Through applying parenthood 2.0 approach, you can leverage becoming a parent as a forcing function to kickstart or accelerate your own journey of personal growth and transformation.
When you become a parent, whether it was planned or not, you’re faced with possibly one of the biggest decisions of your life.
This decision though needs to be made by choosing between two life-changing choices in front of you.
And these choices are not necessarily about your style of parenting but more about the way you’re going to view your new life as a parent.
So what are these two choices?
Well… the first choice, due to how our society has shaped us to believe, is usually the most obvious and popular one.
That is to view parenthood as a force that puts an end to your personal life and everything you used to care about.
Date nights, or hang out with friends? Who’s got time for that when you could just catch up with sleep?
How about your hobbies or alone time? That can wait for 18 years or so, right?
Most often becoming a parent means you need to sacrifice your own life and put 110% of your attention on your child.
It’s easy to fall for that choice especially when you come home with your newborn baby for the very first time and realize how dependent these little creatures are.
And there’s nothing wrong with giving your baby that kind of attention during those early stages.
When your sleep goes out the window and when you forget to eat or shower, it’s easy to believe that you no longer matter.
Put your hand up if as a parent, you’ve felt that way.
The issue with the old parenthood paradigm
But the challenge with that choice shows up after your sleep improves a tiny bit and your child starts to grow out of the baby phase and into the toddler phase.
Sure, you may never feel that your child is fully independent but you will start to notice that the dependency starts to slowly fade as your child grows older.
Now if by then, and because of that first choice, you’ve accepted that your personal life no longer matters, you’re in a big trouble.
And the trouble is that since you’re doing so much work “to parent”, you’ll become addicted to the rewards you expect from your child.
Afterall, we are pre-conditioned to expect rewards for hard work and to see life as a game of “give and take”.
So every time your child smiles at you or laughs out loud, or when you hear mom or dad, you get an increase in your dopamine levels.
But is this really a sustainable way to live your life?
What happens to all the other times when there are no smiles or laughs?
What happens when you just showered and dressed your child but only a couple of minutes later you find yourself cleaning vomit on the floor and washing clothes?
What happens when your child is screaming so loud for no obvious reason that you wish you could just cover your ears and run away?
What happens when at 1 am your child wakes up with a crazy cry and after an hour of trying different methods, you finally manage to go back to your bed but now you’ve got insomnia?
Developing a new mindset when it comes to parenthood
You see, the only thing that can help you as a parent to cope with the challenging times of raising your child is your mindset on how you view your new life as a parent.
If you believe it’s all about the sacrifice, then you’ll be simply feeling unhappy for the majority of your life.
And that’s because let’s be honest here, parenthood is not always the photo of that smile you post on Facebook or Instagram.
To overcome that possibility and to feel great about this new chapter of your life, you must feel strong and fulfilled on the inside.
But how can you achieve that if all you’ve done is to put the oxygen mask on your child and forgotten how to breathe yourself?
There’s gotta be a better way, right?
You need a better approach and that’s where the second choice can help.
The better approach is to view parenthood as a forcing function for personal growth and transformation.
Welcome to a new version of parenting.
You might have heard of the conscious parenting approach which has been made popular by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. It’s a style of parenting which flips the whole game.
In this new version of parenting, called here as parenthood 2.0, raising your child requires you to first raise your own inner-child so you can fulfill your own potential as a parent.
A new outlook and approach for parenthood
At its core, this approach embodies a radical belief and that is to become a better parent, you must first become a better person.
But that takes a lot of work and more importantly a lot of courage. That’s why the lazy parent who decides to put the work on the child, will not be a successful parent.
A successful parent is the one who realizes that there’s no work to be done on your children and all the work is to be done on you.
In parenthood 2.0, you get to flip the whole model by putting on a new lens through which you will see the world.
Everything shifts, once you start to notice your new role as a parent is an opportunity and not an obstacle.
You will realize that your child is not here to put an end to achieving your dreams. Instead, you will notice that your child is here to help you grow into the best version of yourself.
The good news is that by putting the focus on yourself not only you will automatically become a better parent, but you will also become a better partner for your spouse.
You’ve heard the old saying that you can only serve from a cup that’s full. That’s why when you show up into your role as a parent, you want to make sure your cup is not empty.
Because if you don’t, you’ll end up using your child as a way to fill the void inside of you. And if for whatever reason, your child is not able to give you what you expect, you’re back at feeling unhappy.
Parenthood 2.0: a forcing function for personal growth and transformation
Postpartum depression is a real challenge that if ignored will only grow in size and eventually paralyze the parent who’s not able to break away from it.
Spiritual awakening and becoming more conscious can help when dealing with mental health issues like depression that could happen to new parents.
So if you had been diving into the world of personal growth before becoming a parent, it’s now time to dive even deeper.
And if you have never done any type of intentional personal growth, becoming a parent is the best boost you can have to get started.
