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The “should’s” and “ought to’s” of the parenting world can be overwhelming. Reading the latest books, tips, and ideas for being an A+ parent are often great ideas, but let’s be honest there are times when you don’t feel like it sometimes.

It may feel shameful to admit, but I know there are many people who have been in this place. Whether it’s due to depression, being totally overwhelmed, or exhaustion, sometimes you just don’t have the “want to” in you.

If you’re experiencing a lack of motivation in your parenting journey, these 5 tips can help when you don’t feel like it:

Lower your expectations

Setting yourself up for failure will always bring you to a lower place. If you’re in the middle of a hard time, lowering your expectations can help. I have to admit that my perfectionism has come out many times with parenting, but over the years, I have learned that I have to let some things go. Planning a perfect birthday, summer experiences, or even dinner can feel like too much sometimes. Help yourself win by giving yourself grace and lower expectations of yourself in a season of struggle.

Practice Good Self-Care

This is one of those “don’t feel like it” things when you aren’t in a good place, but neglecting this will pull you down even further. Self-care doesn’t have to be doing an hour workout or eating completely healthy. Self-care can be “some” exercise like a 10 minute walk, reading your Bible, talking to a trusted friend about your struggle, or sitting outside breathing in silence for a few minutes. Once you start doing this a little bit, it can fuel you to do just a little more.

Ask for help

Since we are not superheros, we NEED help sometimes. There is nothing bad, wrong, or weak about asking for help. It is actually an act of good self-care! When you don’t have it in you to do what you need to do as a parent, leaning on someone to help you pick up the pieces will make a difference.

Don’t isolate yourself

Make sure you haven’t distanced yourself from positive relationships when you are going through a rough time. Feeling lonely will make your low even worse. Community and companionship- even if you don’t feel like it- areĀ  important to force yourself through for the sake of your kids and you.

Stop Comparing

Sometimes seeing the “perfect” parent on social media makes you feel worse. If you’re walking through a hard time, it’s a good idea to take a break from social media to stop the comparison game. Seeing someone “winning” as a parent can magnify the feeling that you are losing. Remember that everyone’s circumstances are different, so you can’t really do a fair comparison by what you see on the surface.

When you’re drowning from the should’s and ought to’s of the parenting world around you, I hope these 5 tips will help you keep your head above water. Periods of depression in life are common and have an impact on your parenting, but these tips can make it less intense.

What have you done in a hard time to keep yourself going?