Being The Best Mum I Can Be
These reminders have really helped me to have a more positive relationship with my children. I really wanted to share these in case they can help or give you ideas of what you could try with your own children.
I think about how lucky I am to be a mum.... FULL STOP! There are millions of people who desperately would love to be a mother or father and may not be able to for many reasons. I feel extremely blessed to have three healthy children who can run, jump, talk, aren't suffering extreme food allergies, can see, hear, understand and learn about the world around them. These are all miracles that we take for granted daily. Having grown up with my Dad a firefighter and now my husband is a firefighter, I too often see the devastation that unexpectedly hits families every week - deaths, injuries, loss. It's heart breaking. We need to remember that we are so lucky to be here, to have these amazing human beings in our care and really be in the moment each and every day. As annoying as it is when that old lady in the supermarket stops you to say how much you should treasure this time while they are young because it flies by so fast - I have to say - it is very true indeed. One day they wont want those extra snuggles at night, or that kiss in front of their friends or they won't need you to help them with much at all as they are now an independent adult .... that will be heart breaking in many ways (yes I know there will also be a lot to be excited about with these times).
Now, of course when we are tired, over worked, stressed, snowed under with housework and not at our optimal health we find it hard to be thankful, BUT these are especially the times we need to be grateful, more than ever! I can't always be calm and patient immediately by thinking of these things, but I try my absolute hardest each day to be grateful for what I have and for being a mum. You can try writing in a gratitude journal each morning before waking (or night if that suits you best), just a few lines that's all. I try to list two or three things each day and if I can't write them down I at least say them to myself to remember how blessed I am. It's even more powerful in the morning so you can start your day with an open and loving heart. Please remember this takes practice - try it for two weeks and see how you feel.
I now say YES more. I read this somewhere a couple of years back and it really hit home. I say no so often and I thought it was always a valid answer but when I started to take notice of how much I was saying no and then asked myself "why" was I saying no, I realised I am often being a total party pooper and causing myself more grief and stress by always declining my children's requests. Now let's not confuse this point with times that you must say no or it really is inappropriate to say yes, common sense comes into play here. For me, I started to ask - does it really matter if the kids play a board game before dinner? Ok well they won't have finished it before dinner is ready but why can't they still set it up on the mat and play until dinner is to be served? Isn't it better that they are entertained, learning, playing, interacting with their siblings and busy while I finish off the night's meal? Another is - can't we play at the park one afternoon after school instead of going immediately home to do homework? The homework isn't going anywhere, the memories and fun they will have for that hour will be more beneficial that starting a little later. So I took this tip on board and I just started saying YES more often, especially when I couldn't think of a really good reason why not. This new rule I adopted has brought so much more happiness and peace into our home. I even find we communicate better with the kids as they aren't always being told no you can't.
I listen to hear what my children are actually telling me, not with the reaction to reply. This is about truly being in the moment. Stopping what you are doing, getting down to your child's level and really listening to them. Watch them closely, look into their eyes, listen to each word. We don't do this often enough. We get so caught up with the one million jobs we have to do that often we don't truly listen to what our children are saying and just hastily reply with an answer. You can begin with some time each afternoon where you stop what you are doing and be totally present with your child. Put the phone down, turn the TV off and sit with your child to let them know you are there, you are right beside them listening to what they want to talk about. It doesn't have to be an in depth conversation (although it can be if that is where this time leads your child), it may be about their favourite toy at the moment or an up coming event they are excited about. Listen, be present, stop your other distractions and let your mind be with your child and their words. This can be really powerful for your relationship with your child.
I will always be their number one fan. Life is going to throw enough challenges and curve balls at them to last a life time. Other children at school, work colleagues when they are older and people they meet along their journey of life will provide enough criticism and negative feedback that they often won't deserve or need. So as their parent, especially for me as their Mum, I want them to always know I have their back, I am here no matter what and I will support them throughout life, even when they make terrible decisions or go against advice I may provide. Sometimes we need to let our kids make mistakes so they can learn from them but we can be there to help them back up when they fall. I want to give all my children wings to follow their dreams and their hearts, but I want them to always know that they have a home with me and will always have a number fan cheering them on.