I love being a Mom. I used to really suck at it. Well, actually I use to think I sucked at it. I thought I was the worst mother in the world sometimes. In reality, I became a Mom at twenty and did the best I could with who I was then. I don't live in the past. Nowadays, I don't judge myself. If I do feel that I could have done something differently, I think...Okie Dokie, and move on. I actually think Motherhood is fascinating. In some cultures, it is so intuitive, instinctual, they are just doing their thing, without any of the parenting books, magazines, or experts. For many, whether you work full time, part time, or are a stay-at-home-mom, this job is like they say, the hardest. When you make a parenting mistake you can feel like you screwed them up for life. Yes, if you screw up at work, you can get fired, but the feeling like you really screwed up with your child makes you feel like a complete failure. The reason I wanted to write this is to share some things I have learned. I am the zany mother of an almost fifteen year old daughter, and three sons, eleven, five, and two.
First of all, I have learned to stop asking everyone their opinion on things related to my kids, parenting, and decisions. This used to make me feel so confused. I gave all my power away. The people pleaser in me could never win. But really, there is no real right, idea, perfect way to do it. If your kid sleeps in your bed until they are five, sucks their thumb until they were eleven (okay this was me), uses cloth diapers, eats the right serving of vegetables, go to a certain preschool, does flash cards, blah...blah...blah. Your kids are not going to remember most of this, but how you made them feel. What you were like as a parent and person is what they will be telling their grandkids. Best advice, love them. Play with them, but in your own way. If you do not like playing transformers with them, watch a movie with them, bake with them, dance with them. Just let them see you enjoy life. Let them see your JOY. Let them know you.
If you clean up the toys, they will get them out again. If you wash the windows, they will lick the glass. If you vacuum, they will dump their snack on the carpet. If you are in a rush, someone will crap their pants. These kinds of shenanigans happen with my youngest two, who often have meltdowns simultaneously and often when I get a phone call. This teaches me detachment. To not be so attached to the way things have to look or be. It's nothing personal, they don't even do it on purpose. Don't expect them to be perfect. You don't want robots, that would be boring. It's the same with older kids, only different issues. Making mistakes helps them learn and decide what works for them. Let them grow. Everyday they are changing, so you have to go with the flow. They don't want to hang out with you anymore and think what you say is all wrong. It's a normal part of development and it's nothing personal. Let them have some space to breath. No helicopter parenting here anymore. They are wiser than grown-ups give them credit for.
Your kids are going to get mad at you, give you an attitude, think you are unfair, and all that fun stuff sometimes. Life goes on. Life can be messy and beautiful at the same time. You are teaching your children that relationships are about both sides. The parent isn't always right and it does not make you look weak in showing them this. The old way of parenting doesn't work anymore. Laying down the law, never adjusting the rules, and having them fear you is a bunch of baloney. Cultivate your own style of parenting that will have it's ebb and flow. What worked yesterday may not work today. When they are little they can get over things quick, especially if given a lollipop. With my older kids, I have a habit of trying to make up with them before they are ready, wanting them to talk about their feelings, and wanting peaceful energy again. But they are entitled to their feelings, as well as I am entitled to mine. They can't make me mad, sad, happy, or anything. That is my choice. They are doing, saying, being, and I can react or I can BE, as in be energy. I can the Be Energy of whatever. I can be the energy of peace, love, & joy when I choose to. I can take a deep breath and go to the happy place, even if it seems like there is a carnival-zoo-frat party going on around me. You cannot please everyone and that would not be good for them anyway. Sometimes the best things happen, when plans change.
The idea of being a good parent has good intentions. What I think is the more important thing than trying to impossibly be a perfect parent, is to show them how to be a happy, healthy person. I have missed appointments, shown up to dress rehearsal with my daughter a week too early (she was five and she still won't let me forget it), sent my son to pajama day a day early (that was this year), and many other human moments. I am perfectly me. Back when I was a young Mom, I would beat myself for days over mistakes, replaying it in my head, feeling embarrassed, and worried about what other people would think. Thank God those days are over. I had a lady come up to me on the beach last weekend and tell me what a good Mom I was. She was observing how I dealt with a situation. It was really nice to hear. But I still have my freak out moments, but they are rare now. I use to yell all the time, because I wasn't happy inside. I worked on me. I did the internal work on myself. I can proudly-boldly-unabashedly say...I love myself, which allows me to let my kids be themselves and I can love them unconditionally.
Message that I want all the Moms to hear is to focus on yourself and your energy. Fill up your own love tank. Be FULL of yourself, full of life. Fill up your own cup first and it will be so full that the love spills out into every area of your life and everyone. Really love yourself and you will be teaching the most valuable lesson in the world, to love themselves. When you love yourself, you are happy, you are kind, you thrive. You can teach self-esteem, but they will do what you do, not what you say. What I strive everyday to instill in my kids, by just being me, is to be yourself. Love yourself. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Not everyone is going to get you. Have lots of fun. Do your best, but more importantly be kind to yourself when you make mistakes. Follow your intuition, your inner voice. You can have bliss, joy, peace, and all the good feelings by living in the moment. Appreciate nature. Forgive people and move on. You are always connected to God/Universe/Source. You have guides and angels always loving and supporting you. You are responsible for your own energy. You can raise your vibes when you want. Life is good and it keeps getting better. I often say, "I love life. I love my life." Be in a thankful place and you will receive so much more. Carve your own unique path. Live your own life. Do what makes you happy. You do your own thing, let others do theirs, and respect everyone. I look at my kids as beings that I get to help and guide. They are not property, they are just little people. I love that they teach me as much as I teach them. I let them see me grow, learn, and bloom everyday. Deep breath again, you are doing an amazing job. Relax.