Whatever you would have your children become, strive to exhibit in your own lives and conversation – Lydia H. Sigourney
Celebrities can inspire us to outperform ourselves or shake our confidence in our self-image depending on which point you are in the emotional roller coaster of life.
Typically, what you have achieved up until that point and your particular tendencies determine which way you will swing.
Nearly everyone I know has experienced both ends of emotions and celebrity envy at some point in our lives. No one is immune to these feelings and we secretly doubt those who claim that they are.
Even if we gained enough self-confidence from our own life experiences, achievements and move on, we may find ourselves in a familiar rut further on in life i.e. when we feel that we had not achieved as much as the celebrity in question, we feel resentful.
Ironically, these emotions are what makes us hooked to celebrity news. Even as folks we know and have a personal connection to go through the same milestones – fall in love or have babies – we do not follow their news as eagerly as we follow those of celebrities. Our very own minds trick us into believing that celebrities are our lovers and our social intimates.
These were my experiences when I started following celebrity moms and dads in preparation for this article and a few others in the pipeline. I’m usually quite good with holding my own fort – I admire certain celebs for what they have achieved in their careers but I have never idolized any and I’m in too much of a hurry to spend any time in the mirror.
Nevertheless, in the beginning, going through these pictures of beautiful celebrities who look incredible after childbirth regardless of what ages they were, I confess that I was guilty of both concluding too quickly that they seemed to have it easy and making up excuses to avoid working out (and my son is turning 3).
Like a good journalist, I suppressed my instinctive behavior and opinions, and continued swiping celebrity posts with a keen eye and humble wish for learning. As parents, celebrities must be doing some things right that we can emulate to become better parents ourselves.
By the time I understood their consistent behaviors at a deeper level, I was able to overcome my own experiences of self-doubt as an individual, and derive patterns of their parenting behavior. These are what I picked up from my celebrity watch.
Parenting is damn hard so focus on yourself
Focus on what you must do not on the noise
Set benchmarks for yourself and humbly admit to mistakes
Set up parenting goals you can instrument
Be open to sharing, don’t pass judgments and accept help from your tribe
Parenting is damn hard so focus on yourself
Having a child is life changing. No matter how you came about to becoming a parent, you leave your self on a shelf the moment you take on board responsibility for this little human being.
You will lose sleep and you will wonder if you will ever sleep through the night again.
You had been so sure of yourself before, but whenever your brain takes a momentary pause, you will vividly imagine the worst accidents that can happen to your child.
No parenting book or article written by so-called experts can ever prepare you for the exhaustion, the anxiety or the desperate moments when no parenting tip worked.
You don’t see the humor in remarks that babies have milk teeth in order to learn all they can about falling, even if you had uttered those remarks yourself once upon a time.
You give your all to your child, and if you were both in a plane that was about to crash you will make sure you child gets the mask first – and as moms we know you’ll most likely die fighting to keep that mask on.
Parenting is just so hard and takes so much out of you that the only way to keep going is to take breaks (by accepting help or valium from others) and shift some of your waking moments to focus on yourself.
Bring your child along to playdates of other friends with young children so you can focus on having conversations and laughing again.
Or leave your child(ren) with people you trust and head out. I have observed among so many Japanese households where the moms stay at home to care for the children, that the dads tend to babysit on Sundays so that moms get to go out with girlfriends for brunch, tea or glasses of shiro (white) wine.
Have a babysitter over while you and your partner go out on a date. Or if you have survived the tumultuous early childhood years you deserve to shuffle your children over to a sleepover and settle down to a quiet dinner with your partner.
Buy something for yourself and give your toddler the box so the both of you are happy.
Put on makeup, indulge in a spa package that expires within six months so you must head out at a fixed time each week. Work out by yourself, in a class or with a personal trainer if you need the extra push.
I didn’t use to understand the business model behind so many spas, beauty and nail salons but now I can easily imagine why they would and should appeal to any mom.
Just think about it, who would you rather your child idolize? A glowing, lush you to appear in every Instagrammable post with, or you with pale, blotchy skin, eyebags and hair that’s never been let down?
Focus on what you must do not on the noise
Whether you like it or not, you will get advice that are of good intentions, ill-timed or are pure judgmental.
Retain the valuable advice and brush aside comments that are rude, hurtful and ignorant.
Lots of people who are right beside you don’t care to observe what you do or have an inkling to what you are about to do. They just want to hear their own voice and you’ll have plenty of chatting to entertain once your toddler starts uttering toddlerish.
Unless the people are friends or family who are intimately familiar with your personality and habits, the rest can be safely ignored.
Set benchmarks for yourself and humbly admit to your mistakes
Whichever parent is highly involved with the child will naturally set objectives and goals for the child.
While you do that how about setting some benchmarks for yourself as well.
Go down memory lane to your days when you were a child and recall what went wrong and what went well.
What had your parents done that you will never do and make mental notes.
We are only human and bound to re-walk in the footsteps of our parents, in particular the threads that we didn’t like when we were children.
When you make a misstep despite all of your reflections, admit that you were wrong and move on.
Announce your “mistake” to your partner or caretaker as well to help them become better carers for your child. They help to keep you accountable.
Now, how does that work?
The first time I misunderstood my son’s cries for something else the guilt nagged me for a long time afterward.
But if I had not decided that I was wrong and was not going to repeat the same mistake (I’ll try to stay sober for this to work), I will easily repeat the same mistake over and over and yes then that is psychologically damaging to my son.
Set parenting goals that you can instrument
Pink’s objectives for Jameson Moon, 15 months, and Willow Sage, 6½, are to help her kids grow up strong emotionally and physically
These are character attributes of Pink as we know her and we imagine are strong values to Pink herself, growing up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania to parents who divorced when she was ten. Pink has said, “I was extreme. I went through phases from skateboarder, to hip-hopper, to rave child, to lead singer in a band. I did it all, and all at the same time.” Her life experiences made her strong and strength in character was what made her a survivor and ultimately, one of the world’s best-selling music artists with over 40 million albums and 50 million singles worldwide.
Be open to sharing, don’t pass judgements and accept help from your tribe
You don’t have to force your opinions on anyone but if any fellow mom asks, be confident to share your experience and what worked for you.
What worked for your child may not work for her child at that point in time, but you and her will never know when this tip will be useful.
There is no straight line in parenting and there is no black and white either.
Your child may refuse a bottle today but over time under gentle encouragement he or she will accept it and you can stop the spoon-feeding, one big step for mankind!
The more sharing takes place within a community, the stronger that community is.
Help your friends and even strangers in your community groups become better moms and dads.