Sometimes I’m my worst self around my kids. I’m tired, cranky and lash out. It’s ironic because I wouldn’t behave that way in public, or when I’m hanging out with my friends, yet the circumstances where my behavior is being watched as a role model is where I let my guard down.
We can’t be our best self all the time, but I can work to remind myself that how we ACT matters more than how we say to act, because we have little eyes looking up at us for how to behave.

They don’t only watch us for how to behave, they also learn from us and feed off of the energy we give to the world. For my book club we read 1 rule of Jordan B. Peterson’s book 12 Rules For Life and last night we discussed Rule 3 – make friends with people who want the best for you. If we’re friends on Instagram you may have seen my story the other day where I posted a paragraph from this chapter. This “Rule” is something I really believe and often speak about, and I think it can be related to parenting as well.
In our book club discussion we discussed how being in a friendship or relationship with someone who isn’t encouraging, someone who even may encourage your flaws over your strengths can be really draining and perhaps even damaging. In the book he explains, You may think at first you’re helping them by staying in the relationship because you see them as a victim and your role is to help, but it usually doesn’t work that way and you end up losing out more often than they benefit.

You want to surround yourself with people who will challenge you for the better and be genuinely happy for you when you succeed. I would add you want to surround yourself with people who are grateful for their life, who want to contribute to their community and society in a positive way, who want to look at the positives in their life and be thankful for them instead of always focusing on the negatives.

No ones life is perfect. Some have it easier than others, but at the end of the day, every person has a choice for how they will conduct themselves and how they will view their life. It’s a choice to be happy and grateful with what you have, and it’s a choice to give off positive energy.

So what does this have to do with parenting? I think everything.

I’ll give you 2 scenarios.

1) Vanessa wakes up in the morning, says good morning to her kids with a smile on her face. She has breakfast with them and then takes them to school. At school she greets friends happily, tells them she’s looking forward to seeing them at the event that night.

2) Vanessa wakes up in the morning, says good morning and comments how her back hurts from how she slept. She looks out the window and comments on the rain and what a dreary day it is. At school she sees her friends and complains, “Can’t believe we have to go out tonight, I’m so tired and not in the mood.”

Same person, same amount of kids, same situation, different attitude. A child watching scenario 1 receives a different energy then scenario 2.

I’m the first to admit, I’ve been both Vanessa1 and Vanessa2. The reality is our kids watch us and use us as role models for how to behave – how to have casual conversation as you pass someone on the street, how to feel when the weather is horrible, how to react to having to do something out of your routine.

If they ONLY see negative responses they’ll start to feel that negative energy. It rubs off. We have to make sure that we give ourselves a check in “are we encouraging them? Are we focusing on what we DO have and what we should be grateful for and not only on what we’re missing?”

Who you surround yourself with matters. It can weigh you down and be draining or it can push you to be the best version of yourself. Our home is our safe space where we can lose our patience and can be cranky, but we need to remember that we have eyes watching us. So if we’ve lost our patience when it wasn’t warranted, apologize and say you’re going to try to do better. If we are our worst version of ourself on Monday, wake up Tuesday and try to be better. The energy we give them in the morning is the energy they have going into their day.

We are the people they surround themselves with and we want what’s best for them, and we want them to be the type of people that others want to surround themselves with.