More notes from Time Out For Women, this time from a talk called Secrets of Motherhood, by Linda and Shawni Eyre:
Asked by one of their children: "Sometimes is motherhood so hard that you wish you were a dad?" (Ha! It is so hard, but I don't wish I were a dad.) Linda said that motherhood is like being pecked to death by a duck.
Anyway. Here are some of their secrets.
1. Be your own kind of best mom.
We have to figure out our own talents and abilities. We were given the children that we have for a specific reason. Other children are not like ours, and we are not like other mothers, either. None is better than another, we just need to capitalize on what we do best.
At a gathering where a man was bragging about his children's many accomplishments, one older gentleman who was not given to many words stood and said, "God must not have thought much of you as a parent, sending you all those easy kids!" (Ha! again.)
2. Have an infrastructure
They recommend developing a family mission statement. It could be as simple as one word, or a paragraph. Involve the whole family if possible. It unifies us and makes us feel like we're part of something bigger than ourselves.
Examples: Broaden & Contribute
Family dinners, family prayers, family home evenings, and family meetings are all part of a family infrastructure where each member is a valued part of a whole.
3. Give ownership
Give children ownership of their goals, arguments, etc.
Ask your children what decisions they can make in advance that can positively impact their lives. Have them write them down and sign their names.
Set family goals together.
Invite children to set their own goals. Examples from their family: get only 3 cavities, be 15% nicer (!)
They had a "repentance bench" where arguing siblings would have to sit together until they could figure out what they personally had done wrong, tell their parents what they had done wrong, and apologize to each other. It was the single most coveted item when the parents sold their house.
4. Formalize family traditions
Whatever traditions you have or would like to have, formalize them. Write them down. Make sure you always do them. These often create the fondest memories in the home.
5. Teach kids to work
They recommend the book The Parenting Breakthrough.
Shawni decided to make certificates, so that when a child became a "certified toilet cleaner,"etc., he or she would be qualified to train a younger sibling.
Don't assume that your children know what their jobs are, even if you have told them a million times.
Print them out.
Remember that we are all in the trenches. No matter how difficult our trenches are, they are customized trenches for us.
We will all develop our own parenting secrets as we listen to our children, know their needs, and become our own best kind of moms.
Watch out for those magical everyday moments.
"I wish I had treasured the doing a little more, and the getting it done a little less." (This should probably be my parenting mantra.)