All Articles Tagged "Parenting"
Six to 12 weeks after giving birth, you go back to work. Your toddler watched 45 minutes of television so that you could cook dinner or do laundry. Your plan to exclusively breastfeed, for the first six months, was derailed by painfully enlarged breasts and cracking nipples.
Herein lies the infamous mommy guilt.
I heard of this self-reproach long before I became a mother. I often thought, “How could a woman feel any guilt for raising her child?” and “How could any woman feel guilty for doing the very best for her children?” Seemed like nonsense at the time, but of course, I would succumb to this all too common mindset once I entered motherhood.
Known as The Mom Strategist™, entrepreneur, lifestyle brand and best-selling author Mia Redrick wrote an article for The Huffington Post about this very topic. She provided some of her personal rules on how to silence mother’s guilt, and I’ve included a few of those, as well as how I applied such lessons to my own situation, below.
Know you’re not perfect
“Get real. Understand that perfection and parenting is ridiculous.” Redrick wrote. “Accept that you will make mistakes and be honest with your children when you drop the ball.”
It took me a while to understand this as I always had high expectations for myself. In the beginning, I would have an idea of how my day would go, including work and items that I wanted to accomplish with my infant daughter. In order to avoid getting down on myself, I eventually gave up being perfect and remember even saying to myself, “Oh, well, I guess I failed at parenting today.” I wasn’t upset or depressed when I said it, but rather, I was honest with myself about how imperfect I was, as I am human, and I was okay with that.
“Focus on the positive things that you are doing. Instead of looking at what isn’t working with your parenting, ask yourself, ‘What am I doing right?’” She wrote.
It got to a point where I recognized that my child was alive, healthy and didn’t have major scratches on her at the end of the day. And I was happy. I’ve also learned to celebrate the small wins and enjoy the moment. Moments where my child surprises me by saying or doing something that I didn’t know she had learned.
Do not judge
Redrick wrote that mothers should stop judging themselves. “Stop comparing your best to other classroom moms, working parents and neighborhood families. Live out your own story and stop attempting to star in someone else’s drama.”
I admit that it’s really hard to not compare yourself to other mothers. It’s easy to look at other children and think, “What do I need to do differently?” But you never know someone else’s story, the help they have or their overall situation. By focusing on other people and their children, my attention was lost on what I was trying to achieve. After all, others will judge you, so why do that to yourself?
Motherhood is hard, and of course, there’s no handbook on the “right” way to go about it. Instead of worrying about what you might have done wrong, enjoy each moment with your little one as the time passes quickly.
One thing most moms can agree on: your little one drives you up a wall! Another absolute we might all acknowledge is these little annoying, imaginative, curious creatures really can teach (or at the very least remind) us of a few fundamental truths. You know, like the familiar, but oft-forgotten “treat others the way you want to be treated” or the foundational “sharing is caring.”
By Jorian Seay
We all have those hilarious, infuriating, enlightening (or all of the above) moments with our kiddos that remind us of these lessons we were taught way back in the stone age when we were little tikes. Here, I share with you teachable moments brought to you by Matthew, my feisty, gutsy, spunky tot who’s taught me a thing or two since he came kicking and screaming into my life! Enjoy, but more importantly, take note.
This week my two-year-old reminded me not to care what people think.
Matthew and I had to make several runs to our favorite store this week. Yes, the one with the little red bullseye logo.
During one of our trips Matthew was in an especially good mood. It was just post-daycare pick up and I needed to grab a few items before heading home to unwind. He sat in his backseat clearly enjoying the ride, as he was chattier than usual and was actually singing along to the song as they blared through the speakers.
And once we pulled up to our beloved store, his good energy didn’t wane one bit. He spoke to (literally) everyone who walked past. “Hello!” “Hello!” “Hello!” That’s all I heard as I focused on checking items off of my list.
But as we headed to check out, Matthew REALLY took it there with the (over) enthusiasm. He started singing. What? I don’t know. All I know is my child began singing as loud as he could. I couldn’t quite catch the melody, or the beat for that matter, but whatever he was singing, was coming straight from his heart.
