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I had a lot of expectations going into parenting, and no matter how much I mentally prepared myself for the job, I don’t think anything I expected has been true thus far. One of the things I never imagined was how many responsibilities I would have.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be a job. I just didn’t realize how much of a job it would be. The main juggle I find myself in is trying to do the best I can, without driving myself insane. There are a lot of expectations on parents, not just from ourselves, but from everyone. With that said, if you are constantly stressed out, it can be that much harder. Below, I am going to cover 10 things you need to give up if you want to be a happier parent.

1. Give up keeping score.

If you are trying to keep score between you and your partner, you will drive yourself insane. Instead, do what you can do, always expect help, and just be wary not to start living tit-for-tat.

2. Stop using force.

It is our job as parents to place limitations on our kids. However, when your child refuses to comply, you might feel the need to force them. Instead of forcing, try to understand why they are bucking up against you.

3. Give up yelling.

You can yell until you are blue in the face, but yelling will get you nowhere. Instead, it will destroy your relationship with your child, and ultimately, it will make life much harder. Try seeking to understand and listening, and if you feel the urge to yell, walk away for a moment.

4. Let go of ‘supposed to.’

We all have this idea of what we thought parenting should be like. Of course, the reality is much different than your expectations. Let go of what is supposed to be, and instead, focus on what it is and work with it.

5. Give up needing to look perfect.

You may feel the need to look perfect. However, I am here to tell you that perfection is overrated. Not only that but it doesn’t exist. You will drive yourself nuts trying to be perfect.

6. Give up one size fits all approaches.

Not every parenting tip will work for you. So, if one approach doesn’t work, do not assume it’s you or your child. It’s more likely that there is another approach that will work.

7. Stop the food fight.

Demanding a certain amount of bites to be taken or that your child has to eat X, Y, and Z will result in a fight. Remember, it’s our job to guide them, so it’s okay if your child simply does not like something. Stop fighting and focus on encouraging them to eat healthy and nutritious food as much as possible.

8. Give up unhealthy self-sacrifice.

There is a major misconception that in order to be a good mom, you have to sacrifice your own happiness. This is NOT true. In fact, your kids need you to be happy and mentally strong, which may sometimes include you taking measures of self-care.

9. Give up one-sided decisions.

This may sound odd because as parents, we are the ones who always have the final say. However, you and your kid will be much happier when you give them a little room to make some choices from time to time. Additionally, this will help your child to make decisions later in life, too.

10. Give up on giving up.

We always hear messages and immediately think we have damaged our kids beyond repair. Remember, you are human, we all make mistakes, and there is always time to do better. Let go of giving up and keep striving to learn and do your best.