I had my final parenting class the other night.  It was a class I was facilitating; “leading” is not an accurate description of what I did.  Yes, I was there each week, I put the DVD in the player, and I read off the discussion questions at the appropriate times.  But, I learned just as much as the other folks there.  A parenting expert, I am not!

Our final lesson was on parenting with grace.  It was probably my favorite lesson of the course, simply because I learned more in the 60 minute lesson than I had for the entire class.  The focus of the lesson was on embracing grace in your parenting style by not only forgiving our children for the mistakes and errors they make, but using those instances as a teachable moment.  Likewise, we should share our own mistakes with our children, apologizing when we make mistakes and working to make ourselves better parents.

And the point that hit home with me the most was that one of the keys to effective, positive, graceful parenting is sleep. 

Yes, SLEEP.

Without a good night’s sleep, your nerves are shot and your patience is thin.  And if there are two things you need when parenting children, they are patience and nerve!  It was news that wasn’t new, but it was definitely something I needed to hear.  Sleep is always tops on my list of things to do, but I always manage to put my sleep off longer than I should each night.  It is a vicious cycle.

So tonight, tuck yourself into bed a little early, whether it is 20 mintues or an hour before last night.  Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.