Hitting Your Parenting Stride

Eliza Clark
September 11, 2016

September can be a rocky time for families.  No matter how well we try to prepare for the school year, re-entry is always tricky.  There are all of those beginning-of-the-year meetings and get-togethers, and everyone is adjusting to new environments, schedules and routines.  Come January all of this will seem like old hat, and we'll be able to walk through the weekly schedule in our sleep (not literally, although I've come close!).  But for now we stumble along, wondering when we'll begin to hit our stride.

So what does it mean to hit your stride as a parent?  What does that even feel like, one might ask?

We've been giving that question some thought during this bumpy back-to-school period, and here is what we're aspiring to:

You have hit your stride as parent when:

  • You are anticipating needs rather than reacting to them (i.e. packing your kid a snack for the trip home from school rather than dealing with a hunger meltdown).
  • You know whom to call for help when.  Be it your network of parent friends, a list of trusted babysitters, family members in the area, your pediatrician, a handy-person, a school administrator, neighbors, etc., you have people you can turn to when you need a hand (because every parent does).
  • You have your life organized such that you know who's doing what when, and where the necessary equipment can be found (Shin guards? Soccer ball? Team Jersey? Got 'em.).
  • You have enough time for yourself and your spouse as well as for the kids (this may seem laughable now, but we'll get there!).
  • You have the wherewithal to help out other parents with advice as well as give hands-on assistance.
  • You've put together a weekly schedule that balances everyone's needs.
  • You don't get too thrown off by the children's ups and downs.
  • You are able to plan ahead for family outings and/or vacations you've been wanting to take.
  • You consistently get through your morning and evening routines with ease and relative efficiency (okay, "ease" might be overly ambitious).
  • You have a vision for your family in the form of a school-year mission statement or simply a shared understanding about how your family does things.

And the best thing about hitting your stride after a rough patch?  If you stumble (and you will, you're a parent), you've learned how to get right back up again.

From the Parents

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