There’s not much about in parenting articles to get you feeling good about the wonderful things you are doing as a parent. Do you ever get the feeling you’re missing something about parenting? Like you missed the first session of Parenting 101. That lesson where they told you about all the good things?

Feeling good about your parenting is as much about recognizing celebration in the little things, as much as making a big deal about the big things.

I read a blog the other day from ‘Daily Om’ about the idea of “special occasion mentality” – Honouring Everyday Life by Madison Taylor. She wrote,

It’s interesting to think what it would mean to us if we let ourselves wear our best clothes and eat off our good china on a daily basis. We might be sending ourselves the message that every day we are alive is a special day and a cause for celebration, and that we are worth it. There is something uplifting about treating ourselves to the finest of what we have.

Why do we leave our best china or that expensive bottle of wine for a “special occasion” when you can consider every day as a blessing – something to revel in and make important. Why not break open that champagne to have with beans and toast this evening because you never know what tomorrow may bring.

Have you ever considered that in relation to your parenting? I bet you made much of your child’s first milestones – smiles, walks, talking, and of course birthdays. And then there are other milestones such as first day of school, leaving home, etc. You know those milestones and it is tradition to celebrate them. Those are your “best china” moments. You are perhaps better at recognizing your child’s little moments than your own.

Recognising the Little Things

The little things of parenting can easily be lost in the minutiae of everyday life as they are minutiae themselves.

Did you think about celebrating the first time you didn’t turn to Google for analysis of the latest rash? When instead you turned to your experience and instinct and made a reasoned decision about its cause and treatment yourself?

What about the time you told the family member/distant relative/stranger on the street that their opinion about your parenting may be valid, but not something you are interested in hearing right now? Instead, you looked at your little one and knew what they needed in that moment was a hug/raggy/their red lego piece and that person giving advice could never know that?

The little things are a lot of little steps made day after day of parenting, of being completely connected to and involved in your child’s being. It is day after day of learning and listening and laughing. Of those “ah-ha” moments when something connects and you realize you’re not doing so badly after all.

Parenting milestones are different from your child’s milestones. Theirs are about gaining independence and awareness of the world. Yours are about letting go and trusting yourself in preparing them for the world.

Theirs are about pushing boundaries, taking risks, and learning their limits. Yours are about celebrating successful loving limits, allowing freedom and being there without judgment when they’ve pushed too far.

Celebrating the little things of parenting is like a shot of coffee at the beginning of a night shift; it is a boost to keep you going. A lot of parenting is routine and boring and hard. You are confronted by clichéd quotes about “savoring the moment” and how the “days are long but the years are short” when you’re knee-deep in every day of parenting. Savor the moment? Take every day as precious? Some days you’re happy to just survive.

Of course there is joy. Of course there is fulfillment. Recognizing that in relation to your children is second nature, that’s how they survive being toddlers. Amongst the tantrums, they are so darn cute and they smile in a most adorable way and smell so delicious after a bath.

What is the equivalent in relation to your parenting? What is your everyday “best china” parenting celebration? The fact you survived another day, still in love with them? The fact you made a decision based on what felt right rather than what everyone else was doing? The fact you got them to school today clean and fed and smiling? Or was it the moment you realized you were actually somebody’s mother!

Perhaps your best china moment was when you realized you were recreating your most pleasurable and comforting childhood moments with your own children, to the same effect? Or perhaps on the other end of the parenting spectrum, your ‘best china’ moment is realizing you are breaking away from the way you were parented and creating a more loving and stable childhood for your children, which you never had?

Parenting comes in all shapes and sizes. At the bottom of the laundry to be folded, under the pile of reports still to be written, behind the dresser with the cobwebs, broken toy and half-eaten biscuit are the gems of parenting. The little nuggets of parenting gold that often are left unrecognized and uncelebrated.

Break out the champagne and polish the silver, tonight you’re celebrating – cheers to you and your successful parenting – it’s the little things!

Photo credit: unsplash-logoBrandless

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