Sometimes we just need someone to tell us we’re doing ok. Here is some wisdom from other mums and dads to reassure you when doubts kick in.
Your friend’s baby is sleeping all night and yours is still up every two hours. Another mum makes all her baby’s food from scratch but your cupboards are stacked with pouches. Your little cherub is climbing all over the teacher instead of sitting for song time at playgroup.
There are no annual reviews or bonus schemes in parenting. So it’s easy to wonder how you measure up. Here’s how other mums and dads of little ones know when they’re doing ok.
Laughter is the best medicine
“If we’ve giggled together just once (even for a few seconds) I can count it as a good day.”
Loren, mum to Florence, 18 months.
“If it’s been a tough day, I’ll stick on some music after tea and lead a silly dance around the kitchen. It always ends in hysterical laughter. I look at them and think: actually, I’m not the worst mum in the world after all.”
Katy, mum to Lyla, two years and Rex, 19 months.
Look at the bigger picture
“If I think back to those first few crazy weeks, I feel really proud of what we’ve achieved. We’ve got a happy, healthy, thriving six month old. We must be doing something right.”
Ben, dad to Max, six months.
“Sometimes the days can feel really long. But when we get to the end of the week I take stock. Have we been outside? Have we played some games? Seen a friend? Had some fun? If the answer is yes to most, I count it as a job well done.”
Hayley, mum to Ella, 15 weeks.
“Some days she eats nothing and I feel like I’m doing a terrible job. But then I look at her food intake over a week, and all the new foods she’s tried. I can see we’re actually not doing badly at all.”
Francesca, mum to Bella, 18 months.
You (usually) know best
“Recently my toddler had a tantrum in public and I received opposing advice from different people. I think that means my parenting is somewhere in the middle and probably ok.”
Sian, mum to Dylan, 23 months.
“My family are full of well-meaning advice about my baby. ‘She’s over-tired/not tired enough/hungry/windy’. If I carry on with what I was about to do and she responds... I feel like, yes, I can read her signs. It is SO gratifying that I really do know my baby better than anyone.”
Sarah, mum to Ruby, nine weeks.
“I’m not sure you ever know if you’re doing a good job. But I would say it’s when I feel comfortable with what I’m doing in my gut. If I’ve ever done something because I think I ‘should’ I feel less confident in my parenting. I have to believe in what I’m doing.”
Allie, mum to Annabel, 20 months.
Don’t sweat it
“Nobody really knows if they’re doing a good job. So long as they turn out to be half decent human beings, you’re on to a winner.”
Jessica, mum to Holly, 12 months.
“If you believe your children feel safe and loved you’re smashing it. When you go the bed feeling you’ve done your best and given all you could that day, that’s it, you’ve got it.”
Annie, mum to Eleanor, 16 months.
Take the small wins
“When a stranger tells you what lovely children you have. That does it for me. It might be the only five minutes they’ve cooperated that day. But it always makes me think, yep we’re doing ok.”
Sharon, mum to Archie, four years, and Fraser, 11 months.
“At soft play the other day, a little girl fell over and was crying. William stopped and gave her a little pat on the head, as if to say ‘you’re ok’. I’ve never felt so proud. I might actually be raising a child who can show empathy. Who’d have thought it?”
Roz, mum to William, 22 months.
Love is all you need
“Matthew can’t say ‘I love you’. But he gives me spontaneous hugs that are everything.”
Cat, mum to Matthew, 19 months.
“After a day of tears and tantrums, my girl always wants a cuddle and a book from me. Even though I didn’t let her take a courgette to nursery.”
Amy, mum to Lyra, 22 months.
“When my older boy helps my younger one, I feel so proud. And when they wake up in the morning and give me cuddles I feel like actually, I’m winning at this.”
Lucy, mum to Sammy, four years and Jack, 11 months.
It’s just about survival (and possibly wine)
“When you only need a glass of wine rather than the bottle to recover from the day…”
Aleisha, mum to Jameela, 18 months.
“If the kids are fed, clean(ish) and asleep at the end of the day, that’s a job well done. High fives all round.”
Adam, dad to Charley, three years and Ronnie, 20 months.
So there you have it. This parenting job? You’ve got it. Cue high fives, pats on the back, a pat on the head and three rounds of incy wincy spider. How celebrations have changed, eh?
This page was last reviewed in February 2019
For more advice and ideas when it comes to all aspects of parenting, see our other articles on parenting styles, such as our one on the most popular styles and how to identify yours, through to how to raise my child to be happy, confident and considerate.
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