How to be a great parent
Lets start with the very basics. A good parent provides food, clothes, shelter, care, and love. That sounds pretty easy doesn't it? We all have seen the meme's on facebook. "When I was a child all my mom had to do was clothe, feed, and have a place to stay. Now the list is endless. "
So if you were a good parent then, you are what a grandparent now? Great. They get to be the awesome parent and grandparent to your kids. How about you? Can we live by the same standards they did? Can I go back to when my mom was raising me and utilize her standards to see if I can be a good mom?
Are you kids fed, do they have clothes? Do you do your best to put shelter over their head (all kinds, temporary to owning a house)? Are their medical needs met? Do they feel like they are loved?
That is where I am starting at, and I can happily say I do all these things. Therefore I am a good parent.
But what about their mental growth? Spiritual growth? Physical growth? Don't I have to focus on their well-being of the whole child?
Shouldn't every child be in one activity each season, play an instrument, and willingly goes to church, also know a second language in order to make a parent at least seem good? I tried with the second language they gave up and look at me when I am using ASL to them like I am crazy. I just tell them they used to be able to talk to me and we had a quiet house. Actually I would yell at them in ASL and my neighbors never knew it! Now my husband tells me that he can hear me yell outside. Sorry Neighbors!
So then what about interacting with the kids daily? Meeting emotional needs.
Daily interactions does not mean constant attachment to the hip. You did a lot of that when they were babies and were nearly worn down by bed time. All my kids were needy as babies. I know that is improper to say, "babies cry for a reason, not to be manipulative" well they never met my baby. I could hold him for 4 hours and try to put him on the ground and it sounds like someone came in and tried to abduct him. All day I was holding my kids to keep them from screaming, and I even let them scream themselves to sleep so I could get some sleep, because heaven knows I didn't get showers then.
As kids get older they are fine to learn to play by themselves, they need time to make choices- good and bad, and they are fine if they are bored. I was so excited when my kids got mobile. They could walk they could run, they could play by themselves.... not my kids. My oldest is doing alright learning to play by himself, it took many years of training and a lot of money spent on Legos. I really should own a share in that company by now. But my baby.... I will be in bed, 7:30 am, not horrendously late, though he has found me in bed at 9:30 am, and he comes and wants me to get him a banana- he can get one himself- and open it in the kitchen. I ask for 2 minutes, but he takes my covers and pulls them off of me! The little punk. I have no choice but to get up because now I am cold and he won't let go of the sheets!
Well, I yell at my kids? Doesn't that cause them distress and harm?
My psychologist has told me to work on "seethe on the inside". But you are a new mom. Every day you are a new mom, just because your kid is 7 or 17 doesn't mean you know what in the world you are doing. And yelling, well in the very least feels like I am doing something to get them to stop ignoring me. Will it hurt them? Maybe, but will they grow up to be a well adjusted child? You bet, especially if you pair yelling at them with a "I'm sorry Mommy had a meltdown and needs a timeout". Then go lock your door and either pee by yourself or post an adorably cute edited photo of your kids so you feel better about your mom status.
Speaking of facebook- let me say the girls in my family 'get' Instagram, Pintrest, and every other social media tool that can be used to make other feel infrior. I told my Psychologist about a pie my sister made, and she told me to get what I need for a box cake and icing. Then put a picture of it next to some weeds my kids picked. That post is coming up in the next week or so. My photos are never as cute as my families, or parties are never as good as the friend's. Does it make my feel guilty? Yes. I forgot to buy a smash cake for my youngest's first birthday and had to run to a bakery and get whatever cake they had available. It was a nice, chocolate, round cake with frosting so hard that you couldn't make indents with your fingers or teeth! Cute picture getting into the cake, failed.
Social media is the worst thing to happen to moms. We are always falling short or going to great lengths to be a 'good' mom for the party and have the perfect picture that gets 200 likes. Give the kids Nerf guns, safety glasses (protection), 500 darts and a place to shoot each other, and you will be the coolest mom. Pair it with a pizza and store bought cupcakes and your child will always remember that party. That was my son's favorite party, but they Beyblade tournament party we had the following year was just as simple and epic. No themed foods, I did but some plates and napkins to match the theme... but I get so stressed that even my 'amazing' parties turn out to be thrown together at the very end because I didn't plan on having 29 kids at my house to play Nerf War and there was not enough cake or pizza!
I don't take photos very often.... I have missed capturing some of the cute moments in their life. Like when they first walk, I have pictures of them walking as babies, but the first step? I don't even know where my camera was. I might have been holding it waiting for their 10th step, but even then they sat on the ground and just looked at me.
So at the end of the day do your kids love you? They may not like you but do they know they are safe with you and will always be loved?
If that is a yes then you are a not just a good parent, you are a great parent. No matter what anyone else tries to tell you. Just take your non smash-able smash cake and dig in with the baby.