Parenting Advice From a 9-year-old
You are doing a great JOB!
Imagine my surprise as I’m flipping through the pages of my little spiral notebook filled with scribbly notes and to-do lists and find this beautiful gem of encouragement from my 9-year-old daughter. It stopped me in my tracks. Who would have thought that one of the most valuable pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever received would come from my own child?
Here I am thinking about all the things I need to do, all the things I want to do and how I feel so inadequate because they’re not already done. I’m thinking about how I need to be better at planning ahead so I can make sure my family has healthy meals every night, I need to do laundry that hasn’t been done in a week, need to do dishes, clean bathrooms, organize closets, save for college and make scrapbooks of the kids’ entire childhoods and on…and on…and on….
All in the name of creating the best environment – which obviously translates to the best life (in my mind) – for my kids. For the one who left me this sweet note to tell me she thinks I’m doing a great job despite all the things I feel I’m failing at.
Being a working mom is hard! There’s so many times I think I should be doing more, wishing I WAS more for my kids. So, I have to wonder…if I’m feeling this way, can they tell? Do they know I get frustrated with myself? That I tell myself these stories about how I must not be a good mom if I can’t do a simple thing like laundry? Did my daughter know I needed to hear those 6 simple words – you are doing a great job?
And if they do know these things, what am I teaching them about how they see themselves? I go out of my way to make them feel loved and needed. But if they don’t love themselves and don’t value themselves, does it matter how much I love and value them? And where do they learn such things? If I was placing bets, I’d say it’s from their role models. From ME. Their mother. Their safe place.
I don’t know how to turn off these feelings and thoughts in my head, but I think it starts with the stories I’m telling myself. And maybe if I make that one simple change, everything will change.
Instead of telling myself I’m not a good enough mom, wife, employee, etc., I will focus on all the great things I am and do. I’m a good listener, good communicator. I have the heart of a teacher and love to help others learn. I love BIG with every fiber of my being and make sure I take time daily to connect with each of my kids by looking them in the eye and giving them encouragement and specific reasons why I’m so glad to be their mom. I constantly surprise them in small ways and I make some pretty darn good Saturday morning pancakes if I do say so myself.
We are moms and we are human. No one is perfect. The idea of perfect is unrealistic.
We should be striving for the little wins that happen every…single…day that don’t make the headlines of the front page we write for ourselves.
And that can be a lot of things, none of which has to be perfect. Maybe it’s getting a load of laundry done or cooking a delicious meal. Maybe it’s making it to dance class or soccer practice on time without forgetting anything. Or maybe it’s making lunches the night before so the morning runs smoothly because you know it can be rough when the kids get up late and they’re cranky.
We all know how satisfying these little, seemingly unimportant, but truly remarkable accomplishments can be when you’re juggling marriage, motherhood, work and all the things life brings us.
We should be proud of all the wins, not just the big ones. And we can’t forget that the expectations we have for ourselves are usually far greater than those around us expect and dare I say it…deserve?
After all, even if we could do everything ourselves and never needed help from anyone else, would we be depriving those around us from participating in our lives? From learning valuable life skills that will serve them far into the future? From feeling their own sense of self-worth and accomplishment?
I have a thankful journal. And it’s been far too long since I’ve seen the inside of it. It’s time to get back to it and take just a few moments a day to write down what I am thankful for and what I’m proud of. Sometimes it will be my amazing husband and my beautiful children. Sometimes it will be finishing that one single glorious load of laundry.
But what I know for sure is that when we write things down, they become more real. Just like that note my daughter wrote for me. So, let’s go get ‘em, Mom. We got this and WE ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!
If you like what you read and you’d like to see more from me, check out my number one most highly recommended mom-hack to save some serious time at the grocery store. Or, better yet, eliminate it almost entirely!