Editor's note: This article was originally published on Emily Rooney's blog, My Love For Words. It has been republished here with permission.
People always say there's no such thing as the perfect parent, but I think they're wrong. There are three simple steps to being the perfect parent, and it's probably easier than most would imagine.
Be the parent your child needs
As a mom with four kids, one thing I've realized is that every child is different. What works as an incentive for one child, the next couldn't care less about. What one enjoys, the others hate. Just when I think I have this mothering thing down, one of my kiddos throws me for a loop, and I have to figure out a whole new way of doing things.
I think one key to being a perfect parent is being the parent that each child needs. Adapting to those needs and wants and treating each child like they individuals they are may mean that each child is parented in a slightly different way, but in the best way possible for him or her in particular.
Trust your intuition
Our parenting intuition is strong, and the more we listen to it, the better. If something feels off, that's an important sign to pay more attention to it and get to the bottom of the situation.
Parenting books and advice can only take us so far. The best guidance we'll ever receive is listening to our hearts, taking our children into consideration, and doing what we think is best.
Lots of love
All kids (and parents for that matter) need love. Our kids need to know that we're there for them and love then no matter what. We'll inevitably make mistakes, and at one point or another out kids will probably think we're trying to ruin their lives (yay for teenagers!), but when our actions are motivated by love they can't be that far off base.
I think the most important thing to remember in parenthood is that the perfect parent will look different for each and every family. What "perfect parent" means will depend on the people involved and their circumstances, and that's OK. What works in one home might not in another, but that doesn't mean one way is right and the other wrong. Families can be as different as fingerprints, varied and multiple, but not necessarily better or worse than one another.
Emily Rooney is the author of My Love for Words where she shares recipes, crafts, decluttering and organizing tips, and her thoughts on life and motherhood. When she's not writing, she can be found knee deep in diapers and checking homework assignments as a wife and mother of 4 kiddos.