Compliments are not a rarity in our household. In the past few days I've told my children good job for a broad smattering of things: finishing a packet of math homework, putting shoes on the correct feet, eating vegetables, cleaning up toys, sharing with a sibling, and remembering to flush the toilet.
It's automatic. When I notice good behavior, good intentions, or growth, I comment on it.
I'm sure that you do the same with your children.
How many of us, I wonder, are this free with praise for ourselves when we do a good job? Lately I've been acutely aware of areas where I'm not meeting my own standards: hurriedly prepared, not-entirely nutritious meals for my family; household-wide messes; a missed writing deadline; moments when I'm lacking patience with my children.
These are real things, but when I focus on my deficiencies I forget about the areas where I'm doing well. I hug my children often. I remembered to send several thank you notes in the mail. I finally dropped off some bags of clothes to Goodwill. I played two intensely-long games of Chutes and Ladders without rushing my daughter, even when she kept forgetting that it was her turn. I successfully wrapped up the three college classes that I teach and submitted my final grades for the semester earlier this afternoon.
I'll say it: I'm killing some things. My guess is that you are, too. Take a moment to recognize those areas. Rather than overlooking the many obligations that you're beautifully juggling and harping on that one ball that you've dropped, instead let yourself marvel for a moment that you still have so many up in the air.
Let's be as kind to ourselves as we are to our children.