7 Simple Ways to Be a Great Mom

If we could raise our hands in secret, we would probably all confess that there are days when we wonder if we’re cut out for motherhood.  So says iMOM iSpecialist Kathy Peel. Kathy says she remembers what’s it’s like to have to park an overflowing grocery cart and take a three-year-old out to the car for a moment of discipline.  She knows what it’s like to have the school principal call to tell her that her second grader tackled and pinned down a classmate.

Here are 7 things every mom can do to be a great mom.

  • Be Available
  • Be Lavish with Love and Forgiveness
  • Be Generous with Praise
  • Be Fair
  • Be Fun
  • Be Authentic
  • Be Willing to Ask for Help

1. Be Available. Your children need to know you are there for them when they need you.  This doesn’t mean that you schedule your life according to your child’s whims.  It is not healthy for a child to think the universe revolves around him or her. Availability means you are open and you give yourself willingly, without regret.  If you have a busy schedule, make it a priority to carve out time to give each child focused attention.

2. Be Lavish with Love and Forgiveness.  Assure your children that they are loved and accepted even when they fail.  Never withhold physical contact or eye contact, even when they make mistakes or disappoint you.  Make sure they know that although you disapprove of their attitudes or actions, your love is unconditional.  Hug, hold, and touch your children in loving ways every day.  Look into their eyes regularly and tell them how much you love them.

3. Be Generous with Praise. Children never outgrow their need for heavy doses of praise—no matter their age.  The five-to-one praise principle is a good rule of thumb to follow. Balance every negative comment you make with five positive comments.  Think before you speak.  Ask yourself if what you want to say will build up or tear down your child.  Each day, look for ways to affirm your child’s unique giftedness and personality.  Encourage the rest of the family to do the same with each other.

4. Be Fair. We all subscribe to the fact that people are different—in theory.  But when we have to live with peculiarities of the people in our home, the standard operating procedure seems to be to “fix and repair” rather than “accept and affirm.”  Our children will do some things that annoy us, and sometimes they will blatantly disobey us.  But before we respond, we should stop and ask, “Is this my child’s problem or mine?  Is there really a “perfect” way to take out the garbage, clean a room, or get homework done?  Is there something inherently wrong with what my child is doing, or is she just not doing it my way?”

5. Be Fun. Strange as it seems, having fun with your children has a great deal to do with how they respond to your firmness.  The moments you spend laughing, playing, and enjoying life together make large deposits in your children’s emotional bank account.  You’ve expressed your love and commitment to them in tangible ways.  So when the time comes for you to be firm and enforce discipline, they’re able to recognize that it’s motivated by your concern for them.

I’ve met many parents who allow overbusy schedules and the stresses of life to crowd out any time to have fun.  The results are not pretty. They feel guilty for not playing with and relishing their kids so they rationalize their feelings by saying they choose “quality time” over “quantity time.”  They tuck in moments with their children between meetings, appointments, or other “important work.” The problem is that they can’t fool their kids into thinking that they’re enjoying spending time with them when their minds are somewhere else.

Other parents are with (read: physically present) their children but not really with them.  Sitting in front of the TV together or working in front of a computer with the child nearby isn’t making a substantial emotional investment.  When it comes to parenting, quality time and quantity of time are like the oxygen your kids breathe.  Although the quality of the oxygen is important, the quantity determines whether or not they thrive.

6. Be Authentic.  Because our children don’t come with handling instructions, every parent will make mistakes.  As you try to customize your parenting for each child, try to remember that your children don’t need an expert; they need a guide.  When you blow it, just admit it. Learn from it, then get up, and go on.  Far from undermining your position, this humility will say to the child in the most powerful, way, “I am really for you.  I am not trying to make you something you aree not.  I love you, and I am on your team.”

7. Be Willing to Ask for Help. If you face a more serious or ongoing issue with a child, turning to a pastor or counselor isn’t a sign of weakness—it actually shows great courage and may be the most loving thing you can do for your child.

 Taken with permission from The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home by Kathy Peel. 

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