"Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence..." (Author, unknown).

As a mother, I’m constantly in a state of reflection: How did I handle that? Was it my best parenting? Did I get the response I was hoping for? And the parenting questions continue…

From the moment we hold our babies in our hands, we are intuitively and unconsciously teaching them how and what to value. So, it’s no surprise that parenting can feel hard and stressful--our kids are constantly reflecting back the subtle (or not) things we’ve consciously and unconsciously taught them along the way.

It can be easy to get caught up in self-doubt, blame, uncertainty and frustration and direct our focus on what’s not getting done, what’s not happening, who’s not doing what, etc. No one ever said parenting was going to be easy, and we know this gig doesn’t come with any manuals. So what do many of us end up doing? We mostly wing it. And that’s ok.

But what about challenging our approach of parenthood? Perhaps we could be more secure, confidant and at ease if we took back control and took on this role as a parent from a place of leadership.

Like it or not, from the moment we wake up, we are leading ourselves and our families towards a particular direction. We set the tone for what our family life looks, sounds and feels like. Because none of what goes on happens by chance…it happens by choice.

In order to be the best influence, we have to consider and pay attention to how we engage our mini-me’s. When mine do those fabulous things that bring me joy and pride, I smile, laugh, acknowledge, validate, reward and encourage them to recognize and meet their potential. Then, when they're up to doing those disappointing, frustrating or upsetting things, I take the high road and instill accountability in them. It’s a learning process.

Of course, our egos can get in the way and when that’s the case we jump in the box of our kids’ defiance and boundary testing – having our own adult tantrums. Yet, we all make mistakes and our challenge as parents is to bring ourselves to task and come from a place of leadership - where we truly begin to manage and balance both our needs and those of our children.

And we must lead by example. While I know I have many years of parenthood ahead of me, my journey thus far has already taught me the power of “walking my talk” – being consistent, honest, respectful, genuine, grateful, attentive and loving. When I’m not parenting from a place that aligns with my values, my kids pick up on it.

The way we parent is a reflection of the mindset and attitude we carry around with us. As we raise our awareness of our mindset and of the attitude we have as we parent, we can consciously choose to make important shifts so parenthood feels less stressful. We can steer away from the self-doubt, and act from a proactive position of leadership. Then we can truly begin to enjoy the experience of being a parent and connect with more positive, happy and peaceful moments.

I’m not only a mom of two, but also a parenting coach and entrepreneur of a mommy coat I recently launched. Yet, it is my role as a parent that is helping teach me some exceptional and continuous lessons of meeting my own potential to be my best version of “me.”

Parenting with leadership means leading our children/family to their best potential. It is owning the ability to inspire, motivate, champion, learn, listen and develop values around wanting to do the right thing.

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