Motherhood is a tricky balance.
I wonder what people think I do all day as a “stay at home mom” of three kids.
(Mind you I do still work part time from home)
Heck, As a young single I probably thought stay at home mom’s had it all.
Exercise whenever they want,
Grocery shop for hours for all organic, healthy foods.
Sit around on Pinterest.
Don’t have to deal with the high demands of a stressful career life (not to mention dead beat coworkers)
The list goes on...
The truth is, parenting is harder, more time consuming, more emotionally taxing, and more physically exhausting than my high profile career life.
I had more time on my hands, exercised more regularly, and ate better as a young single. I had more energy, slept more (yep, even with two pets), had less stress.
There are a million and one ways to be a good parent, and there are also a million and one ways to be a bad parent.
“Well my parents did it this way....”
Is never an excuse for poor parenting. It’s also not really a good excuse for great parenting since your child’s needs will vary from your own.
Parenting is a one on one relationship with EACH child.
For example: I think I’m a little bit worse of a parent with my middle child.
He’s a three year old Tasmanian machine with boundless energy, recklessness, and dirt.
He also has the most severe case of “night terrors” his pediatrician has ever seen. We still haven’t figured it out. So, being immensely sleep deprived (more so than just a mom of three who sleep at night) he is also my wild child during the day and my patience runs thin with him.
The point is, one kid may grow up thinking you were awesome. Another might grow up thinking you sucked. Both are right.
My goal is to suck as little as possible.
This means not putting too much weight on “this is how my parents did it” when I can clearly see that my children’s needs are different.
It means avoiding all the bad things that hurt me while growing up, being completely in tune with what hurts my own kids, and then keeping an open line of communication so that they can tell me how I can be better.
I always ask this. Too, on a regular basis because kids don’t always know to ask ahead of time. Sometimes they don’t think they have a right.
Kids always have a right.
One of the things I love about my daughter’s Preschool class are the communication skills they teach. If a kid is mean to another kid, the victim is taught to tap the bully on the shoulder and say. “I don’t like that.”
This level of communication and taking responsibility is something many generations can benefit from. There’s nothing wrong with a child saying, “I don’t like that.”
And a parents response of, “I don’t care!” Is about as harmful as it comes.
I know plenty of adults who would freak out if you said to them, “I don’t like that.”
They take it as if you’re attacking them.
These adults have never learned open communication or how to assume responsibility for their own behavior.
It starts with teaching a child.
Thank you, preschool.
Teaching my kids round the clock is a never ending endeavor. If you want your kids to behave (which they rarely do) you cannot even rest from instructing them. They need CONSTANT guidance. This means, no, I do not sit down and watch my fav shows on Netflix.
What’s even popular?
It means I put my phone down and read books with them.
It means I get off the couch when they’re fighting and go mediate to make sure they use the communications mentioned above, but also monitor that no harmful behavior is happening.
(Hitting, biting, pulling hair)
It means I tell nighttime stories and stay up later than I can handle to make sure they’re tucked in, only to be too exhausted myself to relax and fall asleep.
I have soooo much stress over caring for these three precious lives that I have anxiety, three ulcers, and IBS.
A nine to five job with a crappy boss kinda sounds dreamy.
Just kidding.... ;)
I’d never give up what I have, but oh what I learned.
Have I learned how little possessions matter.
I have a chocolate hand print on my wall that has been there for months. I cannot bring myself to wash it off because of the memory of how it got there.
Couches, chairs, picture frames, even carpet can all be replaced. At a cost.
Children and their precious minds can NEVER be replaced, at any cost.
There is no going back and fixing what you screw up.
You can always say sorry and try to do better, but big errors cannot be erased.
I’ve learned parenthood is the most selfless thing you can ever do.
If done how it was meant to be done, a true parent councils their kids, plays with them, AND disciplines them.
There is structure, learning, and love in the home.
Piano, sewing, cooking, reading, writing, singing.
(If all you do is watch TV or tell your kids to “go play by yourself” we kinda have a problem)
No, there’s no right way, but as I learn and grow, and dive into research of speaking with other people whom I admire, seeking out ideal matriarchs for advice, reading books, and PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING, the inspiration seems to flow.
It is natural.
All the feelings that come with parenthood are instinctual and innate.
“Well my parents whipped us with a belt”
Does not make it right to whip your own kid with a belt. It should FEEL wrong.
Each parent has the opportunity to choose for themself what is right and wrong, and for the good of their growing child.
Without proper inspiration, however, and without the right attitude of selflessness, determination, and never ending WORK, parents’ responsibilities are dwindling.
I’m constantly begging people to step up. Not because I’m perfect but because I also need cheerleaders and inspiration.
We can do this.