Happy New Year!
Over the last few months, I have ran into the same scenario over and over. It has opened my eyes to a behavior of mine and many other moms out there that we might not realize is hurting our children. Our intentions are good, we want to help our children, we want them to be successful. However our OCD natured mamas out there have a hard time making sure our kids aren’t perfect. Sounds horrible doesn’t it? We spend more energy on our kids being dressed nicely and hair perfect, yet I sometimes don’t even wear a bra to school drop off. On bad days, its a mom bun, yoga pants, and a hat. The scenario I have seen is doing things for our children so it is done correctly, instead of letting our children figure it out themselves or god for bid, let them fail.
Let’s discuss the oral book report. The child is supposed to pick a book, read the book and pick out a character from the book that they can make out of paper, glue, glitter, etc…So your child has read the book and decided he wants to focus on the dragon….fantastic a dragon..ugh. You let your child start making the dragon and see that the basic body part of the dragon is ok but not sure where your child is going with this. No problem, I tell myself, just keep folding laundry and see what he comes up with. Your anxiety is increasing because you see him making what more resembles a dog and you realize at age 5, focus is an issue and he probably has no idea what he is supposed to be doing. You walk over to the table and ask him how his dinasour project is going and he says, “I decided to make my dragon a half dragon, half dog.” Ugh.
You calmly, although you are starting to get irritated because you don’t have time, explain to your son that it isn’t following the rules and your teacher will not be happy and won’t give you a good grade. He gets frustrated and walks away. Well that went well. More on this later.
I went to Color Me Mine over the holiday with my husband and two boys. As our boys were painting their sharks and piggy banks, I told my husband to look around and see if he notices anything. He looked around and said to me, “all the moms are coloring their children’s projects and the kids are sitting there bored.” It always starts with the kids painting and without a doubt, the mom takes over. More on this later.
For those who have read my Blog before, you all know my past history with my twins playing soccer at 5 and me acting as their coach. I was floored at how much pressure parents put on their 5 years old kids to be good at sports and be the winners. Their is always that one parent who is screaming aggressively at their child to do better, or be better. I was floored when a parent told me that their child was upset because we weren’t winning. I couldn’t understand why you would bring a great teachable moment as a parent to me instead of handling yourself?
I know that while you are reading this, you can think of so many other scenarios where mom has taken over to make sure everything is perfect. Where did we learn this from? Our parents. Where did they learn it from? Their parents.
What are we so afraid of? That they are going to fail? What happens if they fail? They will learn the hard way. But I guarantee you they will learn the lesson and not repeat it. Or they might take two times to really learn the lesson and that is ok.
When I ask my son why he wanted the dinosaur to be 1/2 dinosaur 1/2 dog, he said because he likes them both. Did the teacher mark him down? No, she said she appreciated his imagination and creativity. She did write that next time he needs to follow the directions better. Granted my son is 5 and this wouldn’t work at 16, but you get my point.
We as parents worry so much about our kids being perfect, that we forget to let them be them and figure out who they are. Our son has Autism and everyone was telling my husband and I, how our son should be acting. It took me years, with the help of my husband, that he is acting the way he is because that is who he is and who are we to change it? He is perfect the way he is.
We are stifling their creativity by finishing the lizard at Color me Mine because we can’t stand the thought of having a half painted lizard in our house. But you better believe that your child, if they had finished it themselves would think it was perfect.
My doctor told me that I need to reduce my stress and I laughed. She said, “why are you laughing?” I replied that I had twin 6 year old boys, one with Autism, and a full time job. She basically told me that I am taking care of everybody but myself and wouldn’t your husband and kids want you around more then want you to be worried about everyone but yourself? Ugh, that hit home. My point is, I have been living my life with some many tabs open, just like my computer. I need to close a lot of tabs and only have a few tabs open that truly are important to me.
My need to control everything about my children and family is one I can close because guess what? I can worry if an issue comes to my attention but worrying about my kids art project being perfect, dressed perfect, acting perfect, and being the perfect child isn’t something that I need to worry about. Nobody is perfect. My children, in my eyes is perfect, however they need to learn about failure, not getting 1st place, and god for bid losing at Sharkonoply.
My first act at less stress was allowing my kids to decorate the Christmas tree. Even thought all my decorations have a spot and I like everything color coordinated and ideally matching the wrapping paper, I didn’t this year. This year it looked crazy, busy, and amazingly beautiful. Most importantly, my son told everyone he decorated the tree himself and was very proud of himself.
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