Mini Guide to Being a Fabulous Mom

January 18, 2009 by Marilen Crump  
Published in Motherhood

Especially if you have an unruly toddler – From one mom to another.

Life has its ups and downs and certainly motherhood is no exception.  At times we realize the true blessing that we have been granted but other moments can be a challenge. I am a single mother with two little ones under the age of five. I strive to balance the daily tasks of work, life, and love. I always try to make my children the number one priority in each and every part of my day. I have to be disciplined enough to create a stable environment where they can depend on the consistencies of our relationship. I see in their eyes the confidence that I have helped to create which makes me very proud and eager to share some of the process.

Here is a checklist that constantly run through my mind when interacting with my children:

  • Every chance I get I say, “I Love You” or “Mommy Loves You”.

I want them to always know this is what drives me.

  • Make direct eye contact.

It is a sign of respect and good communication that is never too early to teach any child. I do it for a couple reasons: I want to make sure they understand what I’m saying and that I’m saying it to them and not someone else. / If it’s a firm and serious statement, I want to show there is still kindness in my eyes so their feelings don’t get hurt. / It teaches them confidence to speak with another person by looking into their eyes and to be in an appropriate distance as to not yell and bark orders from across a room.

  • Praise them for every positive thing they do.

I believe in positive reinforcement and positive attention. I pick my battles and don’t always correct them for the mistakes that they will inevitably make. This is my theory for myself: WHY DWELL ON MISTAKES AND NEGATIVITY? I want my kids to remember the positive things they do and that I notice their progress. I truly appreciate them and never hesitate to say things like, “I’m so proud you are sitting beside me and being so good eating your sandwich” and “Your coloring book is so pretty with the colors you picked for that picture” also “Thank you for telling me you wanted a snack without whining… it was very nice.”

Even things that seem mundane to us adults, may still be new and novel to our children.

  • Positive physical interaction.

Hugs and kisses make the world go round… they grow up so fast that I cherish any moment I get to lavish my affection. But sometimes the little things can matter so much. For example, High 5’s can be such an awesome expression of joy. Kids love it and they will remember what they did to deserve that High 5. From pats on the back, brushing their hair, fixing their sleeves, holding hands, thumb wrestling, dancing while carrying the baby, anything I can physically do to create a heightened sense of joy without even using words.

  • Give them a chance to help.

I never want the word “domineering” to be associated with motherhood. Letting your child help with things involves them, educates them, and gives them healthy pride. I sometimes ask my toddler to help me count the crayons we put away, or to close the door after we walk into the room. This gives me an opportunity to do many of the aforementioned things like giving him a High 5. Most importantly I want them to know that everyone needs help sometimes and it’s a great feeling when you can be the one to offer it.

  • Ask silly questions and do something random.

Have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at life at times. I sometimes look over at my little girl and cross my eyes and then giggle at her reaction. I’m selfish in a way that I constantly want to be much more fun than any television show, Barbie doll, or video game that they play with. It’s an easier task than you think. If you find it funny, they will try to relate and soon you’ll have them laughing.

  • Don’t repeat a command and avoid saying things twice.

It’s not all fun and games. At times it is very necessary to reinforce a rule or deny something that they impulsively want to do. Because I’m always pretty lighthearted and relaxed in front of my kids, they are keenly aware when I shift to an authoritative mode. My words become very clear, slowly paced and my voice is punched with firmness. I never like to yell and I make it known that there are consequences if I repeat myself. I deal with problems on the spot and quickly approach my child if there is something to warrant a disciplinary action. My discipline style is to explain things thoroughly and to get confirmation by them repeating things like, “I understand” / “I’m sorry” / “Yes Mommy”. I feel proud when we are in public and they listen to my directions. It is largely due to the fact that I expect the same from them wherever we may be. There is no difference in our interaction at home or out and about.

  • Share your passions.

Show your child how special you are. Whether it’s the way you cook, your skills in music, the way you see nature, how you like organizing… whatever it is that puts a smile to your face, make sure they see this part of you. Share your humanity with your children so they won’t be shy in sharing theirs.

  • Be an example at all times.

I find that my children are in tuned with me and the energy I give them. I want them to know how to act in any given situation by what I am doing. Children are great mimics and your bad habits are not safe with them. If you yell all the time at home, they won’t think twice to yell at the bookstore you’re shopping at. I don’t think children are predisposed for bad behavior, they have to learn what’s wrong or right by the example that you lead.

My children are so precious to me that I feel like I can never be complacent in the way I parent them. It takes a whole lot of attention and effort but the results can really last a lifetime.

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