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This Year, I Want to Be a Happier Parent, Not Necessarily a "Better" One

This Year, I Want to Be a Happier Parent, Not Necessarily a "Better" One

So often, a new year rolls around, and we parents vow to be better. This is the year we'll finally give our kids the parents they deserve! You know, the one who isn't distracted by her phone, who only serves nutritious snacks, who doesn't lose her patience or raise her voice, who buys expensive memberships to museums, and enrolls them in all the most highly reviewed activities to foster their intellectual development.

I've spent a few years trying to be this "better" parent only to beat myself for not hitting my self-imposed benchmarks of success. It wasn't that I was a bad mom. On the contrary, I was a good mom – with kids who are safe, healthy, fed, and loved – but because I wasn't perfect, I'd failed. There's always next year, right?

Well, this go-around, I'm calling bullshit. It's not enough to "be better." It's not enough to dog-ear every book about positive parenting philosophies and test-drive every kid-friendly veggie-packed lunchbox recipe. It's not enough to delete all the social media apps on our iPhones and practice mindful breathing techniques when our toddlers act out. It's never enough.

Instead of setting myself up to lose a race that doesn't quite exist, I'm determined to focus less on what I can do to be better and more on what I should do to be happier.

Because, really, isn't a happier parent a better one anyway?