Happy New Year everyone! What are you going to do differently this year? What about changing your parenting perspective? What does that even mean?
When we step back and view a parenting situation in a different way, it changes everything. It opens doors that otherwise would be closed. It can turn a negative experience into a positive memory. Let me give you an example. Last night, aside from my husband, my oldest son who is 10, was sleeping in my bed. There wasn’t much room left for me, (even though we have a king size bed), and I was left with about an inch worth of covers.
Therefore, I went to my son’s bed, which is very comfortable so not a big deal for me to swap for the night. It is rare for me to wake up and not have one of my three children lying next to me. I am a very light sleeper and it often leaves me exhausted in the morning from fighting off feet and elbows during the night.
At 6:56 this morning, my eight year old located me in my son’s room and hopped into bed, wrapping his legs around mine, like an entangled octopus. Not long after, my four year old followed, bringing his entire bed in tow.
Clearly, I couldn’t escape. Aren’t we on vacation? Why am I being woken up at 6:56 AM when during the week, I have to drag my kids out of bed for school? WHY?
In that moment, I had a choice. I could be really annoyed that I was not only forced to sleep in my son’s bed but was also woken up very early in the morning, surrounded and suffocated by my two little boys and their warm breath. This was the obvious choice but what would that lead do?
Well, it would lead to a bad start to the day. It would lead to two children who wouldn’t understand why their mom was mad, even though their intentions were to cuddle and show their love. It would lead to a moment in time provided to cherish what was around me.
My other choice would be to embrace my children. It would lead to a slight roll in my eyes with a smile, knowing this is motherhood. It would lead to two happy children and one lucky mom, feeling loved and wanted. It would lead to a memory that would be etched into my mind forever.
Being able to stop for a millisecond and give myself choices, each with consequences, helped me change my parenting perspective. I chose number two. I chose to live in the moment and take
the gifts that were right next to me, or rather on top of me. Yes, I was tired and could have used another hour of sleep, but I chose to take the hugs, kisses and yes, that warm little kid breath that is simply delicious.
I am well aware that the teenage years are around the corner and that I will be seen as the enemy. Hugs and kisses? Yah right? I remember being a teenager. I couldn’t get far enough away from my parents (sorry mom and dad) back then. Knowing my child will soon turn into an evil stranger, you better believe I am storing up with as many cuddles and “I love you Mommy’s” as I can.
When we alter our parenting path, we realize that we get to take advantage of all the great things parenting has to offer. It’s not always easy to recognize these moments but with a little practice and a lot of patience, it can be done.
Aside from bed invaders, this applies to everything from tantrums to bedtime struggles. Take that second to step away and understand the motives behind your child’s behavior. Take that moment to seize the little rewards with big memories in each situation.
Why is my child acting out? Is he looking for attention? Is he tired? If I, as the parent, show empathy instead of anger, with a simple hug and “it will be okay”, maybe my child will respond positively and together we can be proud of our choices.
Why is my child getting so frustrated with his homework? Is he struggling at school? Is he being over-scheduled with little patience left for his studies at the end of the day? If I, as the parent, demonstrate compassion instead of frustration, with a loving embrace and “we will get through this together”, maybe my child will respond positively and together we can be proud of our choices.
Why won’t my child stay in his bed? Does he just want to be with me? Is he scared? Is he over-tired and in need of naps during the day? If I, as the parent, establish a feeling of security instead of fury, maybe my child will respond positively and together we can be proud of our choices.
This new year, try a new approach when it comes to parenting. If you’re not getting the outcome you desire, if everyone is left annoyed and in tears, change your perspective.
TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD!™