I’m a firm believer that lots of different parenting styles can be successful. One persons parenting strengths may include crafts and joint projects and peaceful correction. Someone else may be great at adventuring and exercising.
All these things have value, and the great thing as a parent is that you don’t have to do it all! I feel so much gratitude for all the other adults in my kids’ lives who fill in the gaps of my weaknesses.
I get asked with some regularity how I “do it all,” and my answer is always that I don’t! I’m well aware of my parenting strengths and weaknesses and try not to worry about or bother with the latter very much. It’s easy to look good doing the things you’re good at!
My Parenting Weaknesses
While I don’t want to dwell too much on the things I’m not good at, I did want to mention them so it’s clear that there are plenty of areas where I fall short. I’m 100% the least crafty and/or artistic person you know. While I care deeply about art history, I’m terrible at actually doing the projects. When teaching art in my kids’ classes, I always explain to the students that their projects will undoubtedly look better than mine. They never believe me until I actually start to demonstrate!
I’m also terrible at single-tasking (I’m trying to improve by carving out dedicated time to focus on each of my kids), am not very patient, and struggle with finding joy in the process (e.g., the mess). I am abysmal at playing with them, and can be too harsh with both expectations and consequences. I’m learning!
(Also, I wrote this post nearly 8 years ago and it’s fun to see how it compares, and how not all that much has changed from when I just had two tiny kids.)
5 Parenting Strengths
That said, I have some parenting strengths where I feel like I do a pretty good job. Instead of worrying too much about the weaknesses (though I’m trying to improve on ones like patience), I really try to focus on leveraging my mom strengths. Here are 5 of them, and I’d love to hear in the comments what yours are!
Teaching & Distilling Diverse Information
I love researching and synthesizing large amounts of information and distilling it into a kid-friendly format and language. Teaching is truly one of my favorite parts of parenting. I especially love discussing things like history/government, world cultures (the Global Children’s Book Club and the associate activities are perfect for this!), art history, and math & science. It’s just so darn fun for me to see their brains making connections and understanding new information. Teaching my kids to read is truly one of my favorite parts of being a parent!
I think this extends to teaching my kids skills. I’ve been pretty good about teaching them not only academics, but also life skills like cleaning toilets, making dinner, and independent play. I also enjoy sourcing the resources for them to learn on their own, including diverse literature and other materials. It’s important to me to include a wide variety of resources, and I love providing those opportunities for them to learn and grow through many avenues and perspectives.
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Adventuring Near & Far
I love getting out and exploring! And in a lot of ways, it feels less stressful to me than the chaos, noise, and mess at home. I’m good about making lists of things to do both in our area or out on trips, and actually making them happen.
I also genuinely enjoy traveling with my kids. I love seeing them light up learning about different places around the world.
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Limiting Screen Time
Honestly, screen time has very little appeal for me because the costs rarely seem to outweigh the benefits. We watch a movie as a family on Friday nights, and my kids are allowed to read e-books on their Kids Kindle or on their school Chromebooks (very helpful with our libraries still closed). On rare occasions, we’ll turn on some sort of baking show while folding laundry, but that’s about the extent of our screen time.
For us, I find that my kids are MORE grouchy and needy afterwards, and it’s usually a hassle to turn off the screen. So for us, it feels like more effort than it’s worth, but I don’t judge others for having more screen time one bit!
Discipline & Follow Through
This is probably partially a parenting strength and partially a weakness. I’m good at sticking to my guns with things like meals, natural consequences, music practice, etc. That also means I can be a bit overly rigid. Still, overall, it’s helpful for all of us to have clear expectations.
I’m also organized and good at sticking to a schedule (though can get stressed when things don’t go according to plan, which is often).
I’m a big believer that we can all choose to be interested in most aspects of life. “Bored” is the one word my kids know will not fly in our home, and that it’s up to them to develop curiosity and interest. I love discussing with them as real people who are able to think and engage. Expecting them to engage and contribute has really helped foster their curiosity in the world.
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There you go – 5 things I’m good at as a parent, recognizing that there are plenty of other areas that are not my parenting strengths. I’d love to hear some of yours in the comments!