It’s interesting how friendships occur throughout a lifetime. In school we make friends with people involved in similar activities. In college we make friend with those who live in close proximity and whose schedules fit our own. Then if after marriage we become parents, the kids take over the friend making process. We find ourselves spending time with the parents of our kid’s friends. We make play dates and plan school parties together. We go on field trips, attend school plays, and sit in the stands together. Over time, we blink and find that together we’ve raised a generation. Though sometimes we disagree and make different choices, we are bonded in parenthood.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to share some wisdom I’ve picked up from some fabulous, fellow mothers.
A (The improv mom): “Don’t negate. Say yes, but with limitations.” “Yes, you may have a cookie after we eat dinner,” softens the blow where a “No” would have sparked a nuclear meltdown. Save yourself the headache.
K (I mean business): Sometimes there’s nothing left to do but pull the car over and give them your FULL attention. That’s usually what they’re after anyway.
Mamma L (The shepherd): Make them cut their own switch. Kids will typically punish themselves worse than anything a parent could come up with so let them make the call. You’d be surprised, really.
V (Just V): Laugh with your children or when appropriate laugh at them. A sense of humor is a gift to be passed on.
A (The juggler): If you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Choose how much trash your kid is exposed to wisely. Put in a lot of love and that’s what you’ll get back.
L (The chauffeur): Playtime and coffee is only good until somebody gets hurt. We have learned from experience that there is such a thing as too much fun and it usually ends with somebody going home in tears. Most of those events are curable with a good nap. (Naps for mommies have double curing power.)
My Mom (numero uno): Kids lie. They don’t mean to, but they do. So, call them out and teach them that life is easier to navigate when you don’t have to remember which version of the “truth” you told last.
I guess I would add two of my favorites to this list:
1.) Only say it, if you mean it and are willing to follow through. Too often in the heat of the moment we react to our children. I have found that it is much better to say, “I am not happy with your choices and there will be consequences…I’ll get back to you on that,” than to say in anger, “You are grounded for the rest of your life!” Let’s face it; I don’t have the patience or the stamina to enforce that one.
2.) Counting to three works. I don’t know why. I’m not even sure what happens if I get to three. It also works in reverse as a countdown…3, 2, 1. I tried it on my teenagers the other day just to see if it still works and it does! Though I did get a little feedback at 2, to the sound of, “Wait, I’ve got to finish this level!” It’s a beautiful thing.
I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day. Feel free to add your favorite parenting tip to the list.