“You can do anything, but not everything.” We’re not sure who said this, but it sums up what motherhood is about. If there's an award for resilience -- mommies deserve it. This profession does not come with a manual It is a non-stop, 24/7, 365 days a year profession, as well as that gift that does not stop giving.
If only motherhood had a guidebook, so many would be lining up to get their hands on it. But there isn’t one. So, moms make do with what is available to them. While some mothers attack it head-on, armed with studies and scientific evidence, others, like myself, just wing it. There is no right or wrong way to deal with child-rearing. What works for your next door neighbor Ana, might not necessarily work for you. But with the advent of the world wide web, millions of other mothers, experienced grandmothers, and even the lady at the checkout at Target, have a thing or two of importance to teach us.
On a good night, mommy gets to sit on the couch and think back on the day/week/month/year that went by. She made it through and she feels good. But there also days that are frustrating -- those sad days when all you want to do is hide out in a deep closet time machine and come out when the kids are all grown up. Those dreadful days when you wished that guidebook was around to point out what went wrong and where you can get a do-over. So, what exactly was it that you did wrong?
10 Baby-ing Too Much
Mommies, listen! We know you want to take care of your kids. And shield them from the wicked world, but wanting what's best and enabling them are two totally different things. Maybe little Johnny comes home with a difficult assignment in Math. Rule of the household is -- no one eats dinner unless all the homework is done. But, Johnny didn’t listen in class and now he can’t properly do it. Mom is so exasperated (not to mention hungry), that she does Johnny’s assignment for him. The family then gets to sit down at dinner and with no one the wiser, right? Wrong.
Johnny did not learn how to do his homework because mom did it for him. Guaranteed that in future she will keep doing small errands, projects, and responsibilities that Johnny needs to be doing for himself. This parent isn’t helping their child gain confidence for a job well done. When a mother constantly relieves children of tough responsibilities, that parent is creating an avenue for insecurity. Little Johnny won’t be as self-reliant when he grows up because mom is always there to bail him out.
9 Out Of This World Diet
Keto, Macro, Atkins -- these are diets that adults follow to maintain a certain physique or lifestyle. They are NOT for children. When parents are deep into #fitspo or #fitislife, they tend to convince other members of the family to do it as well. Hubby doing the Keto is fine, Little Johnny counting his macros is not. Fad diets like the Ketogenic diet can include eating mostly fatty food, cream, and butter while staying away from bread and rice. A growing child needs all the good nutrients his body can get and, while some diets are beneficial to parents, they can be detrimental to children.
Constipation, dehydration, and high cholesterol levels are some of the effects these diets have on kids. Restrictive diets not only mess up the young child's metabolism, they also disrupt the normal growth spurts. Dear mom, please leave your child away from your diet and feed him properly. Fad diets do not do him any good. #healthiswealth
The Superwoman Mom
Moms whiz through the house like Superwoman. Brushing their teeth while reading the paper, making breakfast while scanning bills that need to be paid, and taking a shower while cleaning the shower -- that’s the life of a mom. If there are three (or four) tasks that need to get done at the same time, mom is the one to call. Women, and mothers, in particular, are great at multi-tasking.With a constantly changing set of demands, mothers become expert managers of the home. But while the brain is constantly shifting from one task to another, is it really quality work that you are finishing? Mother’s brains are hardwired to finish multiple tasks, but they are often too distracted to actually enjoy them. You can’t play Jenga with the kids and bake, and text all at the same time. It is possible, but you just might bake the Jenga piece. Oops!
8 That Awesome Lie
Just like fad diets, the latest parenting trend or technique you see online isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Marketing people sell these ideas as, “the best parenting style ever,” for parents to buy into. The How-To-Guide to parenting that sells like hotcakes on that E-shopping website. They are all smoke and mirrors. Good parenting is being observant and present, and an e-book may not have all the answers you are looking for. Books are helpful, yes, but relying on a book or a “technique” to teach you how to raise a child is ill-advised. Sure, get some good tips and try out some suggestions but don’t make the book into a bible for good parenting. Please, put down the book and actually enjoy the day with your child. Go out, plant something, and be present in the experience.
7 Extension Of Us
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6 Parents, Not BFFs
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It is but natural for parents to want to be close to their children. They want to be liked, accepted and have their company enjoyed. Who doesn’t? Parents woo their children with toys and gadgets, listen to the same songs and watch the same movies. Establishing a sort of best friend bond makes parenting easy, with less eye-rolling and door slamming. But responsible parenting also means being firm on discipline and rules and having the children hate you from to time.
