PARENTING IS THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD. There is no rule book, it’s a job which receives no sick days or holidays, and there’s that gnawing fear that we may not be doing a good job. That we could, in fact, be stuffing it up entirely.
Children are wonderful. With their trusting hearts, gap-toothed smiles, and small, peanut butter hands which are always drawn to our best clothing. Children are so alive, so trusting that they make us want to be perfect. And herein lies the problem, because of course we are not.
So, is it ever possible to be a ‘Super Mom’? The mother you always dreamed you would become. I say yes, you just need to consider what you define as ‘Super’.
My Top 10 Tips for becoming a ‘Super Mom’
1. Take care of yourself first
I know some of you are balking as I write this, but you cannot be a good mother if you do not meet your own needs. Mothers are usually the hub of the family; the ones who keep everyone and everything together. You need to be at your best, and this means giving yourself the love and care you deserve. Ask yourself what you want, find the joy in your life and don’t sacrifice it for anyone. The happier you are, the more energy and love you have to give your family.
Remember, you are also a ROLE MODEL for your children. Show them a positive, fulfilled woman in charge of her life. A woman who has a loving partner and a LIFE OF HER OWN. Don’t show them that their future involves being tired and angry, bitter and negative. Or worse yet, the door-mat for a selfish husband.
2. Spend one-on-one time with your children
To develop a healthy self esteem, children need to feel they are special, the center of our universe. This does not mean giving them everything they ask for or structuring our whole lives around their demands. It does mean setting aside blocks of quality time to be with them. Time where we let them lead, where we see only them, their talents. Time where they feel the full impact of our love and admiration. When they know without a shadow of a doubt they are everything to us.
3. Banish Guilt!
Our children, other mothers, our husbands, our own mothers, and even society are well versed in throwing around mother guilt. Don’t buy into it! So, little Johnny wants a PLAY STATION and you can’t afford it; or you can’t do canteen duty ‘like the other mommies’ because you work. Tough luck. He’ll get over it! We all have different needs and circumstances. Not giving your children everything they want, or being there all the time will not harm them. In the long term, loved children, whose parents nurture and praise them, will flourish. And that’s what counts.
4. Decide on your family values, and LIVE THEM!
Do you think you’re a good person? What do you value most in life? Coming up with answers to these questions will help not only your life, but it will clarify what you want to teach your children. Because whether you like it or not, the way you live, how you treat people, what you place importance on, will be learned and mirrored by your children. Decide on the code of honor your family will live by. Teach it to your children – not just with words, but actions too.
5. Protect the family unit – husbands need love too!
The best gift you can give your children is to maintain their “happy home”. Note the use of the word HAPPY. Do not stay with a man you don’t love and/or respect. Your relationship with the father of your children is the first example they will ever see of what love is. Teach them that while love may not always be easy, it is fair, safe, respectful and supportive.
6. Get a life and leave your child’s alone!
Do not try and fulfill your own dashed dreams through your children. They have their own personality and their own journey. They do not need the extra baggage of trying to please you. Life is hard enough; your children will be exposed to enough pressure and judgment from the others. They do not need the added pressure of giving you what you could never achieve in your own life. We all want what’s best for our children. But we need to focus on THEIR BEST. Not ours.
7. Love your children unconditionally
Sometimes our children are easy to love, sometimes they are not. Sometimes we wonder why they are so determined to make life hard for themselves, or for us. We despair of what will happen to them out in the big, bad world. There is only one thing to remember here. Your children can only be WHO THEY ARE. You can help them find their best self, teach them about positive choices and consequences, but they must make their own mistakes. You just practice loving them NO MATTER WHAT.
8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
Children can be stressful. Raising them and making the big decisions in life is stressful. Surround yourself with people who love and support you, and make you laugh. Do not give your time to those who will judge you, criticize you or try to make you feel less than you are.
9. Set boundaries.
Predictable boundaries make children feel safe, whilst teaching them how to be good citizens, so they are empathetic to their fellow human beings. So they are loving and empathetic to you! Set boundaries so your husband or wife knows what you need and your children know that you have rights too. They are one part of the family. They are not everything. This is crucial to their understanding of how they fit in the real world. A self-obsessed 30 year old, who still throws tantrums to get what they want is not an attractive sight.
10. Do not be a One Woman Show – Get Help When You Need It!
Being a ‘Super Mom’ does NOT mean doing it all. Delegate! Learn to BE A GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER. Even if you are a stay-at-home-mother, you are not a slave. Make sure your husband has some chores to do so he appreciates what it takes to run a household. Take time out for yourself. Keep your girl friends. Never had girlfriends? Find some! Join a gym, talk to women in the park, anything. But get a life of your own. And when it’s all too hard, ASK FOR HELP!
These ideas are just the tip of the ice-berg, and I do not claim to have all the answers. Parenting is deeply personal because it encapsulates everything that we are and everything that we hope our children will be. I welcome the opportunity to hear some of your thoughts, and will leave you with one last mantra I live by.
IF YOU TRULY GIVE YOUR BEST, THEN YOUR BEST IS GOOD ENOUGH
Photo by Christine [cbszeto]