Be Your Own Valentine!
Parent Circle|February 2017

Note to parents: Enough with the self-judgement and guilt trips! Take these 17 vows to fall in love with yourself and rediscover the real ‘you’ this Valentine’s Day.

Aekta Kapoor

Guilt is the most pervasive and treacherous side effect of urban parenting.

• Guilt if you work outside of the house – you feel guilty for not being there with a big smile for your children when they come back from school

• Guilt if you work at home (and housework is work) – you feel guilty for not using your talents and making money when your brood’s expenses are growing faster than them

• Guilt if you go out on a date night with your spouse without the children

• Guilt if you go on a work trip abroad and must leave your children with your mom Well, we collect guilt like air miles every year – and it’s just as useless because they expire before you can do anything with them. Guilt drains your energy and has no proven benefit. Well, with Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to let go. So, take these 17 vows for a guilt-free celebration.

1 THOU SHALL PRIORITISE

Avoid guilt by being clear about your priorities. Work, children, spouse, parents, housework, friends, relatives, bills, fitness, relaxation, entertainment – write down all the things that demand your attention, and then prioritise them according to their importance. A tantrum-throwing child yelling on the phone, or your boss glaring at you during a board meeting in office? Old parents who demand you visit them, or a cranky spouse who wants to go out for a movie? Life is full of difficult decisions but we can make it easier by knowing our priorities and then sticking to them.

2 THOU SHALL PLAN IN ADVANCE

This is a simple way to avoid the last-minute rush and the never-ending guilt. Iron the school uniforms and do preparations for breakfast and lunch the night before. Synchronise a calendar of school events and social evenings with your spouse on Google. Let your boss know you have a parent–teacher meeting coming up this week. Think of parenting like a free time management workshop – alright, it’s more expensive. So, make it count.

3 THOU SHALL NOT COMPARE

We suffer when reality does not match up to our expectations. Setting high standards for yourself is fine, but it’s a recipe for disaster if you constantly compare your loved ones and life situations with others. Who says your son must be the top scorer in the class, or your spouse be the best-looking person at a party. Your life is beautiful exactly the way it is.

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