I yell at my kids, they eat junk food, they watch TV they even play video games. Does this make me a bad mother?
What does it mean to be a good mother?
It means taking the kids to the park when you would much rather be reading. It means putting down the laptop and looking them in the eye when they have something to tell you. It means spontaneously hugging them and telling them how much you love them. It means sometimes saying ‘ok’ when they ask you to play with them.
It means knowing and caring enough to do the right things by them most of the time.
Yes, I yell at my kids. But not as often as I could. I strive not to because I don’t want to yell at them at all. (I keep this post uppermost in my mind – Yelling At Your Children – Succumbing To The Dark Side Of The Force). But I tell you, you have to be some sort of Zen Master to never yell at your kids.
And yes, they can have McDonalds or Pizza Hut as a treat, occasionally. Not all the time. This is because I recognise that for my kids to be at their best, they need to eat healthy food most of the time. So that means cooking yummy and healthy meals most nights. Even if I don’t feel like it. Even if I’d rather be eating pizza.
Being a good mother or father means not slavishly following every new fad. It means listening to your gut instincts and always exercising common sense. Baby Led Weaning and leaving your baby to cry to make them ‘learn’ are BAD IDEAS. Just think about it for a second.
And speaking of exercise. It means understanding that most of the time, kids need to be active physically or imaginatively. But in exercising (!) some common sense I realise it is unrealistic to ban TV, video games and computers. So we have rules.
Each weekday they can pick one of these activities to play for 1/2 an hour. After that they have to go outside to play. Or play inside if the weather is bad. (Hello, this is England, the weather is nearly always bad so sometimes they get to put on their wet weather gear and go and splash in puddles.) And you know what? It works, most of the time. The kids know the score. They have boundaries.
So that is the other thing. Having boundaries. Have you ever thought that Justin Bieber, or Miley Cyrus or good forbid, Lindsey Lohan might have turned out a little better if someone had said ‘no’ once in a while, that someone had set some them ground rules and stuck by them? I bet the adults those kids are today would agree.
Parenting well is hard. It is relentless. It is frazzaling (is that a word?) and exhausting and depressing and aggravating and annoying and dispiriting and despairing and hard. But it is the most important job in the world.
You know, I think we would be able to cope in a way that was better for our children if we bought a more professional mindset to parenting. I’ve worked for many years in the corporate world. So I know what professionalism and work ethics mean. Let’s apply some of that to our parenting, I bet we will get on a lot better. (The subject of another post me thinks!)
How to be a good mother. Being a better parent. Would some make more of an effort if they had yearly performance appraisals tied to a bonus structure? Scarily, probably yes. But we have to make more of an effort because they are our kids. And we love them more than anything.
Take a look at these other posts…
Don’t forget to enjoy your day.