>As many of us know all too well, being a parent definitely has it’s challenges. You find yourself stuck between what works and what is best. You cross your fingers and hope that everything you are doing for your child will help them develop into the amazing person you know they can be. What happens though, when you look in the mirror and you don’t see one ounce of the mother you had always dreamt to be?
We have 2 children, a 5 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. They are the loves of my life, they make the world turn and I am honoured to be their mother. If you had asked me 5 years ago, right before the birth of my son, how I planned to parent my children, I would have told you a wonderful story of a magical land called ‘Mom-topia’, where my kids were well behaved, my relationship was perfect and every room was filled with the sounds of laughter. Looking back now, you could say I was young and naive – I suffered from new-mom syndrome for sure. So the question is – was I really nuts to think that my life could turn out like that or does Mom-topia really exist?
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying our lives are miserable at all. We are all content in our day-to-day lives. The problem is that we are living in a never-ending loop and looking at the future, I don’t think that we are instilling our true feelings and values into our kids. We have taken the easy road in parenting. We yell, we get overly frustrated, we are not always kind to each other. Not just as parents but as a couple. We aren’t on the same page at times and we definitely are not spending enough time making sure our kids feel happy & secure about their lives.
So I took to the net. There had to be an answer out there somewhere. I started by making a list of all the things I do not like about myself as a parent & partner. I began googling. I was like a kid in a candy store, reading blogs from other parents, articles written by experts – and when I put it all together, I realized that my Mom-topia does exist – I can have my “perfect” family life. It’s just going to take a lot of work from all of us.
I wrote out an action plan for our family and emailed it to my fiance Mike. He and I have been bickering quite a lot lately about our household and so it is definitely the time to do something. Everything from our parenting styles to my lack of cleaning (I admit, I procrastinate until the last possible moment which drives my neat-freak man nuts). We are both guilty of being lazy parents, lazy partners… lazy human beings. That, mixed with the fact that we have a son who definitely requires some creative parenting, is a recipe for failure.
By the time I had sent the proposed plan to Mike, it was coming on the end of the day. I wasn’t sure if he even had a chance to read it before leaving work, let alone if he would agree to any of it. When he walked in the door a couple hours later, I had my answer. He immediately striked up a conversation with our son and by the way he was talking, I could tell he had read my proposal. I turned, asked if he was on board. He said yes.
So tonight after our youngest went to bed, we sat our son down for our first weekly family meeting and had a discussion. It felt very “Nanny 9-1-1” as I had our “Family Rules” typed out on a sheet (see below) and we went through one-by-one, explaining what each meant and engaging him in a conversation about the topic so we could be sure he understood. The reaction we received was absolutely amazing! As we went down the list, his eyes lit up and a sense of relief fell over this little boy, like a weight had been lifted.
This list may actually seem pretty normal to some of you but each is something that we desperately need to work on. We yell at each other (especially the kids when they are misbehaving), we show little respect for each other at times, we spend a lot of time arguing (and if you’ve ever argued with a 5 year old, you know it’s never-ending), we don’t have any set list of chores, we give the kids time-outs which I no longer agree with (will post more later), we hardly ever eat dinner together as a family, we don’t spend nearly enough time together as a family and tend to retire to our own corner when we get home, we use a lot of negative words such as “can’t”, “won’t” & “bad”, we do not set any goals for our family… and last but not least, we never sit down and make decisions as a family.
I will be using this blog to keep a log of our progress. Mike and I agreed that this is going to be very tough but if we can keep it up, it will eventually become second nature and that is our ultimate goal here.