Cute, right? Well maybe if my child had an ounce of vocal talent, but he doesn’t. He sounds like he’s joking around when he’s singing his favorite medley and his two-year-old vocal cords are a bit mature, so he sounds somewhere in between an alto and tenor—weird for a tyke his age.
So as the stares began and the obligatory “awwh, so cute” comments began to pour in, I beelined for the cash register. He wouldn’t stop singing. At a certain point, as we stood in line behind a nice woman who began smiling and singing along, I realized it didn’t matter whether or not my boy can sing. Whatever he was belting out, made him happy. And while I’m not particularly the biggest fan of his vocal acrobatics (or lack thereof), someone somewhere (perhaps the lady in front of us) is bound to be a fan.
He brought a smile to someone’s face, and I couldn’t help but appreciate that and encourage him to sing as freely as he liked (although he HAD to bring the volume down just a bit). He was in a good mood and possessed the greatest of energy. So who cares what people (including mommy) might think, he was living life on his own terms and doing whatever the heck his little soul wanted to do.
I think we can all throw caution to the wind a bit more in life. After all, who cares what people think?
When you become a mother, your time becomes limited and divided. Very divided. There’s no way around it. Responsibilities increase while the hours in the day remain the same, catapulting you into a world whose proper functioning depends solely upon you mastering the skill of carving out one-on-one time.
You have to carve out time for your spouse, your child, your family, your friends, your career…oh yeah, and yourself.
Now multiply that one child by 3, 4, 5 or, in my case, 8. Being divided doesn’t even begin to describe how torn moms of big families feel.
Oftentimes, we have the tendency to clump the kids together. Why? Because it’s easier! It’s easy to spend quality time with the kids all at once.
But the kids aren’t clumps.
They’re little people, individuals with unique personalities, likes and interests. Additionally, the mother-child relationship is just that…a relationship. It must be cultivated beyond homework help, Family Movie Nights and yells instructing them to clean their rooms. As a mom of 8, it’s hard finding time for myself. Carving out one-on-one time to spend with each of them is like an episode of Mission Impossible.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have not done a great job in this area. It’s hard to do. Sometimes, it’s hit or miss, here and there, and long overdue. But with a little planning and dedication, it can be done.
Here are a few tips based on my personal experience that I know will help you develop more intimate relationships with each of your kids.
Today’s episode of #LunchtimeChat posed the question: what would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair ? The ladies share their opinions based on a recent article where a parent expressed concern over a teacher’s decision to fix a student’s hair.
Catch the chat and share your thoughts below! Make sure to tune in to #LunchtimeChat every weekday at noon on Facebook Live!
Growing up, my parents often responded to my tears or frustration by saying something along the lines of “You better stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” I never much liked this response–most children don’t–but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how problematic this statement can be. When a child (or anyone for that matter) expresses a feeling, that feeling is real to him, even if you cannot understand or appreciate why he has reacted in that way. By saying things like, “You’re fine,” or “Big girls don’t cry, you’re not sad,” you are invalidating that child’s feelings. Maybe he’s not okay.
Research finds children whose feelings have repeatedly been invalidated learn not to trust themselves. It can be very confusing for them. If a child feels frustrated and begins to cry but then her mother, whom she looks to as an authority figure, tells her that she’s okay she becomes confused. Who should she believe, her mother or herself? Research shows that this erodes a child’s sense of self.
Children must be allowed to experience and express their feelings in a safe space, even when the child is misbehaving. Let’s say 5-year-old Jimmy is upset that his mom did not let him have a second helping of ice cream. He throws his bowl and begins to cry. How would you respond? Well, you don’t want to reward bad behavior by giving him the ice cream but you certainly want to yell and upset him further. Try this: “I understand that you’re angry with me because you wanted more ice cream, but throwing things is not acceptable in this house. Why don’t pick up the bowl and help Mommy clean up?” First, you always want to validate the child’s feelings, and then firmly express that the child’s behavior was unacceptable. Finally, you want to redirect their energy. I did this by asking Jimmy to help me clean up; you can also have him go pick out a book for bedtime or do something more fun. It doesn’t matter what you choose just be sure you choose something. Kids crave structure.
