When people say they are trying for a baby, or want to be parents, I am not the person that is like, “Oh that’s great! It’s the best job ever.” Why you ask? Because I am not a liar. I will always tell you how it is or how I see it, even if it isn’t a pretty story with a happy ending. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have. Yeah sure maybe, Suzy McPerfect, looks like she is the new Marth Stewart Mary Poppin’s but she is struggling with some part of the gig too. We all have our weaknesses, and your kids will find them. Or if they can’t find them, they will create news one’s for you.
I love my kids very much, but lots of days I struggle with feeling like a bad mom. I am a problem solver, but when you’re a mom, there are problems that you cannot solve. When I cannot solve a problem, I feel helpless. Being a mom and felling helpless is the lowest of low feelings. Can any of you relate? For example, how do you make those kids at school that used to be friends with your son, be friends with him again? Or at least be nice to him?
How can you make all the pain your kid is feeling go away?
How do you get your kids to be respectful? How do you get them to listen? How do you teach them to love themselves? How do you deal with big emotions, that you yourself don’t even understand?
You can ask others how they parents, and they may help to some extent. But really the question remains, how do you get your kids to know their actions have consequences? How do you parent a young child, so when they are in high school and they are asked to do something, they are able to weigh out if that choice will be worth the consequence? When my daughter Charlotte, is peer pleasured to take my Lamborghini for a spin while I am out of town, I want her to decide if that is the right thing to do. I want her to do the math, understand the positive and negatives that will come from that joyride, and make her choice. I want her to have the wherewithal to know, if I take my mom’s car out, I will loose other things that are more important to me, so I will choose not to.
I want our kids to know, that lying, drugs, drinking and driving, stealing, sex, you name it, are all choices they will have to be made in their lifetime. The choices they make will shape their lives. A question that I am always asking myself is, what can I do as a parent to prepare them to make the right choices?
As a newer mom looking for help, I first tried talking with other moms. I got a few good tips but nothing that was giving me the framework I was looking for. My son, Oliver, bless him, is extremely challenging. No consequence worked, no prize would encourage good behavior, so I went and asked who I always ask for help. Google. Oh man, finding the magic sauce for a difficult child on dear old Dr. Google, was overwhelming to say the least.
I did find a few books I highly recommend:
I found a few social media moms, that give parenting such a positive spin with a side of humor which I started to follow. My favorite tell it how it is, inspirational mom is @kristinakuzmic
But overall, I was drowning and in need of a life raft. I had remembered going to a Mommy event, about potty training that was led by a Parent Coach. The definition of what I needed at that moment, was a coach. I needed someone to help with the things I didn’t know how to handle. Cheer me on, tell me I am a good mom, that I can do this job, because at that moment I felt like I couldn’t.
We were so lucky to find a local Parenting Coach that actually teaches you how to conquer the challenges of being a parent. Bette Alkazian is magical, even my husband recommends her to his friends! There is no other word to describe how she can take a situation that you are totally lost in, and make it make sense. All while teaching you how to parent better. How to raise better human beings. How to partner with your spouse to be a better team. She tackles all topics, like death, divorce, and illness. When you see her, she gives you new tools to use right away, so you are ready to parent with positive outcomes! Some of her gems:
Do not feed the alley cats you don’t want to stick around.
Do your kids roll their eyes at you? Do you react? Do you tell them not to do that, that it is disrespectful? You are feeding an alley cat, you don’t want around. Ignore the behavior, and eventually it will vanish. This is an epic tool that will be handy for a lifetime, it take patients but pays off big time!
Acknowledge their feelings
Do not be worried about getting the emotion wrong, your kids will correct you. When they are having big feelings, recognize them. This starts as early a the tantrum phase. "Wow, you are frustrated." “Wow, those word were really mean, you must be feeling angry” “I am hearing such sad words, you must be feeling sad” “you look like you need to go to room to calm down. I am looking forward to talk about it after you turn it around” A lot of time, kids don’t even know what they are feeling. So, by giving them the words to say, we are teaching them about emotions. We are also letting them know, we understand, acknowledge and see them.
Consequence should be between your child and their action. Is your child is throwing a ball in the house when that is against the rules? Take the ball away.
Did your child hit their sibling, remove them from group, “Hitting is not allowed, if you are going to be unsafe to your sister you will have to go be alone in your room.” Or “Your behavior is showing me that you need to be in another room”, then exit them from the room. Most kids want to be where the action is, so removing them from the group, is the best way for them to reset. Giving a consequence that doesn’t match the crime is just confusing to a little one.
Be specific in your praise
I am notorious for saying, I love when ____. I love when you listen. I love how clean your room is. But that is confusing because I love my kids all the time, not just when they do good things. Bette suggested using specifics such as: thank you for listening the first time, you cleaned up all the cars! That was a hard job! Great Job! Make sure you are praising your kids often.
Bette is going to be doing some virtual session in the near future, if you don’t live in the southern California area. If you are in need or feel as lost as I did please consider finding a coach or mentor that can guide you through this crazy ride they call parenthood. She also does FREE session once a month around the area, check out Coffee with Bette!
My final thought, I just finished reading, Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Her chapters on being a mom are 1000% worth reading! Her guidance on how to talk to yourself when you are in the midst of a mommy moment or if you are feeling like a bad mom, is spot on. To paraphrase, she suggests asking yourself:
Does my child feel loved? YES. Then you tell yourself, I am doing a good job.
Are they safe and feed? YES. Then you tell yourself, I am doing a good job.
Are you showing and teaching them how to be good people? YES. Then you tell yourself, I am doing a good job!
My job is to love my children, provide a safe home for them, and to raise them with morals and values. I do this every single day, and I do it well. But the problem is I start to judge myself by the other things that come along with being a parent. The teachers. The friends. The drama. The electronics. The homework. The play dates. The stuff. What it really comes down to, is all that other stuff, is extra credit. The point is, you are doing a great job. And we as women need to slow down and celebrate that our kids are loved, cared for and growing up to know what is right and wrong. When you are overwhelmed, remember to ask yourself, the three questions above. You are a good mom, don't you forget it!
XO – Be Deliberate!