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Do You Have a Parenting Mission Statement?

inukshukMost people starting a new venture spend at least some time, and sometimes spend a very considerable amount of time figuring out what their mission statement is. A mission statement is a short, concise summary of what you’re setting out to do. It clearly defines your goals, values and scope, preventing enthusiastic entrepreneurs from trying to make their product or service be everything to everybody.

Most parents, however, find themselves with a new baby in their arms and then realize that their world has changed in a fundamental way.  Old goals and pursuits may no longer align with new values that come with parenthood. Even parents whose children are partly grown may find themselves facing a big change that calls their previous values into question.

Parents and families can benefit from creating a mission statement that clearly defines the family’s goals and values. When you know where you want to go, it is easier to stay the course when winds blow or a dense fog rolls down the hills.

What Does a Parenting Mission Statement Look Like?

1. It is concise. A mission statement is ideally no longer than one or two sentences. Keep it short and sweet!

2. It is positive. Avoid defining yourself according to what you are not. Instead, focus on the aspects of your family’s life that you value, such as environmental sustainability, fostering healthy attachment or living simply.

3. It is inclusive. Hold a family meeting and allow all family members to contribute their ideas and values for the family. This can be a great opportunity to talk about similarities and differences between each family member’s views, but the mission statement should reflect everyone’s shared values.

4. It is accurate. Some time spent in quiet reflection can help you get in touch with what your true values are. Listen to the feeling in your gut, and the various aspects of your self that respond differently to different situation. It is ok to be conflicted sometimes, but your mission statement should reflect the core values that you hold most dear.

I’m working on my own parenting mission statement right now. Every now and then an interesting opportunity presents itself, either as paid work or a volunteer position, and my ears perk up a little. However, I know that I’m pretty much working at capacity as it is, and any other projects I take on mean that something else will need to come off my plate in order for that to happen. What is acceptable for me to outsource or delegate right now? Would this new opportunity bring me closer to my goals and values, or further away? All interesting questions, and ones which I think a clear mission statement would help me find answers to.

Do you have a mission statement as a parent? Does it help you make decisions that affect your whole family? I’d love to hear about it.

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