I read a post on Happy to be at Home about Important Reminders For Mom. It was rather uplifting...worth the read and not very lengthy. A real nice feel-good post. Their reminders were:
1. You matter.
2. You are wonderful.
3. You can succeed.
4. You are loved.
5. You are smart.
6. You can't do it alone.
7. You need to recharge.
8. You can't do it all.
9. You matter.
This got me thinking about what reminders I would pass on to another mom. Things that not only would make them feel good, but maybe get rid of a little of that mommy guilt so many are prone to. So here's my contribution to Important Reminders:
1. Your house WILL be a mess. Unless you get up, dress the kids and leave until bedtime, your house WILL be a mess. That means EVERYBODY. Now, if it is important to you (or your spouse) you can spend lots of time keeping it showplace clean. If you do, you won't be doing something else, like playing in the middle of that mess with the kids, experimenting and teaching kids to cook in the kitchen, and laying around on the couch reading books or just cuddling with the kids. Pick one. Having both makes you neurotic or at least cranky. House are to LIVE in - not feature in a magazine spread while raising little ones. Most people that have super clean houses will confess behind closed doors that they should be spending more time enjoying their kids. BUT - that doesn't mean you don't clean the house...it just means that you don't expect it to look that way all day! Live fully in your home, with your kids! (And homeschoolers have this times ten!!!)
2. You will be late. If you plan on being somewhere 30 minutes early...you might get there on time. Really. You have to plan on early or just forget it. The more kids you have, the more true this is. I used to think the younger the kids were the more true this was...but I have intimate knowledge on how that statement is not true...don't believe it. So - decide. Do you care if you are late? If you do, get in the habit of telling yourself your appointed time is 30 minutes earlier than it is. If it's not important, so be it! In either case let go of the guilt. If you are early, don't let the late mom's make you feel guilty for it. If you are late, same goes. Decide your take on it and live it fully.
3. Vomit, urine, poo and buggars will not kill you. But they might make you puke. There is no shame in this. Unfortunately, as the adult, one of these days you will have to deal with one of these things...even if your spouse has handled it up to now. One day they will be at work, or out of town. Prepare yourself. And know that when you get old...the shoe will be on the other foot. See, God is all about justice.
4. Every parent/child relationship is different. Think about it. Your relationship with your child will be different from your spouses relationship with your child. Your childrens relationship will be different with each of their siblings. You will have a different relationship with each of your children. In a house of 4 that is 12 different relationships going on. This is why what works for your friend and her kids won't always work for yours. Don't expect all advice will be good advice for you and your child. AND THAT IS OKAY. It is even good!
5. Know your boundaries and rules and stand by them. (That does not mean never change your mind or opionion.) When it comes time for the teen years, you'd better know WHY you have that rule/boundary. A teen will debate you. If you don't give them a why you have that rule it will be broken(because I said is a red flag to disobey). And know that sometimes, when that child debates you, you will learn something new or change your mind or see their side and change your mind. Totally allowed. But, if you don't have reasons/beliefs for your rules/standards, you will be debated to the kids side every time because you have nothing to stand on. You will not be respected, and you had better hold on for the ride you are about to be taken on. It's not pretty to be a wishy/washy parent to a teen in today's society. I've seen this so many times...and the heartbreak that follows. WHY do you have that rule? Know it. Stick by it. Have the discussion - and an open mind. Funny thing, when you have strong reasons for your rules, you very rarely change your mind...but it does happen.
6. You don't OWE your child every experience that comes his way. The easiest way to explain this is by example. When we were to travel to China to adopt our youngest, I was having a hard time with whether or not to take the oldest two. It was a huge financial thing, but I could not imagine going to China and not providing them with an experience like that. My father pointed out that we didn't have to provide them with every experience that came around. They could both go to China any time they wanted as adults. Wow. So true. Needless to say, I didn't take them, and don't regret it. Same goes with sports, dance, camps, trips and music lessons. If you CAN do it and want to....do it! If it puts a strain on the budget, ties up too much time away from home, makes the schedule too full, or you just don't want to....then don't! They can grow up and still do these things if they have an interest. There is almost never a "once in a lifetime" event that can't be dulplicated by an interested adult. And if you haven't fallen into this trap of providing over-much, when those once in a lifetime things do come up it is so much easier to say yes.
7. College is not a given. I can hear the collective gasp. Really, there is no law that says you have to pay for your child's college. NOW, let me state that I believe in paying for your kids college. But I also have limits. I will not automatically pay for college of a C/D/F student -- especially if they don't want to go. Talk about flushing money down the toilet. We currently only pay half of our son's tuition - and he's lucky to get that. His grades were ok the last 2 years of high school, but he didn't even WANT to go to college. We only paid half to get him to go at all. But knowing we coerced him into going did not make me want to take all the financial risk. If he owned part of that money he is more likely to pay attention to passing. And I'm thankful we did this as last semester he dropped to C's and one D. I'd be highly p.o.ed at him if I'd paid in full for those grades- but as it is, I'm not worried about it, even though its stupid as he is so smart. Also, if you can't swing it, there is the military. (Another loud collective gasp). They pay for college. So if you have a kid that has no immediate interest in going to college - or no money to send them - this is an alternative. So, as a parent, it is not ILLEGAL to not pay for your child's college. But if it is important to you, no matter what, DO IT. Just don't be guilted into it because of popular opinion.
8. Doctors and Teachers are not God. They don't always know what is best for your child. They do not have half or even a quarter of the interest in your child's well-being as you do. They can be wrong. And if you challenge them they will do everything they can to tear you down as a parent and make you out to be a bad guy. Know this in advance. Do your research. Know WHY you are disagreeing and go with your gut. Shots are a good example. There is plenty of research to support both opionions on vaccinations. Know your stand, WHY you take that stand, and be open to hearing and researching what someone else has to say. Do this and you won't have guilt. YOU (and your family) are the only one on this planet that will give 100% to fight for your child. You have the right to fight. Don't be a doormat to a talking college degree. THEY CAN BE WRONG.
9. Love is not all you need. Know that there are children out there that are hard to love. Children that don't want to be loved. Children with disorders that don't allow themselves to be loved. Even if you are one of the majority of people that never deals with this type of child, know that they are out there. And that kid over there acting so badly, might be one of them. Support the mother, don't trash her. It is not always a parenting issue. Too many people are not aware of the very real issues some children have, and are very judgemental of the parents. Withhold that judgement - because you just don't know which one of these mom's is in the battle of her life...and not the cause of it.
So there you go. Some of my mommy lessons. I hope that others that read this will pass on their mommy advice. Share some knowledge ladies!