The One Fool Proof Way to Win at Parenting (Seriously)

The One Fool Proof Way to Win at Parenting (Seriously)

Posted on November 07, 2017


You didnít realize parenting was a competition? I guess you probably havenít been on Facebook or Instagram anytime in the last...forever. Even within your own household, there are some things your spouse does way better than you and youíd really like to defeat them at it one of these days.

Whether you grew up around Indiana or not, our cultural Midwestern sensibilities simultaneously make us incredibly competitive and hyper humble. So we find ourselves silently striving to be the best. At everything.

So I promised to give you the single-most effective parenting hack out there, and here it is:

Get personally healthy.

...wait a second...that canít be right, right? Weíre supposed to make our kids our number one priority!

A few years ago in our series, A New Kind of Parent, Dave Rodí stressed how critical it is for parents to be personally healthy. In that message, Dave posited that if you arenít healthy, your children wonít be either. Not only that, but if you have lost your soul, then donít be surprised when your children do. Ouch.

At the time, I didnít have kids (now I have two, see how cute they are below). This message seemed like a real Jesus juke, promising parenting advice but then just saying ďget your spiritual ducks in a row.Ē I was hoping for something along the lines of ďhow to potty train your child before he turns oneĒ or ďhow to get your kids to love vegetables.Ē Instead, I heard that wholistic self-care for moms and dads is the best way to raise good kids.

Take care of yourself first.

I thought we were never supposed to put ourselves first!

But, itís true: first, we must prioritize our own health over that of our kids. Itís like when the flight attendant tells you in case of an air emergency to put your own oxygen mask on first, then help your child. No one argues with that.

You are not your child.†

In addition to that, we have to stop tying our personal wellbeing to the condition of our children. Again, this is pretty countercultural. But youíre not your child. Youíve got to remember that. Your kids are going to make their own decisions. Some of them will be bad. If you only live vicariously through your children, when they mess up youíre going to be a hot mess yourself.

Commit to ongoing self-care.

Who you are inside and what you do with your life are essential to your overall health. Parents with healthy character and clear calling get it right. Developing healthy character involves ongoing practices like self-denial, working on moral integrity and daily surrendering to God. Aspects of clear calling include practicing things like generosity, justice and mercy, and regularly engaging in authentic community. Dave describes these practices (and more) in the message.

I triple-dog dare you.†

If youíre skeptical like I was, I dare you to give these things a try. Seriously. I dare you. Combining all these practices at the same time may be realistically impossible (because who has the time), so maybe start with the easiest one for you. Then slowly sprinkle in the remaining activities into your life, one at a time. Better yet, find someone you look up to in the parenting arena and ask her to take you under her wing. Iíve found that Iím at my best as a parent when Iím healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

What youíll find as you continue to build acts of wholistic self-care into your daily routine is that when youíre healthy, youíll be an awesome parent. And awesome parents win parenting.