A few days ago I started a blog post about what a difficult day I'd been having. It was a long, dramatic play by play of tantrums, colic, hair pulling and kitchen messes. It was full of complaining and admitting that I wasn't having my best Mom Moments. I admitted to yelling and being short with Kade and crying, arms full of grocery bags.
I deleted that post. It's not the type of energy I want in this space and complaining doesn't change anything. We all know parenting is hard. There are days when you sit on the couch, half asleep, with a mess around you and you wonder why on earth did I choose this? Not to say that it isn't the most amazing and beautiful experience on the planet- parenting- but it is extremely difficult. We all have those days.
So what can we do? Instead of writing a post about how hard it is and how I wasn't at my best, I'd rather write about what I can do different. What kind of parent do I want to be? A huge part of this is sharing it- if you share your goals with friends, you're more likely to hold up to them. A support system is like gold. So, I'm choosing five things. And I'm sharing them with all of you in the hopes that you'll share your goals and hopes with someone close to you- a friend, your spouse, your teenager. If we can build each other up, offer support and advice, we can raise children to change the world. Kids who are kind, endearing, determined and smart.
1. I want to be a teacher.
I want my boys to bake, get lost in books, be able to fix a car. When they ask questions, I want to answer thoughtfully. I don't want to ignore them or become frustrated with their questions; no matter how many times they ask 'why.' I want to look for learning opportunities in all the simple things we do- going on walks, building blocks, riding the bus. I want to show them what a stable relationship looks like. I want to teach them how to trust and be trusted, how to be thoughtful and always send thank you notes.
2. I want to be patient.
I don't want to lose my temper or become exasperated. I want to get down on their level and really listen to what my boys have to say. I want to hold back when they are trying something new- letting them work at it for a while and only jumping in when they ask. I want to be understanding when they wake at night and need a snuggle. I don't want to respond in an impatient, cranky or tired manner. I want to let them learn at their own pace. I want to have patience with myself- to call for a re-do when I'm being negative, to recognize and admit my mistakes.
3. I want to let them take charge of their own little lives.
I want to let them choose their own clothes. I don't want to argue about matching. I want to choose my battles wisely and let some things slide. I want to let them choose from healthy options at lunch. I want them to choose their books at bedtime. I want them to get creative with a planned art project. I don't want to be controlling or bossy. I don't want to cage in their imaginations.
4. I want to say "yes" more than "no," within reason.
Play blocks? Yes. Facebook can wait. Go to the park? Yes. It will only be summer for a little while. Play on the patio in your underwear? Yes. It's hot, that's cool. I want to stop saying, In a minute, hold on, maybe later, we'll see. Sometimes the dishes can wait, the laundry can wait, IT CAN WAIT.
5. I want to love without distraction.
I want to put down the phone sometimes- resist taking a picture. I want to take a picture in my mind instead and hold it there forever. I want to note the smell of a new baby, the smoothness of my boys skin, the silly noises they make in their sleep. I don't want to miss out because I'm stuck in a screen. I want them to remember me as attentive, loving and loyal.
What kind of parent do you want to be?