Ten things every parent needs to let go of at times of stress

1.       Let go of the idea that you must have a map to get where you want to go. You’re going to be writing and re-writing your map every day. It’s OK to not know where you are going. For example, you were not trained to home-school, or be a coach and you weren’t born wearing a cape!

2.       Let go of the nagging doubtful thought that everyone else is doing this better than you are. Trust me, others are thinking the same thing about you. The compare and despair of social media and edited conversation is real, and it will always leave you feeling like you have failed. Don’t do it – trust that everyone is having good and downright awful days – just like you.

3.       Let go of the idea that there is a right way and that if you keep researching Facebook groups and buying curricula and seeking new ways, you will eventually find it. Focus instead on what works well enough for you and your family and concentrate your energies there.

4.       Let go of feeling like you need to be perfect. Something has to give. If it’s the laundry, or dinner, or a math lesson, accepting that you can’t do everything is an important part of feeling peaceful about yourself and your life.

5.       Let go of guilt. Don’t hold onto mistakes, which you will inevitably make. Learn from them, forgive yourself, and move on.

6.       Let go of the notion that life must be busy to feel successful. Slow down. Do nothing. Let your kids play outside all day, build a pillow fort or have a movie day all day. Don’t check your email at lunchtime. Resist the urge to multitask. Focus all your senses on drinking a cup of tea.

7.       Let go of your fear of failure. Your kids will fail. You will fail. With the right attitude, failure can be the most empowering experience in the world. It is how you learn, and it’s how you practice getting back up and trying again.

8.       Let go of your expectations. It’s easy to imagine what an ideal home-school or family day out might look like, but if you get too caught up in trying to replicate your vision, you may end up getting stuck in trying to achieve this and miss the opportunity to enjoy or learn naturally. There is nothing wrong with planning but be open to following the path wherever it leads you instead of trying to force it in a specific direction. Your children will thank you for it and be more engaged.

9.       Let go of worrying about the future. It’s OK that you don’t have it all figured out. You don’t always have to know what’s going to happen next. Focus on the step you need to take right now rather than the entire staircase.

10.   Let go of micromanaging. It’s easy to get distracted by things like “how much multiplication should a 12-year-old be able to do?” but getting too focused on small details can get in the way of seeing the big picture. What is your goal for today? It might be peace instead of war, it might be science and maths – which cooking accounts for both! Be flexible and look at the big picture, any learning is better than no learning.