Before I had kids I had lots of "I'll never let my kid..." and "I'll never be 'that' mom at the grocery store" lectures to myself. I didn't voice them to anyone but it's the dirty little secret I kept to myself.
Then. I. Had. Kids.
Guess what? I have now been 'that' mom at the grocery store, the mall, the park..you get the idea. My older kids have TV's in their rooms which was one of many "I'll never let my kid" mantras that I failed miserably at. I found having one kid wasn't enough to really change me. To be completely honest, I was still a pretty judgmental and an arrogant know-it-all when it came to mothering. But things changed. I got older, had more kids, and my life's circumstances changed in a way I never thought was possible. This changed everything. Now I know that I don't really know much at all!
I actually think I'm a very good mom. What makes for a good mom? To me, it's that I love my kids in a ridiculously crazy way that I never thought was possible before kids. Now I make most of my decisions based on this love. I also try to instill work ethic, character and compassion in them. I do my best to not spoil them rotten with useless stuff in the process. Sounds like most moms, don't you think? I also treasure the fact that I don't have nearly the time I once wasted (yes, WASTED!!) thinking so much about myself. I have these people in my life that God has trusted me with, and one of the many gifts motherhood bestows on us is selflessness and confidence. I think as moms we still fall into those old judgmental habits sometimes though. Perhaps when we're feeling a little not so 'mother of the year' it's comforting to point out other mothers' choices and errr....their kid's behavior to lift us up a little?
It's been about five years since I read the book "I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids" but it's one of my favorites. The authors of the book have a blog too which is witty and super non-judgmental but, in my opinion, a tad on the ungrateful side. It kind of has a 'if Chelsea Handler had kids' feel to it. Do I sounds judgmental now? Just keepin' it real! I'm so blessed to be a mom and I work hard toward remembering that instead of griping because my kids want to eat dinner at night (this was the latest post). Of course, I still have my moments that last days...weeks...even months of not feeling like I measure up so this book is definitely worth the read. (Side note- I'm waiting for "I Was a Really Good Wife Before I Became One")
Check out this recent article from their blog here. I think it's amazingly insightful and worth reading. Now, can I just print this out and leave it on my kids' beds for them to read? Ha! I'll just use it as a cheat sheet and act like this mommy wisdom is all from my own awesome mommy head. ;)
The 10 Things I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me (that I Vow To Teach My Kids)
Looking back in my life, there are those things that I wish I would have known. Like in 7th grade, I wish someone would have told me that not having those lavender Gloria Vanderbilt jeans wouldn’t be the end of my life, and that if Dove Lustig didn’t like my hair, so what?
I wish someone would have said, ‘Amy. Stop. These years will not define who you are. There is SO much more after this. These years will seem silly to you later on. You WILL figure out who you are. And you WILL gain some self confidence and it really doesn’t matter if you completely fail at volleyball (or any other sport for that matter). And instead of what DOESN’T matter, how about what DOES?
Well, here are 10 things I fully intend to make sure my kids hear, and I will say them over and over in different ways until I’m sure they’ve truly sunk in.
1. Being self-effacing/authentic is not a weakness; it endears people to you. It makes you sparkle.
How much pressure do we all put on ourselves to be a certain way? What a relief to let all that go…and just be ourselves, and swim in all of our imperfections. That person is so much warmer, and real, and magnetic.
2. It’s all about attitude.
No matter what, even in the worst of times, the one thing we can control is our attitude. How we react — and how we handle any situation. We have the power to change the course of the hour, the day, the year, our whole lives…just with our outlook.
3. It’s almost never about you.
This one’s huge. If someone lashes out at you, the first question you should ponder is ‘I wonder what happened to them to make them act this way?’ It’s almost never about us. Once we embrace this, it’s so much easier to let things roll off our backs and move forward.
4. Know your audience.
Whether you’re chit chatting with a friend or sitting in a business meeting, put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re with. This simple act breeds empathy, and it’s incredibly precious and powerful.
5. The energy you put out creates your reality.
We have the power to create whatever we can imagine. Sounds almost crazy..and simple. And it is. When Trisha and I published our first book, we set our sights on the highest goal possible — getting on Oprah, and sitting on that stage, for the full hour, with her, talking to moms nationwide. We never let that image go, and put 100% energy into making it happen. And it did.
Even on a day to day basis, we don’t realize that we might be putting out negative energy in small ways. Strive higher and bigger – and believe. And do not let go until you reach that goal.
6. No one else can tell you who you are.
Not your mom, not your sister, not your friend, not your spouse. Let go of any expectations others have of and for you.
7. We are very small in this world but also very powerful.
It’s important to remember that there’s a huge universe out there beyond us. And despite this, we can, singularly, make a dynamic impact in our short time here.
8. Everything in moderation.
This goes for sugar, alcohol, deep fried oreos and reality tv.
9. When your child walks into the room, light up like a Christmas tree.
Every. Single. Time.
10. Give back. In whatever small way you can.