Trust me, I understand that this can be really hard and sometimes you’ll get so caught up in your own emotions that you’ll forget to recognize your child’s. That’s one hundred percent normal, but it’s important to at least try to validate your child’s feelings more often than you invalidate them. You have to let children experience their emotions. No feeling is bad; it’s how we act on them that can cause problems. Creating a space where your children feel heard and understood allows them to come you with larger issues, as they grow older. This technique works with older children as well. Everyone wants to feel understood by those they care about most. Try this with your children (or spouse!) and let us know how it works for you.
Your kids want your approval more than anything else in the world. As much as kids love treats and trips and shiny new toys, nothing really matters to them more than knowing mom and dad think they’re awesome just the way they are. Knowing this brings them a level of comfort and peace that is unmatched by anything in their lives.
And as moms, we want to give our kids the very best. We want them to know that we would do anything to keep them safe and happy. Typically, our kids know that we love them just as they are. They understand that although we trip and fall, we are doing our best. I think kids really “get” that at an early age. But even with that understanding, our children still need to hear the right words from us. Our kids need to hear words that lift them up.
Parents can sometimes say things to children that leave them feeling less than confident, doubtful and discouraged. And generally, that is never the intent; no good parent willingly makes their kid feel bad. But based on how we were raised and how we’ve experienced the world, it’s not uncommon for parents to utter words that may come from a good place but ultimately leaves their kids in a bad place.
Here are 10 things you should never say to your kids.
- Why can’t you be more like__________.
Comparing a child to a sibling or anyone else in their lives is a sure way to make them feel bad about themselves. Every kid is unique and even if they are struggling academically or with behavior issues, you should never make them feel like you’d approve of them more if they were someone else. Acknowledge what makes your kid special and address any issues without comparisons.
- You never listen to me.
Kids can certainly frustrate us when they don’t listen, but telling a kid that they never listen is probably not accurate and it doesn’t do anything to address the actual behavior problem. Instead, talk to them about the importance of listening and how you feel when they don’t.
- I’m on a diet.
Moms, we have to stop passing on our body image issues to our little girls (and boys). If you are making lifestyle changes in order to feel better about yourself, go for it! That’s a great example to set for your kids. But don’t announce it as a diet, because when it starts to seem like you are on a different diet every other month, it sends a clear message to your kids that you have a bad relationship with food and very little control over it.
- Hurry up!
We live in an age where more and more children are being diagnosed with anxiety. I know kids can be as slow as molasses, but rushing them rarely helps. It just leaves you more annoyed and it leaves them feeling anxious about being unable to meet your expectations. Try your best to create circumstances where kids don’t have to rush (like waking up earlier), and if that still doesn’t work, use incentives to get them on track instead of telling them to hurry up.
- Wait until your father gets home!
You want and need your kids to respect and listen to you just as much as they do to their father. Once you start using this threat (and so many of us do), you set yourself up for living with some crazy kids who only behave when dad is around. This is definitely not a good situation for you.
- I’m ashamed of you.
Shame is such a strong emotion and no child should ever have to hear a parent say these words. Even if they did something awful, express that you are very disappointed in their actions (not in who they are as a person). It’s important to teach our kids that what they do does not define who they are or how much we love them.
- Just let me do it.
In our rushed world, it can sometimes seem so much easier to tell our kids that we will just do it instead of patiently waiting for them to do it themselves. For a child, actually learning a skill is far more important than the speed at which they do it. I know it’s faster to zip their jacket, but let them give it a try. It will boost their confidence and show them that you believe in their abilities.
- You’re in the way.
Even if you are working on something where you don’t need the kids involved, don’t make them feel like their presence is bothersome. Explain why you need to do it alone and assure them that they can help you with another task later because you enjoy it when they help with things.
- Because I said so.
I actually believe that kids should do what they are asked to do. However, I also believe that kids deserve an explanation (well, at least one that is suitable for a kid). Giving them an explanation doesn’t change the fact that it needs to be done, but it lets them know that there are reasons behind your requests and those reasons need to be respected.
- Clean your room, or else…
Threats don’t lead to positive results. Instead of threatening your kids, try to encourage them to do chores by using an incentive chart. If you feel the need to use consequences with older kids, definitely do, but explaining a consequence is different than delivering a threat.
