There is always tomorrow…

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One of the many things about motherhood is constantly feeling like you are just never doing enough.  The feeling like you’re not spending enough time with all of your kids  or the feeling that in a particular situation you just screwed up royally and somehow are going to severely damage your kid in some way. Yes… motherhood is beautiful and rewarding but it can also be extremely overwhelming.  Like running a damn marathon that never ends.  You stop for quick water breaks but it just keeps going and going and going. Sometimes you are in the lead and at times you, my friend , are getting your ass kicked.   We’ve all been through it! You, your mother, your grandmother, this see saw…going up and down is completely normal and if anyone dares to tell you different, they are lying to your face! Actually, many times those who seem to have it the most together sometimes are going through the most difficult times. So now that you know that you are “normal” and are not alone, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you not get as “dizzy”  during those ups and downs of motherhood.

Forgive yourself: If you don’t forgive yourself no one else will. Whether you made a mistake, maybe went too far, or screwed up major, you have to remember that you are not perfect. You will make mistakes (sometimes big ones) and that is just a part of being human plus in most cases your kids won’t remember half those mistakes that you make. Luckily those little pumpkins love you unconditionally and tend to remember the awesome times and the successes.  You have be able to forgive yourself in order to move on otherwise those feelings of guilt and insecurity will linger and will affect future parenting.  You will never stop learning and part of learning is making mistakes and overcoming difficult times.

Appreciate and point out the successes: This might be the most difficult one (especially those of us that want nothing but perfection). But no matter how small of a success, focus on the positive and bask in your glory.  Those glimpses of success are what keep you going, what keep you motivated,so don’t ignore those.  You might make mistakes but enjoy the good times. Focus on when you actually got it right! The more you focus on the positive the better you will feel and the  more positive energy you will bring to yourself and your family. There is perfection in imperfection:)

There is always tomorrow: This one has to be my favorite. It is what will get you through the most difficult day.  Whether you lost your cool, forgot to pick up someone from soccer practice, or were too tired to play Legos with your little one, there is always tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be better and you then have another opportunity to get it right.  Don’t stress yourself out by feeling like you have to get everything in one day…there is always tomorrow.  Thinking this will help with those stress levels that sometimes can get us in that “crazy mommy” mode.

So next time you are getting sick on the roller coaster that we know as motherhood, stop, take a breath, and remember that you are not perfect and its OKAY! You are not alone and no matter how down you are feeling or how bad it was, you will always have another opportunity to make things right. Hang in there!

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Good Manners: Modeling is everything:)

A few nights ago my eldest and I decided to spend some time together and catch a movie.  Some “girl time” as she calls it since she feels like there are now just too many boys in the house…LOL.  She (being an 11 year old) refused all of the movie options I chose (of course) and we finally decided on a PG 13 movie that I thought she would be ready for.  As my daughter pointed out the theater was “infested” by teenagers. She was holding on to me so tight, walking with embarrassment at the sight of groups of boys and girls on phones or talking loudly in the theater as well as those awkward couples (who were totally on first dates).

We finally sat down and  as we waited for the movie to begin ,we noticed an elderly couple looking for a seat.  They asked several groups of young kids if they would move down in order for them to be able to sit together but they were repeatedly denied or looked at (with that why the hell are you talking to me? look). No one moved and no one tried to help them (go figure) so as they made their way down to us I told Katelyn to get ready to scoot down. I had an empty seat next to me and Katelyn had an empty seat next to her.   She responded with “Mommy nooooo!!!!”  (she usually likes to have space and not sit next to anyone she doesn’t know).  I quickly explained to her that those two nice folks wanted to sit together like her and I and if there is any space the right thing to do is to help. “Do you want us to scoot down so you can sit together?” I asked the couple who were looking around a bit anxiously, since the movie was about to begin.  They both were extremely relieved and the woman responded with “see…there are still some nice people around.”

I later had a talk with Katelyn about the importance of manners and just doing the right thing in certain situations like that.  I would like for her (even if her friends are not) to be able to just do the right thing and exhibit good manners.  Something that unfortunately from what I have noticed working with young people is lacking nowadays.

A lot of times manners are looked at as not important, BUT do we really not want to prioritize how well we treat one another? I mean… isn’t that how misunderstandings and conflicts start? how bullying begins? how people begin acting as though they are entitled vs gracious?  Aren’t these skills things that they will need to be successful in the real world when they are dealing with other people?

Well, in our home manners are a priority.  I’m not talking about the “which fork do I use for a salad?” type of manners, but I am talking about the basic ones.  Thank you, please, holding the door for someone, saying excuse me, not interrupting, basic table manners (like not talking with your mouth full and not eating with hands..LOL), when to not use electronics, how to introduce yourself and others and how to response to basic questions. I am sure there are more but those are the ones that we are focusing on. Our talks about manners have been on going since the early years but in our parenting adventure we quickly realized that like everything else, teaching manners was all about modeling.

