From as far back as I can remember I have wanted to become a mom. I had in fact decided that 12 was a good number to start with. (A crazy notion, I have since discovered.) Then I had the pleasure of becoming “with child,” and I quickly discovered that I was not willing to repeat this “pleasure” 12 times.
My bouncing baby girl came (and then another one) and I discovered that for all the formal training I had in early child development and child psychology, motherhood was not at all the same as the books said it would be. In addition, my mom made it look so easy. So why was it not so for me? As a young mom, I had a little chat with my mom about what she did to be as good a mom as she was to me. This is what I learned:
1. It was no easier for her, she was just better at hiding her insecurities than I.
· Her mom died when she was a teen and she had to raise her little brother with the help of other family members
· She read about and studied parenting
· She watched others and experimented (mostly on me) new techniques
2. Like most mothers eventually discover, she found that what worked on one child did not always work on another.
3. She had a strong faith and a husband that supported her.
* I lacked the supportive husband part but was able to develop the faith part, and I have to say it helped me tremendously.
4. She said that discipline means teaching and she helped us use our mistakes to learn our own lessons rather than punishing us.
* We call that logical consequences today
5. She said the most important part of parenting was to be consistent.
· Set appropriate boundaries
· Allow the child to know the rewards and consequences of staying within or crossing those boundaries
· Make sure your yes is yes and your no is no
· If you need time to think, say so
· Do not allow them to keep asking or the answer will automatically be no (this works like a charm).
6. My mom taught me so much about being a good mother, but the best lesson she taught me was to be myself. She said to:
· “Take time out for you.”
· “Take time out to develop a positive and loving attitude toward yourself and others.”
· “The ‘good book’ says to love our neighbor as ourselves, so try putting yourself in their shoes for a little while.”
· “To treat others the way we want to be treated, even if they do not treat us appropriately.”
· “It is better to laugh than to cry, so always look for the silver lining in things.”
· “Look for the good in people.”
· “Never give up.”
Look back at your relationship with your mom. What did she teach you? If she is still alive call her and let her know you love her, even if you had a rocky relationship with her. Like my Mom said, “everyone has good in them”.