Monday, May 12, 2014

#MOMMYMIDDAY: I ASKED MY KIDS HOW I CAN BE A BETTER MOMMY ...

I don't like to be made a fuss over. And Mother's Day is no different. Being a Mom is the best role I've ever played but most Moms know or just Parents in general know that it is the single most "thankless" job ever. My approach is not being (I won't ever be), so presumptuous as to say I know all there is to know. I'm far from being a perfect Parent however what I do know and what I stand on is that I try my absolute best. Being a single Parent is a constant challenge and even days when I feel as though I've failed miserably ...Maybe I couldn't lend as much as assistance as one of my children needed with their homework cause I didn't have a clue either. Perhaps I yelled too much or screamed too loudly (don't act like you don't have those moments). Maybe I should've just allowed them to indulge and have more candy or just went ahead and bought the toy. Or I should've cooked something from scratch instead of reaching for that frozen dinner. The same as with anything, I tell myself "tomorrow is a new day" and "there is always room for improvement." There is no handbook to being a Parent. A lot of it, you learn as you go. For me, most of it is prayer and then acting in accordance with great examples set for me when I was growing up by my Parents and examples that continue to be set for me by other Parents in my life. I pay attention to my kids. I pay attention to what they say and how they respond and I talk to them. And I don't seek validation from anyone or anybody as it relates to being a Parent. Of course compliments are nice but I'm very much aware that I'm gonna get it wrong sometimes most of the time but God is my only gauge. 
As hard as it is though, I WOULD NOT change a thing. Being a Mommy is the best blessing that God has ever bestowed upon me and my children are the best people I know.
So this Mother's Day I switched it up. I have twins who are 8 and my oldest is 9. All I asked of them was to please clean the basement which is totally their domain. With the exception of washing clothes, I rarely even go down there. They rolled their eyes a bit but they agreed. And secondly, I asked them to please make a list of three things that they think I do well or that they like and three things they think I can do better or improve upon. I likened it to a conversation they might've had with their teachers before about what they excel in and what they can do better. It was just a spur of the moment thought. I just found myself genuinely wanting to know what they thought. They agreed and here's what they had to say ...

My 8 year old twin daughter was the first one to serve me her list yesterday morning upon waking me with her twin brother. It was barely 7a. I was sooooo groggy LOL! They are never up this early on a non-school day. They were excited about Mother's Day like it was Christmas morning. I think they were so proud of themselves because they prepared me breakfast in bed (total surprise) which consisted of O.J. and a bowl of cereal. Mind you, their older sister was still snoring away. She had the right idea. But my youngest daughter is the absolute most affectionate and sweetest child you will ever meet. She washed a few lone dishes in the sink left over from the night before and swept the floor before serving me breakfast. She handed me her list with a handmade card and her list follows:
Things My Mother Does Well
Feeding Me
Putting Me to Sleep
Keeping me entertained
Things You Can Do Better
Eating Dinner with us
Watching tv with us
Coming downstairs 

My twin son also 8 is coming into his own these days. When I show up at school or if he is in the company of friends, he doesn't like me to show too much affection but behind closed doors, he is a true Mama's boy and not afraid to extend hugs and kisses. His list follows:
Good
Cleaning up our room
Taking care of us
Feeding us
Work On
Taking us more places
Let me take baths instead of showers
Vacuuming

And my 9 year old who is really feeling her age these days. She will be a fifth grader next school year so she's really exacting her authority over her younger bro and sis. What she says goes (if you let her tell it). She's very independent. Her list follows:
Good
Being nice
Giving us what we want
Loving us
Work On
Taking us more places (sound familiar; I think she was peeking over her brother's shoulder)
Buy more school clothes
Don't yell at us

I found myself smiling moreso because they obliged my request. I thought the perspective of each of them was interesting. I expected much worse LOL!! I thought perhaps they would list we don't like that you make us eat vegetables or something LOL! Although my son referencing vacuuming I think had everything to do with him actually working on his list as they were cleaning up the basement. And does he know baths take way too long on a school night? I don't even remember the last time I took a nice long bath. Hit the showers! The three of them are road runners so they always like to "go" aka, take them more places. My 9 year old being a fashionista explained the reference to buying clothes and as she seems to be the one most punished these days, I guess she would prefer my not yelling LOL! I though my youngest daughter's response was most telling and I did tell her I would work on sitting down with them and eating more and watching tv with them more. As a single Parent, they are always first. I typically prepare dinner for them and either I eat later or as they are eating, I'm already washing dishes or checking homework or prepping for the next day and although I do sit down with them sometimes, according to my daughter, I don't do it enough so I told her I will work on that. After dinner if there is chill time, I am normally working honestly so I'm in my office during that small window before they have to hit the sack. But I told her I will work on that also. All in all, I'm glad I asked. I find wondering how good a Parent one is, is a consistent theme amongst most of my Mommy friends but instead of talking amongst ourselves, perhaps we should just go to the source and I'm glad I did.
I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day! Would you consider asking your kids the same? What do you think they would say?
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