Show Your Stripes!
My mother claims that I came into the world saying, “hi world” happy and ready to go. It’s interesting to me how kids are hard wired. Siblings all cut from the same cloth but can all be so different. When kids turn out “happy” was that nature or nurture? When our kids behave or get praise from a teacher is that because we as parents did something right or because they are just hard wired that way? We all probably believe that it’s a combination of both. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew when we were doing something right as a parent or when we were flubbing it up? Like a private buzzer goes off when we’re sucking it up, and a little “hip-hop-hoorayyyy-ho-heyyy-ho” tune chimes in when you’re killing it! Take me to Shark Tank- I’ve found an invention!
Seriously, it’s soooo easy to flounder in the world of parenthood, but enjoying parenthood and not wishing a phase away is important. Here’s some parenting 101 tips that we all know but all forget from time to time: set boundaries early, if you say something then mean it, don’t blow smoke up their tail, don’t pacify poor behavior with excuses like, “oh he’s a boy” or “oh she’s 2,” etc. Sure, boys have their challenges but just because they’re a boy doesn’t excuse bad behavior. On the other foot, just because they’re a girl doesn’t mean they should scream at the top of their lungs because they can. Look, all adults know these things, but when you’re in the trenches it can get tough and desperate! I say all this though because it doesn’t mean that stuff isn’t going to happen, and it doesn’t mean we should beat ourselves up when it does. Having some self reflection on how we can help guide our children is a helpful process. It’s SO easy to give ourselves “mom guilt.” Damn that mom guilt! Creepy little sucker that pops up at inopportune times, but you can’t let yourself get stuck there. Are you making an effort with your kids? If your time is limited, are you making the time you do have count? Are you following through with what you say (good and bad)?
And then there’s the judgement. Oh the judgement! BUT…here’s a big butt, as in “I like big butts and I cannot lie,” when you’re feeling judged by others then maybe, just maybe (prepare yourself…this might sting a little) it’s a glimpse of your own insecurities. (Oh no she didn’t! She did not just say that!) I know I’ve had some moments where I’ve felt judged, but it’s usually my own hang up on something that I’m letting be a bigger deal than it is. I want people to assume that I am acting with good intentions because I honestly, genuinely try to act with good intentions on the regular. So if I want people to assume that for me, the right thing to do would be to extend the same courtesy to others and assume they are acting with good intentions too. This is with life. With kids. With work. With relationships. What if we stop to take a minute and try to think of the perspective from the other side and hope they are acting with good intention?! (Have I fallen off the rails?! Am I speaking crazy-talk?!) If I think someone is acting out against me, is it possible that it’s my own hang up…not so much theirs?
All of this relates back to raising kids because we want our kids to act with good intentions and be kind. Isn’t kindness one of the most important things to learn? Treat others how you want to be treated. Act right. Apologize when you’ve made a mistake. Use your words to express yourself.
Everyone has feelings and all feelings are valid…even if you don’t agree with them. Respect each other. Be patient. Now if we can all do these things then beauty queens won’t have world peace to wish for anymore, right?! It is important for the adult to make an effort to be kind, confident and believe in themselves because our kids are watching! They are watching and listening…and why do they always seem to hear what we don’t want them to hear?! (and repeat the terribly embarrassing stuff?!)…but they hear the good stuff too!
Parenthood is tough! Mom guilt is a real thing! But be confident, Momma; you’re doing it, and I’m sure you’re doing just fine! Don’t let your assumptions bring you down…assume the positive and choose happy! Our kids (of all ages) will watch you make that choice, and they will more than likely choose happy too!