Once upon a time, only celebrities and rich people could make regular parents feel inferior. But thanks to the Interwebs (especially you, Pinterest) it’s easier than ever to compare yourself with other parents and come up short. Not surprisingly, studies show that the constant comparisons are stressing us out.
But here are eight reasons why you – yeah, you with the milk-stained sweatpants, you on the couch watching Frozen for the gazillionth time, you with the best intentions and the worst laundry pile – don’t have to feel bad if your parenting isn’t Pinterest-worthy. Because it turns out these eight superparent traits might not be so super after all.
Relax, already! Super-parent habits you don’t need to copy
Superparents sanitizeClean houses sure look better. But a study for The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that early exposure to bacteria and cat dander reduced the risk of future allergies. Unfortunately contact had to occur before age one to be preventative. Still, the scientists concluded that being too clean isn’t good.Thinkstock
Superparents use flashcardsToo lazy for flashcards? According to pediatric neurologist Dr. Peter Huttenlocher, not only do flashcards not work, they may impair your toddler’s development by causing cognitive overload. That's not an invitation to turn on the TV, but it is a nice reason to relax a bit.Thinkstock
Superparents teach table mannersEventually kids need etiquette, but when they’re really young, messing around with food actually helps them learn. So says a study from the University of Iowa, which found that messy eating offers textural and olfactory cues that encourage faster vocabulary absorption.Thinkstock
Superparents are always aroundGood parents are available to their kids when they need them. But independence – encouraged in developmentally appropriate stages – sets your kids up for the future and, writes psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb for The Atlantic, staves off depression.Thinkstock
Superparents push extracurricularsEncourage your kids to try new activities because it’s a healthy way for them to discover who they are. But if you're only in it for the university admissions advantage, know this: overscheduling has been shown to negatively impact kids' wellbeing.Thinkstock
Superparents serve organic treatsOrganic foods are great if you can afford them. But cookies are cookies; whether they’re made with organic cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, they should be limited. Access to nutritional variety is more important to kids’ health than whether or not their snacks are organic.Thinkstock
Superparents sacrifice everythingFeeling guilty you didn’t move to a farm, homeschool your kids and quit work to write a domestic blog? Don’t. Despite the common perception that a rural upbringing is the most wholesome, city kids are more likely to walk or cycle to school, a good trend for today’s under-exercised kids.Thinkstock
Superparents do it allParents who do it all shouldn't be envied – they should be helped. The "it takes a village” expression didn’t come out of nowhere; achieving a healthy family balance is all about – drumroll, please - balance. Happy parents seek help when needed, and introduce their kids to a variety of role models.Thinkstock