As mothers, our big goal every day is to teach our kids something big — an important life lesson that will stick with them through all of life’s challenges. But it’s easy to get caught up in the role of teaching, and we often forget to put ourselves in the roles of listening, learning and practicing. Since children generally follow the age-old, “monkey see, monkey do” method of learning, we risk them thinking we’re blowing hot air if we don’t practice the essential life lessons they hear us touting. If we want our children to monkey-see the value in these lessons, we have to monkey-do.
The Golden Rule, “treat others the way you want to be treated,” is one of the most on-going lessons we share with our children; it’s a lesson in empathy and respect. But we’ve all been guilty of neglecting how our actions might affect others. In the hustle of the day, it is so easy to lose sight of how we might have dismissed the grocery clerk, or taken a sharp, impatient tone with our own mothers over the phone.
What is self-respect, anyway? Self-respect is the foundation for the Golden Rule. If you don’t know how you want/deserve to be treated, you won’t know how to respectfully treat others. Take a look at how you treat yourself. Do you respect your own boundaries, your own needs and your own values?
Follow Your Dreams
There’s a small percentage of people who chase after their dreams, and you’d be crushed if your child didn’t grow up to be one of them. This is a big lesson to practice, but let’s real talk for a moment, are you following your dreams? Does your child get to see you actively pursuing your dreams?
Don’t Yell When You’re Angry
Raising your voice silences your argument, plain and simple. We do our best to teach this to our kids, but it’s all too easy to scream cathartically when you’re at your wits’ end with everything. Give yourself a minute to take a deep breath and regulate your tone.
Take a Time-Out
Oh time-outs, the famous go-to for teaching kids how to cool down when they are angry, or they’ve made a poor choice with their behavior. If you boil them down, time-outs are literally a time of reflection to “think about what you’ve done.” As moms, we find ourselves in constant motion. We always think, “I want to be a better mom,” but rarely consider taking a time-out for ourselves. For the record, it is perfectly OK to pull over to the side of the road or step out of the room for your own time out.
Finishing What We Start
A few years ago, I had moments where I thought leaving my architectural firm for my big dream was a mistake, but I persevered, and kept up momentum. I gave myself permission to ask for help and now I get to live out a dream of mine: helping other moms make positive change in their lives. If we’re going to start chasing our dreams, we deserve to see them through.
Even when ours kids get half way through a soccer season, and realize they might not be into the sport anymore, we encourage them to finish the season, because quitting only makes it feel OK to quit in other areas. Helping our kids see that we finish what we start can pay off when they’re faced with something that really matters — something we’d hate to see them quit.