How to be the best parent

Some of us wonder how to be a good parent or even how to be the best parent. What does that mean? Chantelle shares her quest on how to be a better parent. 

Before I had kids, I was absolutely positive I was going to be THE best parent. Not that there is a gold medal in parenting, but when it came to being the perfect parent, I was pretty sure I had it in the bag. After all, I was well practiced. I'd been babysitting since I was ten, and I'd been a nanny to over 15 kids. Surely I knew exactly how to be the best parent. Right?

My quest on how to be the best parent started when I was pregnant. I read books, watched documentaries, and even collected recipes on how to make organic food purees. I researched educational toys, and bought the best ones I could afford. I stocked up on cloth nappies. I even bought sight cards so that I could teach my little one sign language before she was one. I was armed and ready and knew exactly how to be the best parent.

I can remember the moment I gave birth to my daughter just like it was yesterday. As I write this, all the emotions and feelings come back to me. The midwife placed her little body into my arms, and I cried. Oh boy, did I cry. I looked at my husband, and he was sobbing too. Even though we were just seconds into the parenting game, I couldn't have imagined how it would feel or how life would change.

Instantly we felt vulnerable, and a staggering sense of responsibility washed over us. We were now parents and had the huge responsibility of not only keep our tiny little daughter alive and healthy but we also had to help her thrive, and blossom as well. Being a parent was and still is the biggest task we’ve ever been given.

kids playing while parent rests

The months after giving birth are a bit of blur now, but I remember them to be sleep-deprived, and involving a lot of second guessing on how to be a good parent or how to be a better parent. Was she warm enough? Could she still be hungry? Do I have enough milk for her? Should I wrap her? Why, oh why, is she still crying?

In those early years, I didn't end up teaching her sign language, and I sold the cloth nappies after only using one of them. She preferred the cheap toys over the expensive educational ones that I'd spent so long researching, and I don't think she’s ate more than one organic meal in her whole life.

The years have since flown by, and she's now nine years of age, and has a three year old sister. As a mother of two beautiful girls, I can say that I didn’t need to read a manual on how to be a good parent, or watch countless documentaries on how to be a better parent, or spend a fortune buying fancy things. The best gift I could have and can continue to give my girls is my time, my attention, my support, my presence, and most of all, my love.

How to be the best parent is as simple, and as complicated as unconditional love.

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