Advice Column, Parenting

True Confessions: How to become a better mom

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We all want to be the perfect mom and have the perfect children. This however is easier said than done. There is no quick fix out, no manual you can go and buy that guarantees you to have solved the mystery of how to raise the perfect children.
Reading all the self help books will only confuse you more and if nothing else leave you feeling disillusioned and wondering if you will ever get it right.

A mom to four boys I have over the years figured out some things that have made my life easier and there are some points that require a bit more effort on my side.
I hope that each mom can take away one point from this article that will make them feel like they are doing a fabulous job.

Limit shouting at my boys

Wow I put this first because if I can limit my shouting all the other points become so much easier. Ranting and raving does make them listen to me, all I am actually doing is blowing off my own steam and making myself feel better. I now turn away, breath in out and then face the problem. I have found that I will not get involved in the arguments and telling tales because the shouting just escalates. A quote that I recently found “ you don’t have to show up to every argument that you are invited to “

Stop comparing. Your kids need you

You are the perfect mom for your kids, that is why you are blessed with them. Nobody could do a better job at raising those special individuals in your home. Yes there will be days when you look at them and say to yourself “ Johnny, why cant you be more like your brother Paul?” or ponder why you suddenly became a qualified teacher, child psychologist, judge and doctor. Dont look at the other moms at swimming practise who always seem to have it perfectly together while you come racing in with your double stroller late again. ( This doesn’t matter, you made it there and that is what is important ) Dont look at the perfect pictures on Facebook, it is easy to manipulate any situation to suite our needs.

So, stop comparing, stop thinking If only I was like her then life would be perfect. Its not true. You are their mother and they need you and they love you unconditionally.

Hug more and hurt less

I have realised that in the very busy life we lead it is so easy to forgot to stop and hug our children. When I think back on my childhood I don’t remember receiving hugs from my mom. Hugs serve so many purposes, they show our love for our children, they take away any hurt may it be psychical or emotional, we hug out of happiness, we hug to calm a situation. Moms love to shower their new born babies with hugs but as they grow up to become teenagers it gets harder and harder to hug. We now have a standing joke in our house, when I say to my boys “ what does mom want ?” they smile from ear to ear and rush over to me shouting “ A HUG “ I am them showered with hugs from every corner. My teenager of course sits on the couch and looks at me like I am crazy. This has made it easy for the boys to hug me good bye in the morning when I drop them at school, to hug them when they are sad and to give countless hugs at night when its sleep time.

Take care or yourself

This does not mean close the bathroom and go to the toilet alone and consider this a great accomplishment. In actual fact it means taking a long bath and soaking amid the screams and knocks on the bathroom door. Paint your nails, go to the hair salon once a week, enjoy the journey of motherhood. It takes up a chunk of our lives so while we are living in it lets enjoy it.
“Me time “ is so import, you don’t want to loose your identity and your hobbies. Now that you are a mom you don’t need to give up on the activities that make you happy. Its important for your children to see what you love and take care of yourself.
Love yourself – value yourself, cultivate your gifts and talents, they must never fade away, they should rather flourish. You are only teaching your children good qualities in life. You do not need to

feel guilty for taking time out for yourself. You want your children to have happy and fond memories of you, not memories of an exhausted and unhappy mom

Eat healthy, be healthy

This must be one of the hardest for me. I am a chocoholic and have a sweet tooth of note.Its so much easier to grab a lollipop on the way out of the house instead of an apple. I have made a concerted effort to ensure my children eat healthy, balanced meals. The older boys get, the hungrier they get. I am convinced their legs are hollow. I keep the bottles that we buy water in from the store and refill them and put them in the fridge. I am amazed at how much water they actually drink. We also have a menu that is drawn up every Sunday for the week and placed on the fridge. I no longer get asked “ whats for super mom? “ they now look on the fridge ,it also helps with the weekly shopping so there is less of the spur of the moment buying and take outs. Fizzy drinks are a BIG NO in my house. Lots of exercise and outdoor sport is a BIG YES, the boys swim more than once a day, ride bicycles, skate board and run around. I encourage outdoor play to the max. They enjoy it so much that they very seldom ask to watch TV.

Let your kids be kids

They are children. They are not mini adults, or mini-you’s. They are unique, delightful, intellectual, self-assured, assertive, loving, daring, remarkable, quirky, fearless, courageous,spunky, inquisitive, captivating people.
They are learning how to grow up and become the adults we all want them to be. Yes, they need our guidance and knowledge but they also need to be allowed to just be kids.

Our children need to be allowed to make mud pies, build forts in the lounge, kiss the dogs, paint our walls with water paint, smear the cake flour on the floor. They must laugh , cry, run, jump, explore, read and build. The need to be kids, it the ever growing world of technology we often forget about the fun times we had as children just playing and not staring at screens that come in various shapes and sizes. There is a time and place for technology.

Give your children the space they need to be kids – that wonderful space called childhood can so easily be sucked out of our every day lives by the busy demands of life.

Learn to say “ no”

I feel this does not require an explanation. There is only so much a mom can do.
Stand your ground, be strong, our children are more forgiving than you would ever expect.

Celebrate the small things and enjoy the moment

Life is a collection of little moments and snippets of time that when woven together creates your own unique story of your journey.
It is so easy to keep looking ahead at the next big event that we have planned but don’t forget the small stepping stones that get us there are just as important.

Stop and enjoy the sunset each night, it means you have lived another day, point out the stars to your children and the moon, sit in the garden and watch the ants work, let your children help you make food, sit in the bathroom and talk to them while they bath.
My smaller boys love having turns brushing my hair, it must be one of the most painful experiences for me, its safe to say they will never be hairdressers but they enjoy the bonding moment and what they deem as an act of kindness. These are the memories that will stay with them forever.

Its the simple acts that have the most impact on our lives, don’t try and be a supper mom and plan elaborate outings and activities all the time. Your children wont remember them, instead they will feel rushed and tired at the end of the day.
Make the little things count

You are a fabulous mom !! continue doing and giving it your best. The journey of motherhood is not for the faint hearted but we all survive
Heres to each of us becoming a better “ME”

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