Hey, Mom! Want to Know What Your Kids Really Think About You?
A New Perspective for Moms
Watch the above video. Someone asked these moms to say how they felt about their parenting and to share their thoughts, their feelings, and their anxieties.
Then their kids said what they thought about their moms. Their answers were beautiful.
- "My Mom is my hero."
- "Beautiful, kind. We love each other."
- "She's like my heart, I guess because we're so close."
If you're anxious about how you're doing as a mom, you are not alone. But I hope this video and the article below will help you realize that you are doing just fine.
Being a Mom Isn’t Easy
There’s no handbook, no practice run, and no opportunity to shut the whole thing down, reboot, and start again; at least not with the same child. But even then, every child is different.
There’s no mom school.
Yes, we experienced our own mothers’ parenting. But we were just kids at the time, seeing everything through a kid’s eyes. We mostly love our own mothers and have a lot for which we feel very thankful. Most of us can easily forgive her mistakes, too. Because we know that she loved us, gave us her best and did a fair enough job of raising us. I mean, we’re okay, aren’t we?
Remember that when you’re judging your own parenting skills.
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
You can’t be perfect. Your kids don’t want you to be perfect. A kid raised by whatever your idea of the perfect plastic parent is would most likely have a pretty unrealistic start in life. Don’t you think?
There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.— Jill Churchill
Yes, mom, you do need to be a superhero. But you should also be yourself; a woman in your own right; a human being with weaknesses and failings as well as strengths and successes.
Our kids need to learn from us how to live well despite weakness. They need to learn how to pick themselves up and persevere towards success despite failings. They need to learn that love is forgiving and deserves forgiveness. That life can be tough. That helping each other and working together is more important than being in control and getting everything right the first time.
There is no way that a "perfect parent" could ever teach them that stuff. And that’s the most important stuff to learn. Forget about school grades and getting in the sports team; that’s secondary.
No One Is Watching You
Most of the time when we’re doing our mom stuff, no one is watching. No one admonishes us for mistakes. No one rewards us when we do something wonderful. Maybe that’s why we get so anxious and self-recriminating. Better to judge ourselves harshly and be on the safe-side.
But no, we’re making a mistake when we do that. Mom needs to love mom, to forgive mom, and to accept mom. That’s called self-respect.
And who’s going to teach her children self-respect, self-reliance, resilience in a difficult and unpredictable world? Who's going to teach that by example?
Better still; don’t judge yourself as a mom at all. Just get on with it. You’re most likely doing fine.
So, how do you be a great mom?
Look After Yourself
Remember to be yourself. Look after yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Don’t feel guilty about taking time out to read, to watch a movie, to go for a walk, go to the gym, and meet up with the girls for lunch.
It might not always be possible, especially with little ones. But when you can get “you time,” be happy about that and enjoy it to the max. Your kids need a break from you, just as much as you need a break from them.
Never forget that even though having kids is a game-changer and all your priorities get re-ordered, you are still you. You are who you are—being a mom is one of the things you do.
I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.— Tina Fey
Don't Be Guilty of Feeling Guilty
Get rid of the guilt. You do not stand accused. No one’s judging you. There’s no need to be perfect. There is nothing worse for herself or her child than a perfect mom.
Maintain Clear Boundaries
Back in the day, families were more structured along patriarchal lines. Pop ruled, mom kept house, and they bound the kids to unquestioning obedience. Okay, not quite, but nowadays how most of us do family has changed. We discuss things; our kids are involved in major decisions that affect the whole family. We try to listen to our kids' needs and opinions. All to the good.
But they’re still kids. Let them be kids. And kids need structure. Part of that is to know when to lay down the law because you maybe know best. Talking and listening and being respectful to your child are positive modern developments. But boundaries still matter: bedtime, table manners, accepting a sensible “no” still stand.
Your Kids Love You
Above all, remember that your kids are going to love you because you are their mom. Feed them, clothe them, and educate them. Look after yourself. Recognize that their lives are already their own. Trust them. Trust yourself.
Mom? You’re doing okay.
© 2014 Amanda Littlejohn