As mothers more times than not we focus on how we are failing as a parent. We never end the day with a fist pump and in the air and say “yeah, I totally nailed that!”. The key thing to remember in successful parenting is that it will forever be just out of each. I’m sorry to say you will only have fleeting moments where you think you nailed it, and there will rarely be a fist pump!
Us moms are focusing on why our children fight each other, or classmates. Why they are misbehaving in school and refusing to do chores, using curse words or saying other inappropriate things. Often, we are just relieved the children are in bed at the end of the day and we have a few peaceful moments to regroup. We breath deep, then get to the dishes, the laundry, picking up stray toys and getting ready to do it all over again the next day.
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When we first become pregnant, we have grand ideas of raising our child. What we won’t do and what we will . How we will do things differently than our parent did. Several of us even read books to prepare and get the most information right from the beginning for a successful pregnancy. I’m sue you have all heard of the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”? I’ll admit, I’ve always wanted to Check it out, but have never read it!
I have uncovered six rules to Successful Parenting and the Key to Mastering Motherhood.
No matter how prepared you are there is always an abundance of unexpected and every corner just waiting to trip you up. During every stage: pregnancy, infanthood, toddle, pre-school, teen and young adult, unexpected scenarios thrive! Unexpected becomes you way of life. The true key is how you respond to your children when the unexpected reveals itself.
A perfect example from personal experience is the day I decided to take a shower and leave my one year old and my four year old in the living room watching TV. My husband was there and had decided to step outside for a moment. When I got out of the shower…my living room carpet was covered in a puddle of multicolored nail polish!
Needless to say I was mad and my boys knew it. I didn’t yell, all I said was go to your room. Even at their ages, they knew and went without issue. The unexpected situations live to teach us that no matter what, we will never completely be in control!
There is no right or wrong way to approach parenting. Although I will add the caveat that as long as you have your child’s best interest at heart you can’t go wrong. I do not condone violence against children in any form!
Showing your children you love them is easier than you may think. Simply spend time with them doing things they love to do. Whether it’s playing with Play-Doh, going outside, or playing indoor board games. I have personally sang to my boys before bed every night since they were born. Every few nights they want snuggles, where I lay in bed and snuggle them close as I sing. No matter how busy life is, we find a way to do something together.
Make a real connection to your children. Remember when you were younger. Remember how it felt to have everyone else making all the rules, to have everyone able to do whatever they wanted when they wanted. C’mon, you remember. Get in touch with those feelings. Realize your child could be feeling this way as well. No matter what age your child is, talk to them in a way they can understand. Listen to them when they tell you what is bothering them, why they are behaving the way that they are.
What works for one mom may not work for another. Also, on technique may work with one child and not another child. I know this all to well! Having two children on the Autism Spectrum, one who is gay and one who wants to be treated as a teenager but cries because someone cut him in line.
Think of parenting as a job you love. You want to succeed -how do you succeed at becoming a good manager. Information. Connect with other moms. In person, in Facebook groups, chat rooms, other mom blogs. Make that connection and start a dialogue. Discuss your issues, reach out for advice from other mothers and do not be afraid to offer what works for you. Take a suggestion and modify it, or “tweak” it to work for you and your child.
All children should have the same house rules. Even my boys with Autism had/have the same rules as the others, and my son who is gay had the same dating rules as my heterosexual son. I made no special concessions to them. My rule was law and therefore the consequences were the same and they all knew what to expect if they broke them.
Chore list for Multiple Children – Have a chore list that explains the reward for accomplishment. I love this one as you can add whatever for the reward and break down for each child.
Schedule for electronics and time away from siblings. With multiple children sometimes you have to schedule who has what and when. Even the use of electronics. I also have times set aside that my two younger boys do something separate from each other. It gives them the opportunity to expand their independence.
House Rule List on a white board and keep in view. You may need this if your child likes to negotiate terms and consequences. Put it in writing and let them know you are the rule maker!
For older children this does sometimes require investigative research. I am all too aware that teens are reluctant to talk to their parents in certain situations. They will holler and rage against you and demand privacy and respect. Keep in mind YOU are the parent – NOT their friend! YOU are in charge, yes you are! So, everything in your house falls under your authority.
Yes, I have also been through this. Read here about a particularly difficult parenting time for me. One of my son’s called the cops on me when I went through his belongings and found and disposed of his pot. When speaking to the police, I simply stated that it was my house, my child, my rules. Thankfully, as nervous as I was dealing with this, the police respected my decision and told my son I was in the right.
Time outs are required in successful parenting! And not just for your child!! Parenting is the most frustrating job in the world. Even as adults we just need to step back, take a time out and breath through it. The logic your child will use will completely baffle you. The ideas they come up with will infuriate you beyond reason. So, a time out for them to think about what they have done is important.
More importantly a time out for you is ordered to think through the situation. Flash back to your childhood, prepare for dealing with the consequences of your approach to the situation. Take a time out, get your emotions under control. It is perfectly alright to be mad, but make sure that this emotion doesn’t cause you to do irreputable harm to your child. Either physically or emotionally. Words hurt too, we all know this, and they are impossible to take back. Even with an apology. So, take your time out. Work it through and then get everyone back on track!
You will make mistakes. You will have regrets on how you handled a situation, making you feel inadequate, like a complete failure. If you are hoping for words of comfort or wisdom on how to overcome and get past these feelings…I have none.
I’ve come to realize that these emotions are quite useful in being a successful parent. I know it sounds awful, but seriously think about it. Haven’t you ever gone to bed and realized you should have said or done something different in an adult situation? It’s exactly the same situation, except that we can learn from our doubt. Like our children, we can still learn from our mistakes.
Back to the employee example. As a new employee we have someone show us several times on how to complete a new and different task. However, the first time we take on the task ourselves completely on our own, we are likely to make a mistake. Then we have someone show us how to fix that mistake so that we can carry on and complete the task.
That is parenting in a nutshell. So, we learn how to make amends to our child if we are truly in the wrong. Or you figure out how you could have dealt with the situation differently if it were to occur again. These hopeless feelings help add to our experience in the successful parenting portfolio. There will be times that these feelings crop up with no correlation to an actual event. They will haunt you. Take a moment each time they do, consider them, and then move on.
The most important rule of all to remember in successful parenting is there is no way to become a Master at Motherhood. It is a never-ending process. Perfection is in no way connected to successful parenting, in fact, in can be a major deterrent to parenting.
The best we can hope for is to raise well rounded, respectful, happy children who will in turn strive to be successful parents themselves. You will know you have done it right when your adult children return home to see you. To continue to seek your advice as another adult on how to handle difficult situations. Which is why we always be in a constant process of “Mastering Motherhood”!
Let me know of your parenting successes, those moments you inwardly cheer yourself for how you handled a difficult situation. Or share those moments that broke your heart. We will survive them all together.