Children hating their parents on occasion is natural. Wanting to be besties with your kids is allowing them to be on the same level as you. When parents become a child's BFF, the relationship is on equal footing and the respect and authority is minimized. Parents need to step up and make the hard choices whether their children like it or not.
Angels On Earth
Children are supposed to be loved and not treated like angels on a pedestal. They are the miracles sent to us but they are far from perfect, just like you and me. When they are the center of the home, it is easy to be disappointed when the child makes a mistake or does something wrong. By putting little Johnny on a pedestal, a parent is promoting selfishness. We should love our children naturally, and allow them to make mistakes because that’s what kids do. They stumble and stand back up.
Winning Isn’t Everything
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There is a fine line between winning and forcing a win. Competitiveness and good sportsmanship are good traits to teach a child. “Winning at all costs,” is not. We see this on baseball fields all the time. Another parent is coaching the opposite team and they’re picking on little Johnny because he isn’t a good batter. You’re furious and everything in your body screams, “we have to win and Johnny needs to hit this ball!”Nowadays, little boys are taught to play sports not for the exercise, but for the win. They undergo hours of grueling training to win games. The whole having the fun part of the game got lost somewhere between “perfection” and the need to win “at all costs.” Mediocrity is unacceptable and a child who isn’t winning is sub-par. This attitude is what creates a cycle of children who do not live up to a parent's expectations, which eventually leads to a disappointed and depressed adult.
5 Getting Their Hands Dirty
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Kids grow up too fast. Yesterday they were collecting My Little Pony toys and today they don’t want their friends to see you hold their hands or kiss them on the cheek. Time flies so fast and before you know it, they prefer hanging out at a friend’s house rather than vegging in front of the television with you. You stare at the countless DVDs on the dresser and wonder if you can turn back time.
Raising children is a bag full of stress and anxiety. There are days when you wish you owned a time machine and could program it to take you forward to a time when the kids are all grown up and able to fend for themselves. Will they grow up to be good citizens? Will they get married and have grandchildren? Thinking ahead is a good exercise for mothers, it makes them smile and look forward to the future. Kids need to be kids, and they need to discover the world around them. When kids are forced to be adults, they are robbed of the opportunity to be youthful and childlike.
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Parents should understand that actions speak louder than words. Children tend to emulate a parent's actions -- it’s not idolatry, but rather knowing that what mom does is what is correct. So, moms and dads need to be extra careful when reacting to certain situations when children are present. Act accordingly and expect kids to follow suit. Actions are examples. How you treat a waiter at the restaurant, how to act during traffic, what you say when someone cuts in line at the bank. How a parent deals with rejection and anger speaks volumes to children and gives them permission to act the same way when they too are in similar situations. These reactions are all stored up for future use. A patient father inadvertently grows a patient child and so on and so forth. Think before you act because someone is copying you.
4 Judgy McJudgerson
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Sometimes we can’t help but be judgemental towards other parents. Since we all have our own styles, we frown upon others who aren’t doing things the same way we do. We are on the defensive when others notice our unconventional ways. We give them the side eye when they point out flaws in our methods. Unknowingly, we do it to others too. It's normal, don’t worry. But is it appropriate?No matter what we think of another parent, it doesn't give us the right to be a Judgy McJudgerson. Our kids should not see us this way, either. In their eyes, they too are allowed to do this. You are giving them permission to diss, laugh, and mock others for being unique, which is a disastrous trait for a child to emulate. There is no right or wrong way of parenting and fellow moms are going through the same crap that you are. It’s best to cut them some slack.
3 Being Neglectful
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2 Nobody's Perfect
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The Snapchat Mom
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1 Take A Chill Pill
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There is a mom in my PTA group who forces her children to get straight A’s and gets mad when they don’t. Of course, we all want to produce smart, intelligent kids. Who doesn’t? We want them to excel in their chosen sports, in their studies, and in everything they do. But don’t be that overbearing mom, please. Having expectations that are too high is doing a disservice to your kids. The level of learning and absorbing differs from child to child. Setting lofty goals may be forcing them to learn up to a level that they cannot reach, which ultimately leads to low self-esteem. If they see you disappointed, they may feel inadequate and like they let you down. This is the time you need to take a chill pill, mommy. Give the little one a break. Let him set the pace for his development and you will both reap the benefits.