And I am a mother.
And sometimes I wonder (obsess) about whether or not I am being a good mom, and what thing I am doing (screwing up) unwittingly will be my son’s opening line when he walks into his therapist’s office in, say, 15-20 years.
Thankfully, like you, I’m not going through this life on an island and, even if I only pay attention a fraction of the time, wisdom soaks in.
So, here are the five mom wisdoms that quiet the doubts and remind me that I’m working way too hard. Thank you to my beautiful mother and all the moms – and dads and just people in general – who continue to shape us.
Make eye contact and smile. Ok, time to get serious, people. Three years of graduate school in psychology summed up in five words. Making eye contact and conveying love…it outweighs all the other schtuff. I’ve witnessed the lack of it – and the change that can come over a child when they receive it. Transforms the situation, or the mood in a flash. Who doesn’t want to be looked upon with unconditional acceptance and admiration? Without this, we are all screwed.
It’s not what you do, it’s what you do next that counts. So sometimes you’re not your “best self.” Great news! There’s always a next moment. Go apologize, you dumb-dumb. We all mess up. If you’ve gone off the deep end, jump out, dry yourself off and go make amends. Make it right. You would do this with a friend. Why not your child? (Thanks to the awesome relationship coach Kat Kehres Knect for this wisdom – I use it daily!)
You learn something new every day. Yep. Everyone. It’s a proven, scientific fact. (I’m sure. Right?) That means that no only do I have the opportunity to improve upon yesterday, but so do kids. Life is a continuum. This means that the white lie told today does not automatically equate into white collar crime with bail set at $2.2 million.
It’s not your life, Mom. It’s mine. Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow. My son’s life IS NOT mine. I’m his guardian. His teacher. His mentor. His protector. But even at his ripe old age of six, I can see that THIS IS HIS LIFE. (Seriously, I knew that before he was born. The kid has an iron will.) The more I micromanage, the more things get funky. Thanks to Billy Joel for this pearl.
Every moment is a teachable moment, but maybe not by you. Get off the soapbox, Laura. Kids learn through experiences. Not (just) through lectures. I learned when I was seven that stepping on your sister’s foot while you’re wearing an ice skate is a very mean thing to do. Not because she told on me and my parents put me in a time out or lectured me. But because she DIDN’T SAY A WORD. And I thought that was noble and wanted to be like her.