No…I’m not talking about good ol’ runway modeling (I wish), I am talking about being a “role model”.  One of the hardest things about parenting. Why? because it is impossible for us to be perfect role models all the time, we are not perfect, and we do make mistakes. The concept of modeling means to not only  TELL your kids and REMIND them to  “be nice” “be kind” “say thank you”. When it comes to teaching manners we must also SHOW them how.  It’s what folks call  the “Walk the talk” type of parenting.  So in those cases you wait for a real life situation so that you can model those manners.  God knows that there have been plenty of times when I have not modeled the appropriate behavior. For example last week when an older gentleman, who had no business driving in the first place, cut me off made me swerve to miss him, and I swiftly had to tell him a piece of  my freakin mind with lots of explicit words (forgetting that the kids were in the car)…OOPS.  But seriously, when it comes to modeling no one is saying that you must be perfect. As long as more often than not you are modeling the right way to do things, especially when dealing with manners, you are good to go. KIDS are SMART and they will be quick to catch you BS’ing if your actions don’t reflect what you are saying.

So I am glad that Katelyn experienced that, I am glad that she felt a bit uncomfortable (learning is not always easy), I am glad that she saw the sight of two people who were truly appreciative for our actions, and I hope that she remembers this next time she is in a similar situation.  I mean that is all we can hope for right….  That some of that information stays in that noggin…LOL

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Homework Blues

“YOU HAVE BEEN DOING HOMEWORK FOR AN HOUR NOW AND HAVE ONLY COMPLETED TWO QUESTIONS?!!!!,” I shouted angrily after barging into his bedroom confused that he had not come downstairs for such a long time.  “But mooooooooom….. he responded looking scared and frustrated at the same time. A tear streaming down his cheek.

I mean I tried to be nice and allowed him to take a small break once he got home from school and then we both set a time for him to begin work and he agreed.  I also let him go upstairs to complete his homework.  I mean he’s 8 years old how bad could that be?  And most importantly while he was in his room I did not scream or come up the stairs to check on him.  Trying out the “non helicopter parent” method (kudos to me).  Everything I had read in books, articles, and watched on TV I had tried but it still did not change the outcome AND it had ended the same, him crying and me feeling bad about letting my frustration get to me.

So how do I allow my child to have the independence that they need but have them complete their work and be self motivated (without me nagging or screaming my guts out?).  I want to give my child the skills that he will need to be a self sufficient human being and I want them to do the right thing even if I am not there to tell them. This is the true struggle and its never easy but there are a few things that through my mommy experience have helped me during this struggle.  It is not an easy fix because honestly when it comes to parenting, there is never one;)

Routine & Expectations- A routine is definitely necessary when it comes to homework time.  Your child should know where they will be doing their homework and when they will begin to do their homework. This is something that you and your child should decide together so that he/she is more invested. Also, setting other expectations such as reviewing homework together after they are finished, etc are things that your child should be aware of.  The most important thing about routines and expectations are that you must be consistent.  Children are smart and if you are not consistent and do the same thing daily, they will take advantage.

Keep you reminders to a minimum- Lets keep it real.  No one wants to hear your voice nagging and screaming and reminding your child of what he/she needs to do for homework. Your kid, your husband, the family pet, and in some cases the neighbor don’t need to hear this. For some reason we mommies think that the more we say it the more we will be heard. Wrong…our kids stop listening after you say something one or twice.  If you want it to have any type of impact, keep it to a  minimum.

Have them learn from their mistakes- Look……. none of us want our children to not do well in school, but the reality is that our kids need to learn that their actions have consequences.  That is the reality.  We can’t bail them out forever and if we want to build some kind of self motivation within our child, they have to experience making mistakes. If they decide to not complete their homework or maybe they left the book they needed in their class and can’t complete an assignment, there is no better lesson than having them go through the process of dealing with their teacher or possibly dealing with you (if it is a pattern and they get in trouble for it).  That means that they might not get that Homework Star certificate for the semester or they might be grounded for a phone call home but either way they are receiving consequences and in most cases these will be motivators themselves for them to do better.

Remember you are dealing with a kid –  This is one of my favorites because we seem to hold our children to crazy standards and forget that they are just kids.  Kids are supposed to make mistakes because of lack of experiences, because of where they are developmentally, because they are just little people in and adult world. So try to cut them some slack.

And finally my other favorite (NOT!!!)  Keep your cool- This can be the most difficult.  When we are frustrated and are having one of those days (in my case lack of coffee, lack of sleep and a Latina temper), the easy thing to do is to scream and lose it…. BUT DON’T. When you do this it not only scares your child (or you sometimes) but it also becomes a power struggle. There is no better medicine for this than to walk away and take a few minutes in your favorite room (in my case its my bathroom). You can’t take back mean comments and words…those always linger.

Hope this helps you awesome mommies! Happy Parenting:)

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