But personal growth as is often referred to is not only about improving your mind. You also need to improve other important areas of your life like health and the work you do for a living.
By applying the principles of parenthood 2.0, not only becoming a parent won’t limit you but it will also give you an unfair advantage to achieve everything you’ve always wanted.
You can take this opportunity of becoming a parent to reinvent yourself and finally evolve into the best version of yourself in a way that would not be possible without becoming a parent.
So what are the principles of parenthood 2.0?
The truth is, you will decide what those principles are for you. There’s no one size fits all solution.
However, there are tools and frameworks you can get inspired by such as Conscious Parenting, Growth Mindset, Buddhism, Zen, and Stoicism. The list below is a good place to start:
1. Stop raising your child and start raising your inner-child
If you only take one single principle, let it be this one. And that is to stop trying to raise your child as if you are the sculpture artist and your child is the clay.
Your child is unique. But unfortunately, in the old parenthood paradigm, that uniqueness gets ignored most of the time.
Parents with all of their good intentions end up forcing children to fit into the norm like a boat rather than shining their light like a lighthouse.
Of course, there are other forces aiming for similar results like education, culture, tradition, and religion. Although not always, but quite often these institutions put all the focus on the children and assume that the adults themselves are doing fine.
Parenthood 2.0 is all about leading by example and not coming from a place of ego and authority. Its goal is to raise the inner-child of the parent to its full potential.
You get to put all that time, energy and focus on yourself. Because when you improve yourself you’ll create a win, win, win situation where you, your child, and your partner all benefit from your transformation into your best self.
2. Never blame others, always point the finger to yourself
You’re not going to stop feeling like a victim until you stop blaming other people for how you’re feeling.
Sure you may not feel as if you are in control of your life 100% of the times but you are certainly in control of how you react to life 100% of the times.
The trouble is, when you put the blame on the external factors, you will lose your power. You will ignore your authentic self and the inner strength to change your outcomes.
Parenthood 2.0 helps you see your external world as a mirror. A mirror that reflects on how you’re feeling from the inside. It will show you everything. The highs and the lows.
When you realize you’re the only one in the driver’s seat, you’ll take your power back and begin to improve from the inside out.
So if you feel a lack in an area of your life, the best way to go is to bring that exact thing into your life. Need more affection from your spouse? It’s time to do for your partner what you expect them to do for you and watch the magic unfold.
3. There are no good and bad, your reality is a perception
Your reality is subjective. The way you experience life will never be the same as how your child or spouse do.
And that’s why there is also no good child or bad child categories. If we don’t like something in someone else, most of the times are because it reminds us of something we don’t like about ourselves.
Thankfully, the opposite is also true. If you admire a personality trait in someone including your own child, it tends to be because you admire that about your own personality.
So instead of judging what you’re experiencing, remind yourself that you may not be seeing reality as what is but more as what you make it
As humans, we are meaning-making machines, and the meanings we attach to what we experience in life is mostly shaped by our past experiences.
Parenthood 2.0 adapts this type of perspective which makes it easier to develop empathy and compassion for others and yourself which leads to a more calm and peaceful life.
4. Empathy is essential, so take the view from above
It’s not easy to walk in someone else’s shoes or to attempt to see how they feel but without empathy, you will not be able to connect deeper with others.
So if you can’t fit in their shoes, at least do your best to look at each situation from a 3rd person point of view or the bird’s eye view that’s not biased.
By putting yourself in their situation you can start to have compassion and believe that everyone is only doing their best with what they know at the time.
Parenthood 2.0 allows you to also have the same kind of empathy and compassion for yourself so you can forgive yourself for what you’ve done in the past.
So if you find yourself judging a situation or someone that makes you feel negative emotions such as jealousy, anger, or disappointment, it’s time to take the view from above.
It’s no easy task but like everything, practice makes progress. So the more you apply it the more it becomes like a second nature and one day it’ll run on autopilot.
5. Mindfulness and meditation are not only for the monks
You don’t need to lock yourself in a room all day or sit under a tree for hours or travel all the way to Tibet to benefit from the world of meditation and mindfulness.
Every time you’re stuck in traffic, every time you’re waiting for an elevator, or simply every time you’re walking alone, you have a chance to feel more mindful.
Use these moments to practice living in the space between your thoughts. Every time you catch yourself stuck inside of a random thought, simply get back into the in-between space.
The goal of mindfulness or meditation is not to stop your mind. By practicing as little as you can on a consistent basis you’ll be able to feel more in control of your mind and emotions.
Parenthood 2.0 puts a big focus on the importance of emotional intelligence which mindfulness and meditation can help with.
Parents with a high degree of emotional intelligence have an unfair advantage when it comes to dealing with the challenges of raising their children.
6. Everything is impermanent, so this shall pass too
The good, the bad, and the ugly will come and go. For every high, there’s a low and for every low moment, there’s a high one about to reveal itself.
