This is yet, another one of my amazing Mom friends here to help me out with this series. What I love most about Stephanie is the way she approaches life with simplicity, practicality and humor. I get super excited when her blog posts show up in my inbox—-and I was super-duper excited when she agreed to contribute to this series.
Please welcome Stephanie O’Dea to the Scoop on Balance.
Before I had children of my own, I ran preschool centers. During this time I could walk into a room of twenty-four rambunctious 3 to 5 year olds and have them all stop, sit, zip lips, and fold hands in laps with pretty much just a tilt of my chin and a raised eyebrow.
I miss those days.
I now have three children – an eighth of what I used to have in my care– and it’s a struggle to get all three to sit quietly at the same time.
What’s up with that?!
My “Good Mom” Lie
When Sandy emailed and asked if I had any “Good Mom Lies” – I was initially thrown for a loop. And that’s mostly because as of today, I don’t believe in any “Lies.” I have been parenting long enough to know that any Lies or Myths are just that —
But I remember being a young mom (I had my first at age 24), and I remember thinking about all the things that I would and wouldn’t do as a mom. I have since thrown pretty much all of that out the window, but I do remember a teensy voice telling me “good moms don’t yell.”
And I’m a yeller.
Inversely, that should mean that I’m not a good mom, right?
It’s a good thing I’ve got good self-esteem!
I’m a good mom. I know it deep down inside my bones. I might not like some of the day to day angst that comes from living with 12, 9, and 4 year old girls, but I feel confident in my parenting decisions and I am confident that my three girls are being raised to become productive members of society.
But I still yell.
The fact is, parenting is hard. Not the kind of hard that comes from digging ditches or coal mining, but the kind of emotional hardness that comes from trying just so hard to teach a whole brand new person absolutely everything there is in the world to learn: academics, manners, morals, ethics, responsibility, compassion, loyalty, and a positive work ethic.
And the only way to know if you’ve done it right is to see what type of adult you’ve created.
Because you aren’t raising children; you are raising adults. Strong, capable, productive adults.
And sometimes in order to get your point across you’ve got to raise your voice.
Nobody Likes or Appreciates a Robot
I’m sure you’d agree that having emotion is a good thing, and teaching your children to have passion is a good thing. That’s what is happening when you Lose Your Marbles and yell. You are simply overflowing with emotion and it breaks loose from the dam.
It’s okay. Have you ever come across one of those On-An-Even-Keel all the time people? Yeah. Me too. They’re kind of boring.
The Power of an Apology
Remember how I said that we aren’t raising children, we are raising adults? One of the most powerful gifts you can give your child is the ability to ask for and receive forgiveness. Mistakes happen. Harsh words are sometimes spoken in the heat of the moment.
If you have said something that you shouldn’t have, ask for forgiveness. Kids bicker with each other and say things they shouldn’t. Spouses argue and say things that they shouldn’t. Model proper apologies and forgiveness for your children— show them that adults aren’t perfect but that they “own” their mistakes.
This will help them navigate through sticky waters as they go off to college and encounter different groups of people, and through future office politics.
There is no such thing as perfect.
Ask for Help
Many times when I’m at my breaking point with the kids and I find that pretty much everything they do is driving me nuts, it’s because I need a break.
Take a break.
Go for a walk, and breathe deeply. It’s okay to admit that your kids get on your nerves. If you have a friend or neighbor, see if the kids can go play for an hour so you can just be alone, without anybody climbing on you or asking for your attention.
If you feel overwhelmed by chores, ask for help. They aren’t YOUR chores, they are the FAMILY’s chores.
And you know what? A lot of time the outside pressure you feel because you think things aren’t good enough is what causes the stress which is what makes you lash out.
Guess what? I forgive you.
I forgive you for yelling at your little one because there were toys in the living room and you just cleaned it and you are expecting the book club and that Mrs. Prissy Pants who you don’t even like because she sticks her nose up about pretty much everything but for some reason you are always trying to impress her is on her way over.
Let it go.
You are raising an adult. An adult who will understand that adults make mistakes.
Nobody is perfect. Not even you.
Consider yourself hugged!!
Stephanie O’Dea is a New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, and mom of three. She is the author of 365 Slow Cooker Suppers, Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life, and the Make it Fast, Cook it SlowCookbooks.
You can find her online at StephanieODea.com.