How to Be a Better Mom
Five Parenting Resolutions You Can Commit To
You don’t need to do a complete overhaul of your parenting style to be a better mom. Make five small changes that can have a big impact.
We all know that one supermom who seems like she has it all together. She has an amazing career, chairs the school fundraising committee, bakes cookies for the soccer team and looks like she stepped out of a magazine, every day. She’s the kind of mom who makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong. But what if all you needed to do to become a better mom was to make a few minor changes?
Your child wants to you to listen to him. Really listen. Put your phone down, clear your mind of the 10 things you need to do at work tomorrow, and listen to what your child has to say. As an adult, you likely find it frustrating when you’re talking to someone who is only giving you half his attention. It can also make you feel like what you have to say isn’t valued. Your child needs that same validation that what’s important to him is important to you. Listening will also help you stay attuned to how your child is feeling and what challenges he might be going through. There are fewer surprises for the mom who has been paying attention.
Build Your Child Up
When life gets busy, it’s easy to focus on the things kids are doing wrong. Parents can be quick with a “Cut it out!” or “That’s enough!” Although there are times when you need to correct undesirable behavior, you can also help your child develop confidence by pointing out the things he does right. Compliments are most effective when they are specific. “Good job!” is nice to hear, but “I was really proud of you when you helped your opponent get up during the race” is better. Set a goal to catch your child being good, and see what happens.
There seems to be an attitude among parents that children should be kept very, very busy. There are sports to play, lessons to take and clubs to join. And kids must do well at every one of them. But overscheduling children and pressuring them to achieve does not always equate to happiness. On the contrary, it can leave children longing for a quiet weekend at home doing nothing. So before you sign them up for one more thing, think about carving out some downtime.
Spend Time Together
You might think all your kids want are more toys, but really, they want your time. And you can teach them that experiences and memories are more valuable than stuff. Eat together as a family, play a board game, or have a movie night. And since you’ve been focusing on listening and have freed up their schedule, it shouldn’t be hard to find an activity you know they like and the time to do it.
Let Go of the Guilt
You don’t have to look very hard to find parenting advice. It’s in magazines, on talk shows, coming from your well-intentioned friend and maybe even coming from your mother-in-law. And while seeking out advice and tuning in to research can be helpful, it can also lead to self-doubt. There’s more than one way to do things, and when it comes right down to it, you know your children best. So let go of the mom guilt and know that you’re doing the best you can and that your best is really, really good. Just as you don’t expect perfection from your children, don’t expect it from yourself either.