As I walk through my house I see my daughter’s forgotten lunch box, my son’s forgotten jacket, a sink full of dishes and an overflowing hamper. What I hear in my head is, “I’m a bad Mom”. My child is cold = bad mommy. My child is hungry= bad mommy. I’m a lousy housekeeper = bad Mommy. When my child eats too much sugar & watches too much TV, I think “bad mommy”. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve taught enough classes and coached enough clients to hear this theme repeating throughout this generation of Moms. When did this happen? I’m pretty sure my Mom’s generation didn’t judge themselves the same way, (ok, maybe a dirty house meant you were a bad wife) but there wasn’t the same emphasis on being a good Mom. I love the advancements we have made towards understanding what is good for kids and how children deserve our respect, time, and devoted attention. The problem is, believing you are “a bad Mom” does not help you parent any better. When parents are stressed, we usually lean towards being overly permissive, or overly authoritative. Stress does nothing to motivate us and instead creates inconsistent, negative parenting that we are not proud of.
Somehow, our culture got a mixed up idea that “good parents don’t let their children suffer”. This is leading to a generation of kids who are afraid to take chances, move out of Mom’s house and have a sense of entitlement. Perfect parenting is stressful and teaches kids that being perfect is the goal of life. It’s time for the parenting culture we are living in to change from one of “perfection” to one of “growth”.
Most parents deny being a “helicopter parent” but when I ask who would drive their child’s lunch to school after they forgot it at home, most say they would. I’ve done it three times myself, BUT I’M STOPPING TODAY! Instead I’m going to think about what lessons I am robbing my children of by coming to their rescue every time?
What can you learn from a forgotten lunch box?
I can skip a meal, feel hunger, and it’s fine. I can survive a mishap. People forget things and that’s ok. Mistakes happen. People share what they have. The Universe provides. People like to help others. People are generous. Carrots taste better when you are really hungry.
What can you learn from a forgotten jacket?
Compassion, strength, how to keep your body warm in other ways, resourcefulness (the lost and found is a gold mine!), friends and strangers care about you, suffering is temporary and nothing to be afraid of, you are stronger than you thought.
What can you learn from a messy house?
Some work always gets done, there are higher priorities, it’s ok to let other’s help you, your mess does not define you, perfection is not important, not everyone has the same strengths, if I don’t like it, I can change it. Kids might decide to take matters into their own hands, in which case they learn to create change and use their dissatisfaction to improve their life.
Switching your perspective from doing everything perfectly, to learning and growing from every opportunity sets a great example for our kids. They learn to be human, make mistakes, grow, take risks, struggle, survive, experiment, and pick themselves back up again. When I was in school, I was terrified of making a mistake so I opted out. I answered questions with “I don’t know”, I never raised my hand, never tried hard, and kept quiet. It wasn’t until I went to college and heard others talk about their school experiences that I realized how much I missed out on. Life is meant to be lived, fully and with freedom to be yourself. Avoiding problems is avoiding life. As parents, we can’t be open to learning and improving when we are berating ourselves about how bad we are. It’s time to embrace our mistakes as learning opportunities and every day, ask “Was I better today than yesterday?” and “Where can I praise my child’s effort instead of his/her result?” Perfection will never be achieved but growth, is doable.
I love to hear what you think equals “bad mommy”. Crying kids? Injured kids? Disappointed kids? When you are stressed, do you err on the side of overly authoritative or overly permissive? Jump over to my facebook page and let me know.