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Jeana Lee Tahnk Headshot

Am I Doing This Parenting Thing Right?

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It's an age-old question that moms (and dads, but mostly moms) ask themselves on a daily basis -- am I doing this right? Whether it's about disciplining tactics or sleep training or if the organic cheez-puffs are really that much better for your kids, motherhood to most is a type of training-in-progress, we learn as we go along.

Life as a mom and "CEO" of a household is challenging enough. Throw a career on top of that and you're bound to find a woman who is always stretched, sometimes guilt-ridden and never satisfied. I find that between juggling work, seeking inner peace, wondering if I'm parenting in a way that my kids will need therapy for, and trying to look presentable at the same time, I'm always asking myself this very question.

As moms, we are always making choices, some we are happy with, some not. Do you forgo pursuing the promotion because you know it will inevitably take more time away from your kids? Do you let your baby cry it out so you can get just a couple more minutes of time alone? Do you close your eyes and pretend to be asleep when your husband climbs into bed because after cleaning the house, making lunches and paying the bills, that is the last thing on your mind?

Parenting is about making decisions completely on someone else's behalf. And sometimes, there is no right answer, but merely a process of figuring out what works. What I keep trying to reminding myself is that I'm doing the best that I can with what I know and what I have. I'm not always sure that the decisions I'm making for my kids are the best ones, but some of the ways I have confidence in my parenting is by knowing that I:

  • Put the needs of my kids before my own.
  • Put my needs before my kids', if at least minimally. The old adage, "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" speaks volumes.
  • Feel adequate guilt about something at some point of each day - isn't that inherent to motherhood, for better or for worse?
  • Make decisions that I think will benefit my kids in the long-term and not just the short.
  • Follow through on what I say to them.
  • (Try my hardest to) Retain a sense of humor and keep calm despite complete chaos around me.
  • Am proficient at being on client conference calls and keeping kid noises at bay.
  • Treat the relationship with my husband with equal importance as the relationship with my kids.
  • Am weird with my kids and love to make them laugh.
  • Think about their futures constantly.

I've learned over the years that motherhood is about the moment-to-moment. It's about making the decisions that I think are right at the time and believing in them. I know I'll look back and have regrets about certain ways I handled situations, or things I could have said differently, but it is in the collection of these moments that I define myself.

Millions of women face this challenge head-on and somehow manage to make it work. Whether you're a working mom of three or stay-at-home mom of one, we all share a common bond and can relate to the many joys, hardships and discoveries of raising kids (and husbands!) while still trying to raise ourselves. No one said it would be easy and no one said it would be fun all the time, but what I've learned so far is that a big part of being a good mom is believing, yes, I AM doing this right.

What are some of the ways that give you the confidence to believe that you are doing it right?