It’s time to embrace messy parenting

In this podcast (episode #494) and blog, I talk about embracing “messy” parenting.

We all know that parenting is hard. As parents, we will make mistakes. We are only human, after all! 

As parents and guardians, it is important that we give ourselves permission to be what I call “messy”. This means embracing our feelings and mistakes and learning from them, using them to grow and learn as parents. It means using our own struggles to help our children understand how to manage the “messiness” and challenges of life through example and open communication. Indeed, one of the best ways we can teach our children how to manage their mental health is by modeling how we deal with life’s difficulties, including how we parent them and how we embrace, process and manage our own mistakes.

As I mention in my upcoming book on children and mental health,  How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Messwhich is now available for preorder, good parenting means taking time to manage our own mental health. We have needs, emotions and feelings, and to truly be there for our children, to really show up for them when they need us, we should take care of ourselves as well. Our wellbeing is as important as theirs—we can’t have one without the other!

Parenting is not just about sacrificing ourselves. We cannot be a good parent if we feel drained, overwhelmed and stressed all the time. Children pick up on our emotions and behaviors. If we are not feeling great, then neither will they. So, we shouldn’t feel guilty taking the time to focus on ourselves when we feel we need it. When we are in a better place mentally and physically, we will have the strength, patience and time to better care for our children and help them learn to regulate their own thoughts, feelings and emotions. 

It is also important to remember that no one can truly prepare us for all the things that come with parenting. We can read a thousand parenting books and do a lot of research, but, at the end of the day, our experience as a parent will be unique. One of the worst things we can do as parents is to compare ourselves to other parents, even the ones we read about in books or articles. Not only is this demoralizing, it can also lead to a lot of bitterness and resentment if left unmanaged. Yes, we can learn from others and turn to them for support and advice when needed, but we should avoid the temptation to “cookie cut” their experiences onto our own.

When it comes to raising children, there is no how-to manual that will help us become perfect parents who never make mistakes and never mess up. The conversation on how to be a better parent is a never ending one, and a lot of parenting is based on experience, even when our children grow up and leave the home! This is why we should embrace, not run away from, “messy” parenting. If we try to hide from or suppress our emotions and missteps, we will never learn from them or grow as parents.    

This starts with embracing how we feel in the moment, not feeling guilty for having normal human emotions. In many of my podcasts, blogs and books, I mention the importance of validating our children's feelings, but this doesn’t mean we should overlook or forget to validate our own emotions as well. Acknowledging how we feel is the first step in managing and processing these feelings. When we validate our emotions, we become more aware of our thoughts and how they are showing up in our life, which is the first step to true and lasting change! If we don’t embrace how we feel, or if we try to suppress our emotions, they can end up exploding and affecting our mental health and relationships. 

Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if we feel completely overwhelmed. So, if this feels like you, I want you to take a deep breath and remind yourself of a few things: “I love my children and want the best for them, but I sometimes make mistakes. I cannot be helpful to my child if I hold on to my anger or guilt. It is okay to make mistakes, as they are opportunities to learn how to manage my own emotions and teach my children how to do the same.” Tell yourself this every morning when you wake up, or when you are feeling stressed out! Practice being kind to yourself in the same way you want to be kind to your child, help them embrace their own feelings and mistakes, and encourage other parents to do the same. 

I also want you to remind yourself that even though parenting is a huge part of your life, it is not all that you are. It does not determine your entire worth as an individual.

Lastly, remember that you too are someone's child! This means that you have your own baggage to deal with, which can impact you as a parent. You have the right to work on this without feeling guilty because most parents try their best with the knowledge they have at the time. This is not a blame game; rather, it is about honoring what your parents went through as well as working on the impact their mistakes had on you. When you do this, you will be better able to embrace your own mistakes as a parent and help your child understand what it looks like to accept that life is “messy” while knowing that this “messiness” doesn’t define us or determine our worth. 

For more on parenting and children’s mental health, listen to my podcast (episode #494). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).  

Preorder my new book How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess before August 7th, 2023 to receive exclusive bonuses, including access to a 1-hour webinar + Q&A session on back-to-school tips and strategies to help your child mentally prepare for the year ahead! You can preorder here.    

This podcast is sponsored by:  

Purity Woods. Their mission is to provide people with the cleanest and most effective healthy aging and longevity products available. All of their products are USDA certified organic, non-GMO, free of anything artificial, free of toxic preservatives and synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers and dyes, parabens, and of course it’s cruelty free and never tested on animals. Plus they are so easy to use, even when you are on the go or traveling! Purity Woods’s products leverage the wonders of a revolutionary ingredient: maple leaf extract. Maple leaves contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants and hydrating properties, which can help soothe irritated or inflamed skin while also plumping, brightening and nourishing it. I personally love their Age-Defying Dream Cream—it is a really game changer! It makes me look and feel like I have jumped back years in time. Its powerful formula contains revolutionary maple leaf extracts plus over 25 unique and potent ingredients that help eliminate fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and uneven skin tone. Turn back time on the appearance of your skin with Purity Woods’s Age-Defying Dream Cream! Go to or enter code DRLEAF at checkout for 10% off your first order. 

Podcast Highlights

1:20 Why we should embrace “messy” parenting

2:50 What “messy” parenting means

5:00 Constructive versus destructive parenting 

8:20 Using mind management to learn from your mistakes & grow as a parent 

14:20 How embracing messy parenting can help us grow & improve our relationships 

22:10 How to give yourself permission to be a messy parent 

27:25 Why parenting is not just about sacrificing yourself 

28:40 Why you need to remember that you were also a child once 

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional. 

Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published