I want you to ask yourself a question. How would you rate your relationship with your kids? Since school has started, I’ve noticed myself speeding up a bit. I’ve become more focused on getting things done, and less on the relationships. In the mornings, before school, I’ve been yelling, like a drill sergeant somedays. I had to stop and ask myself, how do I want my kids to remember me? I know how important it is to me to build a strong relationship with my kids. I know this will serve them, and my as we move forward and into the teen (yikes) years.
When I asked myself this question the other day, my honest answer was a 7. That’s not good enough for me. I want a 10. Next, I asked myself what I needed to do to make it a 10, I pulled out my journal and this is what I wrote to myself:
Slow the F down : Seriously. Does it really matter if they are late somedays? Do I want them to grow up to be hurried, frenzied adults? Because the way I am with them now is what I am programming into their bodies. Sure, it’s an important life skill to be on time and takes a lot more planning ahead the night before, but isn’t it worth it to have a less frantic morning? When I get so annoyed because they are taking forever to leave the house can I see it through a different lens? Perhaps they aren’t trying to personally offend me, can’t it just be that they love the home I’ve created for them and find it hard to leave? With all the activities we have these days, my plans for the fall are to take a deep breath and slow down my pace whenever possible.
Be Present: I’ve heard this a lot lately and I feel like it’s become sort of a buzzword on social media. To me being present means being with what is and also to be fully there. So if you’re reading your kids a story, that’s all your doing in your actions and your mind. It also means that if you’re experiencing a negative emotion, you are fully there, with it. I think that’s what makes this one is easier said than done. My job is basically to be on my phone. I love posting stories and sharing my life with you guys. Yet I’ve noticed how sometimes it takes away from the moment. I miss the cute little things they say or the insights they have. As they watch me always stuck to my phone or planning the next thing in my head they are learning to do the same. Isn’t that the crux and the blessing of motherhood? We have the opportunity to teach them healthy habits but we also have the opportunity to teach the ones that won’t serve them. I have a wonderful morning routine that I will share later this week that helps me stay present because I know I’m not missing something and helps me stay present throughout the day.
Play with them: Allowing myself to see the world through their eyes is one of the greatest gifts my kids have given me. In the times I’ve been able to truly be with them and get lost in their play, I’ve found that we truly connect and enjoy each other. I think this strengthens the relationship in a couple of ways. First, it builds trust, mom wants to understand me. Therefore if I have a problem I know I can come to her with it, no matter what. Second, it allows me to let go of any expectations I have for them to ” be a certain way.” This, in turn, gives them the message, ” Mom loves me just the way I am.” That’s a win-win!
See things from their perspective: Most of the time our kids don’t have an agenda. When they are being slow or doing something we don’t like, at this age, it’s rarely to punish us. It’s because they haven’t quite learned that sometimes they have to put other peoples needs, or the needs of their family ahead of their own. When I see it that way, it takes the personal offense out of it. The best advice I heard as a parent with your kids is that I am not reasoning with a small adult. Kids are kids. Their brains are not like ours. Lots of explaining and rationalizing with them just do not work. It’s better to reward the behavior we like and as best we can ignore the other stuff. When I see things through their eyes it makes it a lot easier to accept that they aren’t me with my agenda. My 6-year-old doesn’t care so much if I make my meeting. He’s more interested in mastering getting his shoes tied on his own or buttoning his coat. This awareness really helps me to manage expectations while slowly teaching them to consider the bigger picture.
Love them: Actively love them. Shower them with praise. Bathe them in it. Smother them. Ok, maybe not smother them. I make it a point to tell them how much I love them all the time. Before bed, I try to think of two or three things they did that day that demonstrated them being loving to themselves or to other people. I call it ” sweet talk” and they seriously eat it up. If you have younger kids, the cutest thing to do is have them ” overhear” you singing their praises to a stuffed animal or another parent. This is the perfect thing to do before bedtime or first thing in the morning because it really sets the tone for great sleep or a beautiful day.
These are my intentions for the busy season that is fall. I can’t wait to share my progress and any changes I notice with you guys! Do you guys like when I share my thoughts on how I am planning to move forward in different seasons? Let me know in the comments and please share your intentions!