I love my children with all my heart.
I really do.
I really would do anything for them in a heart beat- that even includes keeping it real with them!
But like any mum, even those that work three jobs, homeschool or stay at home, I have my days when I would rather just check out or be that mum that lets their kids watch movies because it is easier than listening to them fight. Today, all the little things are making my head hurt, including the fighting.
I am going to tell you the pretext to the story, then the story, then the realisation that came from it.
Yesterday, friends were in town and we went to the International Spy Museum and also the National Air and Space Museum. Then to MLK memorial and then to the Roosevelt memorial. You think that would be a blast of a day, right?
My daughter focused on the lunch. Yes, the lunch. *annoyed mum emoji here*
We went to Chipotle and I let them pick their lunch. She picked to share a bowl with her brother and together they picked the steak bowl with rice. Well, you would think she would have eaten something she choose, right? Wrong again. She flipped out and had an attitude and instead of just eating it, which of course, because it is the easier thing to do, she refused. She had a bad attitude about it most of the afternoon. She then proceeded to finally after it was already dinner time, decide to finish her lunch. She ate half of it. After we got home, she went to town again declaring she would never eat spicy again. Okay, fair enough. But this was not spicy and you need to eat! (Insert, 'has your child every made excuses for not eating before'?) I finally had to hand the job after an entire day of either the attitude over it (when everyone else was done talking about it or dealing with it) or trying to get her to eat at all, to her father. I was done. (She finally did eat it and I was glad- didn't want a grump waking up).
Stick a fork in me, so so done!
What does that have to do with what I am about to talk to you about?
Because as parents, we all have our things that are important to us.
Mine happens to be trying new things, eating your food, and not wasting.
I grew up starving in parts of my child hood. It was not easy. It was hard and I remember it.
So when you parents told you to eat your food, it was for a reason. We don't realise that our neighbours can sometimes be struggling just to eat one meal a day let alone a simple balanced diet.
So of course, the transference of that comes into my parenting. I am relaxed a quite a bit of things. Food is not one of them. I am not making different meals for each person in this house (of course, minus allergies and of course, I try to stay away from dislikes). I won't do it.
One, if they want to step up and volunteer ideas or help in making that meal, I give them reign over what we will eat because it is a growing experience.
Two, our diet in America has consisted of not taking care of trying new things, retrying them, eating and not wasting no matter how much we don't like it. We have confused the purpose of eating. Yes, it is important to have the food taste good. No doubt. But it is also important to not waste what the Earth has given us to sustain our bodies. Every time we waste food, that means someone is going without. Not always in the literal sense, but in a very real world kind of way.
If you don't like it, you can also find someone around you that doesn't have, even a homeless person, and give it to them. I am sure, as I have been there as a child, they would be grateful.
However, I digress into a even more profound statement.
I have used what I have been through to help or hurt and colour the lens through which I parent. I did it. I screwed up. Even with the best of intentions, I could do better.
I am doing a blog review on a book "With All Due Respect" by Nina and Debbie about raising teens, or preteens. In my case, I do have a preteen, two kids and one of those kids is a preteen by definition but not age. So I thought it would be helpful.
It has a challenge in the very beginning of the book that I think is good to even post here. For accountability. For sharing that you are not the only one. That we can all improve in our parenting.
I know very well that if my small amount of Facebook friends have the same struggle that millions of mums think the same think, in one form or another. We all criticize ourselves in one aspect of our own parenting skills- if not more. On the daily. You are not alone, my friend. *Cheers*
Seeing our kids not just as kids but as full time (and) life long relationships. This includes how we want to have a relationship with them in the future. We start that now, not then.
And one of the first ways we can do this is a radical thought...
Wait for it...
Yes, we change! But what?
We change OUR EXPECTATIONS and OUR ACTIONS!
This is not something you walk into blindly, no! You wouldn't walk into a job interview ill-prepared so you certainly don't do that to parenting which is much more permanent. This is why many of us struggle with it. It is more profound, more stress bound, and more important. We don't want to screw up. Yet with the pressure we place on ourselves, we transfer it like I did, into our parenting in one form or another.
So that leads into what I will try to grow in as a parent to meet each of my kiddos where they are at.
The goal is to name 3 things you an improve upon as a parent.
So here are mine.
A) My 10 Year Old Son
1) I will encourage him to explore the world, even if it is something I wouldn't do and spend quality time with just him.
2) When he gives me his smart remarks I won't retort with my own version of a smart remark back as tempting as it may be out (especially out of frustration). I will simply and lovingly tell him what he needs to hear and redirect him if need be.
3) I will encourage him to start making money on his own- something that is important to him- by giving him more responsibility and helping neighbours with things like cutting grass and shoveling snow. I will push him lovingly to see how much he is capable of on his own.
V) My 8 Year Old Daughter
1) I will not engage in the wars of wills. She has her opinion and I have mine. I will walk away when I feel she is just battling me for the sake of the battle. This can include even the smallest of things. Like what blanket to use, why she should brush her teeth, asking her to play outside, or why she needs to go to a meeting even when she doesn't want to.
2) I will encourage her to try new foods and be firm about the family rule (eat it now or eat it later) while making sure she knows I love her. I will do my best to support her and or reward her and not slough off her opinion of the food- even if she is falling apart during the tantrum.
3) I will try to spend quality time with her at least a few times a week that is a longer time period and try everyday to show her I love her in the little ways.
K) My 5 year old Son
1) I will no longer call him a baby. Even though I see him as my baby. So he can grow in who he is suppose to become. I know that this is a habit I fall into because he really is my cuddle bug and my baby- but I want to make sure he knows he can grow into the beautiful human and man he is meant to be.
2) I will ease him into the school process and not get frustrated if he doesn't understand something.
3) I will hold him and cuddle with him- his love language, every day, especially on the days that are hard for him.
So when I forget, I will even revisit this post and remember why shifting the focus from what they need to change into something I can change and how that aids in changing is important. How changing the focus of my expectations is important. That I am projecting on them expectations is only making the resentment grow stronger instead of teaching them the skills I want them to learn. The goal is to help aid them in their personal growth and what truly is important.
Even the best of parents, when looking deep inside, is guilty of this.
Every. Single. One. Of. Us. = Guilty.
But we have the power to change that.
Yes, YOU have the power to change it just I am trying to do right now.
So what are your 3 for your kids?
Share them here!