Martine Foreman is a life + relationship coach, freelance writer, lifestyle blogger, and speaker. To learn more about her work and get great tips on how to create a life you love, check her out at CandidBelle.
Parenting is one of life’s most important jobs. But should you sacrifice everything for your kids? Experts say that doing the following things for your kids might feel like the right thing to do, but in the long run, they can have serious consequences.
When it comes to health and happiness, there are some times when parents, relationships, and even work should come first – according to some people.
There are no right and wrong ways to be a parent, but do you believe in doing these things for kids? Or do you have different ideas about what’s best for a child? We’d love to hear from moms, moms-to-be and might-as-well-be-moms in the comment section below.
Too many couples have a child to fix a bad relationship as if it’s the kid’s responsibility to fix two adults who never took the responsibility of fixing themselves. Sure. That will work. Actually, it’s the responsibility of parents to only welcome a child into a very stable home. That’s why only stable couples make good parents. You can try a practice run by doing some babysitting together or adopting a pet, but there is nothing that will prepare you for the real thing besides the real thing. So go through a checklist: do you and your partner have these qualities that will make you good parents?
Being the mother of two teenage boys is tough, especially in this day and age. Given the most recent sequence of events between young Black men and the police, it raises the worry bar more than a bit. When my boys started venturing out on their own, they got “the talk.” Not the birds and the bees talk. The “how to act when the cops approach you” talk. This has become a mandatory conversation in the majority of households that include young Black men. The profiling and possibility of randomly being stopped and searched is very real. People don’t believe it but it happens and will continue to happen. No matter how much you talk and prepare them for a possible encounter, I learned firsthand that it’s a whole different ball game when it actually happens.
A mother’s job is never done – especially when raising bright, ambitious super kids.
Moms, I’m sure you agree – looking into the eyes and souls of our children is nothing short of amazing. We make sacrifices daily to increase their quality of life and overall well-being. In fact, we invest so much into our kid’s dreams that we pray for a positive return as they enter into young adulthood.
In celebration of wonder kids with big ideas, who are raised by super moms like you and me, Madamenoire and African Pride Dream Kids present their first ever ‘Be the Boss’ editorial series, which highlights super moms and their passionate journey of raising vivid leaders.
Meet Turkesha McIvy, an Atlanta, GA blogger and yoga enthusiast, who is the mom of three amazing boys who range from the ages of 9 years-old to 20 years-old. Daily, she strives to make sure that her sons receive the adequate attention and care needed for a successful life. Check out her exclusive interview on ‘Be the Boss’ where she shares her expectations of her children and where she envisions them in the next few years.
Madamenoire: What kind of super-kids did you plan to raise?
Turkesha McIvy: I prayed that I would be blessed with kids that were independent, determined and ready to create the life that God had intended for them. I never put labels on what I want them to be – but rather I allow them to grow into their own destined careers.
Madamenoire: What traits do you see in your super-kids that may help them in the future?
Turkesha McIvy: My middle son who is 13 years-old and my 9-year-old both have the same personality traits as me. From the moment my 13 year-old was able to walk and talk he has been a thriving mini entrepreneur just like me. My boys have always been little men inside of a child’s body. Their ability to naturally want to help and see that others around them survive is simply amazing. Their drive and ambition to succeed reminds me of myself. Those skills will surely help them in the future.
Madamenoire: What is a recent activity that both you and your kids have collaborated on?
Turkesha McIvy: The kids have joined me in working with CHAMPS as volunteers yearly in Atlanta, where we take out time to help bring awareness to local men regarding the benefits of taking care of themselves and actively getting routine check-ups. This has been dear to our hearts since my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Madamenoire: What skill-sets or traits do you hold that makes you a supermom of your super children?
Turkesha McIvy: From an early age I have always been a strong reader and researcher. I have always been very inquisitive, determined and ambitious. I have always thrived off knowledge and the idea of learning everything about a particular subject, project or business and these are all traits that my super kids possess.
Check out our Be The Boss Kids episode of Marley Dias discussing her viral #1000blackgirlbooks campaign.