6 Things That Are Holding You Back from Being an Awesome Parent

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

What is the difference between an awesome parent and a mediocre one? And why on earth does it seem like many parents struggle when for some moms and dads the whole enterprise seems to come quite naturally?

Well, the answer is actually simpler than you might think, and more often than not, it has a lot more to do with what awesome parents are not doing than with what they are doing.

I’ve compiled a quick list of the six things holding you back from being an awesome parent. Take a look! I think you’ll see that everything here is definitely within your grasp.

1. You Are Worried about What Others Think

Even though I am quickly approaching forty, I have to admit that there is still a little bit of a highschooler in me. What I mean is that when I set goals, when I think about what I should do, and certainly how to do it, there is a part of me that still worries—even if only for a moment—about what others will think of me because of it.

I know that this is silly. In fact, if I think about it I can actually get quite angry with myself for returning to this same thought process at all. But you know what? Most of us on the planet, maybe even you, experience this as well.

The problem of course is when the worry about others’ opinions begins to influence and even alter the course that we know is best for our children. It is when we say, “I definitely need to read the Bible to my kids” or, “I need to pray with them over every meal, even those we have in the restaurant or that little snack we bring to the park,” but I don’t because others might be watching.

It takes little imagination to understand the negative and possibly long lasting consequences this kind of decision making might have on our children. If they see mom or dad not doing something in public (that is normally done at home) because it might not sit well with others, then how can we expect our kids to do what they too might feel uncomfortable doing in front of others or what our culture disapproves of?

So hey, let’s be a little kinder to ourselves. Don’t worry about what others think.

2. You Refuse to Learn about Parenting

In the hundreds of hours I have spent conversing with like-minded moms and dads, one of the things I have noticed about successful parents is that they all wish that there had been some kind of manual for when they were just starting out. But more than that, these same successful parents look on the whole enterprise of child-rearing as something that we need to continually learn from and grow in.

Conversely, a common theme I have encountered among parents who really struggle is the belief that one is either a “good fit” for parenting or one is not. In other words, there is no room for growth. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth.

As parents, we need to continually be intentional about our vocation and about how we approach the gift of children that God has given us. Every day we need to reflect on where we are and take a serious look at the best practices that others are sharing so that we can make adjustments along the way. This might mean taking a whole course on parenting—we have a great one here at Me & My House—or it might mean perusing group chats where your most burning questions can be asked and discussed.

However you do it, know that awesome parents don’t simply drop out of the sky. They learn about the task God has given them and, slowly but surely, they get better at it.

3. You Allow Your Wounds to Define You

Sometimes it is not so much our unwillingness to learn about parenting or even our concern with the opinions of others that stop us from being the amazing moms and dads that we want to be. Sometimes it is about the wounds we carry around from our own childhood: feelings of disappointment, neglect, unworthiness, rejection, abandonment …

In a conversation I had with Catholic evangelist Alexandra Kubebatu on her podcast, The Catholic Servant, we discussed this in greater detail. And though the conversation was quite emotional at times because we both acknowledged childhood wounds that we needed to work through even now as adults, we realized that every one of us carries wounds of varying degrees. How could we not? Our parents weren’t perfect because we live in a fallen world.

And yet, we discerned that if we were going to be the kind of parents that we wanted to be for our kids, then we couldn’t allow these wounds to define who we are as parents. Through the grace of God, your kids can help you to heal your own childhood wounds, and with time, you can become the intentional and awesome mom or dad you desire to be.

Of course, some wounds can be much more grave in nature and we need to seek healing and professional help beyond the scope of what our families can provide, but even then, don’t discount the amazing grace that God gives each of us in calling us to the vocation of parenthood.