Every morning I wake up and I think, today I’m going to try to be a better parent than the day before. I always want to strive to be the best mom to my kids, some days I throw in the towel early but I always try to start on the right foot.
On the morning of New Year’s Day, I feel an even greater sense of wanting to be the best mom to my kids for the entire year. A lofty goal and really, an impossible resolution.
But isn’t that all resolutions? A bar set too high. Feel free to insert some mushy quote about shooting for the moon and landing among the stars here.
However, one resolution I am going to try is to watch what I say, or more like carefully choose my words when talking to my children so that I never put them down.
Of course, I would never intentionally put either of my children down but sometimes I catch myself saying things that frankly are demeaning.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said to my four year old, “How many times I have I told you, to put your shoes on,” or “I’ve asked you a hundred times to put your dish away.”
All of the connections in a small child’s brain aren’t connected yet and they aren’t hardwired to keep memories. So as a parent, I know I have to ask my child a couple of times to do something or help her to not get distracted.
But in the moment, or when we are running late, I get frustrated and say something mean like, “How many times will I ask you to put your shoes on before you do it?” I would never talk like this to another adult and I couldn’t imagine someone like my boss saying this to me.
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In reality, I will have to ask her multiple times, that is how she will learn. A child’s brain has to process so much and we shouldn’t expect them to understand or do things quickly. I shouldn’t make my daughter feel bad about that.
Jane Nelsen, the author of the Positive Discipline Series hit the nail on the head.
“Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly,” she said. “Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?”
Another off the cuff saying I am going to try to stop is comparing my daughters. That sounds so terrible as I write this but hear me out. My older daughter is cautious while the younger one is a lot more daring. They are two totally different children and yet, I’ve caught myself telling the older one, well your younger sister is doing it, why can’t you?
I shouldn’t be making her feel bad because her sister will jump into the pool, for example, while she is too scared.
I know I sound like a broken record but being a mom is hard.
That doesn’t mean I won’t strive to be the best I can be for them.
Cheers to the new year, may you enjoy at least one cup of hot coffee, one day without a toddler meltdown and a whole lot of cuddles this year.