Photo by Wyat L. Taylor
I’ve been spending time this summer reflecting on my personal family values. Why? In large part, it’s because I want to openly acknowledge that there are many ways to be a good parent. And I can only be a good mom if I know what values and ideals are most important to me.
If I can’t keep that focused vision in mind, my home life tends to devolve pretty quickly. I tend to glut myself on parenting research and comparisons to others, then self-shame because I’m going about life “all wrong.” Or I fall into crisis mode, doing nothing more than surviving the day. I’m not a mom so much as a warden, steering the kids away from bad choices and inappropriate behavior. It’s simultaneously boring and exhausting… and really not the way I want to spend my kiddos’ ever-dwindling years at home.
Here are some journal questions I use periodically to help me reflect and refocus on what’s important to me as a parent. Perhaps they can help you, as well!
- How would I, personally, define good parenting?
- Who are some good parents, teachers, or other caregivers I know? Which of their qualities and/or practices would I like to emulate?
- Who are some good families I admire? What qualities do they exhibit that I want my own family to share?
- What do I want people to observe when they see me with my family?
- If a miracle occurred and all the anxiety and stress in my life were suddenly gone, what would my family life look like? How would it change?
- Pretend money is no object. What would you do with your family?
- When do I feel like my best parenting self? List several memories or situations. What do they all have in common?
- What memories do I want my grown children to have of this time in our lives?
- How do I want my grown children to remember my parenting?
- What qualities do I want my adult children to exhibit? What values do I want their daily lives to embody?