More Than Resolutions: Intentionally Parent

31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Become a More Intentional Parent

Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!

As parents, it’s easy to fall into the rut of simply reacting to life rather than intentionally approaching parenthood. With four children five years old and under, I know what that’s like! In fact, this is our top goal for 2010, that we would be more intentional as parents.

If you’re wondering what the heck I mean by “intentional parent,” Megan from Sorta Crunchy is sharing a beautiful definition as well as 3 ways to become more intentional in her post today!

Here’s are some tips to get you started (and how we plan to do it ourselves):

1. Write down your long-term goals.

Without defining your long-term goals as a parent, your goal simply becomes to survive each day, and it’s hard to be an intentional parent without looking further into the future than that. What are your goals as a parent? What do you want your children to remember when they’re adults? What lessons do you want to teach your children? What values do you hope to impart? Take time to think through all of these questions and write down your overarching goals as a parent.Writing them down solidifies them, gives you something to refer back to and makes your commitment to work toward them more concrete.

2. Think about and write down your short-term goals.

Once you have your long-term goals written down, take some time to brainstorm on practical ways to achieve them. As a work-at-home mom, I know I can become distracted by the world inside my computer, so one of my goals — as Megan mentions in her post as well — is to simply close the laptop and give my children my undivided attention more often. We want to be more intentional about giving them each one-on-one time with us and offering even more arts and crafts opportunities to them every day. Your short-term goals should reflect your long-term goals as parents. Be sure to write these down too, as a commitment and reminder.

3. Find a mentor.

Finding a wiser, more experienced parent with whom you can share your frustrations and brainstorm solutions is a valuable tool as a parent. I’m lucky that my mom really is a mentor to me in this way, but I know I need to invite her to share more feedback about things she sees as well, which can be hard in any relationship but is a valuable part of growing. I’d like to connect with a local, more experienced homeschooler as well. Having someone who is willing to listen and willing to give you feedback, even if it’s not exactly what you want to hear, is an important part of becoming a more intentional parent.

4. Realize it’s a process.

Making a commitment to be an intentional parent doesn’t mean you’ll get it right 100% of the time. No one does. I love this quote from Steady Days, by Jamie Martin: “Motherhood is a journey and I’m on the path, with the freedom to keep growing and changing.” Intentional parenting just means being thoughtful about your actions and decisions, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect.  It’s not something that’s necessarily going to come easily, but rather a commitment to put the time and effort into being the kind of parent you envision yourself to be. (And later today I’ll have a more in-depth review of Jamie’s book plus a giveaway!)

5. Plan to evaluate your progress.

With any goal, it’s important to evaluate your progress along the way, and this one is no different. Some of your short-term goals may be measurable and concrete — such as turning off the computer at certain times of the day or having monthly dates with each child — but others may be harder to measure — such as being really present while playing together. Plan to evaluate your progress every couple of weeks or once a month and take the time to mark those dates on your calendar now so that you don’t forget them as the year wears on.

Do you have any parenting goals for 2010? What does being an intentional parent look like to you?

The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Make 2010 the year you get organized and achieve your goals with the Life & Goal Organizer, the ideal system for organizing your goals, plans and life!