Parenting is the knottiest, most time-consuming, patience-sapping job ever invented. Are you carrying out your 24/7 duties confidently, peacefully and guiltlessly? Phillip C. McGraw, PhD, offers a few steps to success from his new book, Family First.
It's often said of America that we're a selfish society. I say we are a selfless society, meaning we've lost ourselves in the hectic pace of day-to-day life. In 60 percent of American families, both parents work. A recent study found that being an at-home mom requires twice the time, effort and energy of the average full-time job outside the home. So either way, most mothers are stretched pretty thin. I recently asked a working mother where she lived, and with an absolute straight face she responded, "In a white Suburban."

We have all these relationships in our lives—with coworkers, friends, neighbors, communities and society at large. The most important is our relationship with our family. I wrote my newest book, Family First (Free Press), for women and mothers because they are the heart of the family, and because most mothers say they measure their success in life by how well they parent their children. But many aren't quite sure what that means to them.

To be an effective parent, at some point you need to pull out of the fast lane and think about things. You have to turn off the phone and the television, hand the baby over to your husband, and find a quiet spot where you can sit by yourself and meditate on what is important to you as a mother and a person. Motherhood is a profound experience that calls up some pretty deep questions. This is where I come in: I have the questions, and I'm here to help you stimulate your thinking. In crafting your own thoughtful answers, you'll find the keys to being a confident, successful mother.

Five Questions To Ask Yourself
  1. How do I measure my success as a parent?
  2. What's the plan?
  3. What did my parents teach me about parenting?
  4. Am I at peace with myself?
  5. Can I let go of the guilt and do better?


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