There you are, lying in bed and about to to drift off to sleep. But you can’t. Moments of the day play like a movie reel on repeat: that moment you raised your voice at your child…that moment your child stomped off with “that” look, letting you know their disdain…that moment you hear yourself saying, “Just one minute, I’m busy! Can’t I just finish this?!”

So there you lie, waiting for blissful slumber, yet filled with regret, questioning your parenting skills and knowing that’s not how you wanted it to go. And if you really think about it, there are too many of these nights.

How come it looks so easy for everyone else?

Hold on! Before you get going down that familiar road, as we all have been known to do, consider instead what you think this whole parenting gig is actually about?

Take five minutes, grab a cuppa and ask yourself these questions:

1. What really matters to me as a parent?

2. What don’t you want for yourself as a parent, for my child(ren), and for my family?

3. What do you want for yourself as a parent, for your child(ren), and for your family?

The answers to these questions are what parenting is about for you, and it is unique to each of us. These are our answers to the questions:

If you asked me, Helen, a mother of four children ranging in age from nine to 18, and an occupational therapist who works with families with multiple needs, here’s what I’d say:

1. What matters to me is that all kids, including my own, are heard, loved and cherished. That they are compassionate, caring and bodacious. That they live the biggest lives possible, problem-solve and thrive no matter what life throws at them.

2. What I don’t want is a grumpy, reactive adult leading the charge. I don’t want my kids to be left with negative messages that have nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. I don’t want my family to be an uptight, disconnected and directionless mess.

3. I want to be satisfied. I want a big, bold family who loves extravagantly and says what they need to say, for everyone to feel heard and do what is important to them, to contribute to the world. I want us all to thrive, dream big and to live life to the fullest, always with a background of connection and love.

And if you asked me, Szara, a mother of five boys, ranging in age from eight to 19 (my youngest with autism and complex needs), and a life coach, here’s what I’d say.

1. What matters to me is that my kids know they are loved, they know their greatness, they know they can be and do anything they put their mind to and that they are caring human beings out to make their difference in the world.

2. I don’t want to be an angry, scary or too-busy parent that is missing all the important stuff right in front of me. I don’t want my kids to be ashamed or hold back parts of themselves. I don’t want my family to be artificial or holding grudges.

3. I want to be proud as a parent, to be patient, kind, and to provide a safe space for them to discover and develop. I want my children to be heard and seen and celebrated for who they are. I want fun, love and connection and healthy communication in our family.

What are you committed to? That’s your mission statement as a parent.
Here is ours:

I, Helen, am committed to being present in each moment for the good, bad and ugly! For us all to be heard, loved and connected. For us to be engaged, unfettered and thriving. I am committed to be partners in this grand old life, a guide and the best sidekick ever.

I, Szara, am committed to celebrating each other and living to the fullest. I want to provide a loving, supportive environment where everyone is free to be their whole self and has a voice. I am committed to ensuring all children are heard, witnessed, and connected to their greatness and the limitlessness of life.

What about you?

Post your commitment somewhere you will see it. Create a routine to manifest it each day. This isn’t about being perfect or beating yourself up. This is a place to stand, to come from and give you access to actions—and a place to return to when you don’t know where else to go. This is your way. This is committed parenting.

Helen Preboy and Szara Turpel are the proud mummas of—between them—nine kids. They believe families should be seen, heard and loved, and be inspired by who they are and what they are up to. They are the founders of CommittedParenting.life.