So instead of feeling helpless in your low moments, remind yourself that this shall pass too. But also don’t get too hyped about your high moments because you know a low one is in the corner.
Parenthood 2.0 focuses on the present moment more than anything else. There’s a sense of relief in knowing that nothing lasts forever.
Whether you’re having a good time or bad time, adapting this philosophy will allow you to better manage your mood and overall well being.
This is especially true when you’re in the trenches of early stages of parenthood. It almost feels impossible to even think that you’d be able to sleep again without interruptions.
But time passes and life goes on. Unless you have a child with special needs, your child will finally learn to sleep, eat, and dress on their own without your help. So this shall pass too.
7. Only care for what you can control
Worrying never gets us anywhere. No matter what the situation, there are usually the things you can actually do something about and then there are the things you cannot do anything about.
Never worry about what you can’t change and instead put your focus on what you can actually change.
The sooner you do that, the sooner you’ll get the results you desire while feeling a sense of calm and inner peace.
Parenthood 2.0 puts the majority of the work on the parent instead of the child because it is all you can control.
No matter how much you try, you will not be able to control your child so you might as well work on controlling yourself, especially your triggers and emotions.
Next time you find yourself feeling worried, ask yourself whether you can do something about it or not. Because if you can, then why worry? And if you can’t, then why worry?
8. There’s no destination, love the journey
If you put all your focus on the destination, you’ll end up missing a lot. The goal is not to focus on a specific destination but instead to enjoy the process.
Until you can start to love every bit of this journey even though it’s hard and challenging, you won’t be able to cope with the ups and downs.
Love it all. Go all in and focus on the task at hand and the present moment as much as possible and be here now.
Parenthood 2.0 honors the journey. Your work is worth it. You are here to better yourself so you can show up as a better parent and a better partner. And that journey is to be loved.
It’s easy to look at the gap between where you are and where you want to be and feel defeated but it’s moments like this that you should focus on how far you’ve come from where it all began.
By putting the focus on the journey itself and how much you’ve already achieved, you’ll take the pressure off from how much more you need to go. It’s all about the progress you’ve made.
9. Practice minimalism and choose experiences over things
In the old parenthood paradigm, success is defined by how much money you make and how much stuff you accumulate.
Unfortunately, taking that path after a certain point will only cause more suffering than anything else.
How many more bedrooms do you need in your house? How many more cars in your garage? How many more t-shirts?
Thanks to the concept of hedonic adaptation, no matter what you buy, after a while the interest will die down and you’ll end up in a never-ending cycle of consumption.
Parenthood 2.0 promotes minimalism as much as possible. The less you own in your external world, the more space you’ll have to find peace in your internal world.
Experiences are what you want to focus on as much as possible. So if you are into collecting, it’s best to collect memories than to collect things.
10. Improve your outcomes by building habits not setting goals
Goals are good except when they are not achieved. When you don’t end up hitting your goals, you can feel demotivated or possibly even quit trying altogether.
How many times have you set new year’s resolution goals but then gave up by mid-February at most?
That’s the problem with goals. When you don’t achieve them, you’ll lose interest in the whole subject.
Habits, on the other hand, are much better when it comes to improving your outcomes.
Although habits take time to develop, once done, you can expect consistent results. So if you want to feel more physically fit, instead of setting a goal of losing 10 KG, build the habit of going to the gym 3 times a week.
Parenthood 2.0 values developing habits over setting goals. When you have so much responsibility on your hand, the only thing that can make or break you is the quality of your habits.
So what do you think about these principles? Sounds like a lot of work, right?
The truth is that yes, it is a lot of work but it’s the only kind of work that’s worth the effort because you have control over the outcome.
In life, there are a few times where you may feel lucky and achieve what you want with ease. But most of the times it takes real work to get what you want.
Your spiritual awakening journey can be very challenging and even feel painful at times. But you can turn this frustration into fuel by seeing parenthood as a forcing function for personal growth and transformation.
So what’s the conclusion?
Growth often comes with pain and that’s just how nature works. So embrace it, fall in love with the journey and remember this shall pass too.
Now as much as we are putting a focus on personal growth, let’s not forget that there’s a higher purpose here and that is called collective growth.
After all, we don’t live alone in this world. And the only way we can improve our society is by raising our collective consciousness.
Can you imagine what kind of world we’d live in if every single one of us would put their time energy and effort into growing ourselves?
Your personal growth is not as personal as you may think, you’re doing this work for all of us. So don’t you ever dim your light.
It may sound selfish to put such importance on yourself and often can feel weird especially for parents who are conditioned to believe they should feel selfless.
But by making yourself better, not only you will raise better children, but you will also foster better relationships with your spouse as well as your own parents.
And the best part is, by fulfilling your potential you will shine your luminous light in a way that makes the whole world a better place for all of us to live in.
So what are you going to do today to leverage parenthood as a forcing function for personal growth and transformation?