patient? Or adventurous?
In the meantime, I believe there are five radical steps you can take right now, at this very second to change the legacy path you are on (unless you are on the one you want to be on … and then, carry on!).
5 Radical Ways to Transform your Parenting Legacy right now
Get off the sidelines
Stop watching. Stop waiting around for the stars to align or more money or more time … and just do what you need to do to be happy and filled up with joy. Be a part of the action. Get out from behind the camera. Laugh. Feel. Love. In fact, leave the camera in the other room when you play that crazy game of charades.
Stop listening to your parents
They had their way. You have yours. Times have changed. A lot. So if their way rubs you wrong, puts knots in your stomach or gives you a feeling of less than … tell them kindly, “Thank you but no thank you. I’m going to try things my way this time.”
Make your own rules
Turns out, I love helping families create their own legacies. This is my gift in life. I had no idea until this past year. But creating your own family rules and values is empowering. We must forge our own path and live more authentically by establishing our own rhythms, systems, rituals and traditions.
Do what feels good for you
It saddens me to hear of moms giving up things they love because they read a parenting book that makes them feel guilty for it. Since I feel that being a happy mom is essential to raising happy, thriving kids, I need to make sure I put myself first. This means doing what feels good for me. When my kids see me doing what I love, they pick up on that love and feel the goodness, too. And, same goes for their interests. I have learned amazing things by following what they love.
Start a gratitude practice
Once you can get through a temper tantrum — yours or your child’s — and still feel grateful for this life, you know you’re making big changes. A gratitude practice is the best way to transform how you are speaking and living as a family. It will change the way you see your role as a mother and it will transform how you handle the big problems in life.