I’m just going to say this right here…
Sometimes my kids don’t like me very much. They don’t like the rules. Sometimes my kids aren’t happy. Sometimes my four-year-old shouts down the stairs, “This is why I don’t like families!!!” because I’ve asked him to go get in the bathtub.
But moms, if we’re waiting for our kids’ approval, if we need our kids to like us all the time, if we are offended by their reactions and the ridiculous things they shout out in fits of rage…we’re going to be waiting forever and have hurt feelings ALL THE TIME!
The truth is I’m a mom who does mom things.
The truth is my kids are never going to turn to me at bedtime and smile sweetly saying, “Thanks for enforcing bedtime, Mom. I know I need my sleep. You’re absolutely right. You’re such a great mom!”
No. They’ll continue to tell me how it’s not fair and no one else has to go to bed this early and they can just sleep in tomorrow and they’re not tired and they won’t be able to fall asleep because it is still light outside.
The truth is, my job is to set some ground rules and boundaries and spend my days reinforcing them as best I can whether it makes my kids ‘happy’ or not.
That’s part of being a mom, right?
We KNOW our kids need enough sleep. And we know how the day goes with kids who are chronically overtired.
We KNOW our kids need to limit their time with screens. We can see they are happier, healthier people when they aren’t staring at the TV or a phone or a tablet for hours on end.
We KNOW our kids need to eat healthy foods and we’ve heard all the statistics on obesity rates in kids.
We KNOW our kids need to get out in the fresh air for some exercise and hope they will grow up living a healthy lifestyle. And we know what happens around the house when kids have energy to spare.
We KNOW they need to learn responsibility and how to contribute to a family. We know they need to clean toilets and pull weeds and vacuum and put away laundry and mow the lawn. And we know that in just a few short years they’ll be living on their own doing all these chores.
We KNOW that literacy ranks top of the list in education and reading is paramount to their ongoing learning and development.
We’ve read all the articles and all the books and we can quote what the American Academy of Pediatrics or World Health Organization has to say on all these topics.
But our kids are KIDS and they mostly don’t care and they mostly think we are lame.
Our kids’ momentary happiness is not the goal here. We’ve got to keep our eyes on the end game sometimes even if it means they don’t like us that much!
All that being said, the flip side of this is…
Moms, we’ve got to lighten up and simmer down!!
We’ve got to accept that despite these lofty goals of 10+ hours of sleep and 5+ fruits and veggies and 2 hours or less of screen time and 1+ hours of exercise and 20 minutes of reading, most days things will go astray and these goals will be completely jacked!
These are GUIDELINES.
If we only get half of these half of the time we are doing pretty good!
I know we judge ourselves by how well we are providing these things for our children (and also how our children seem to be turning out) so we walk around most days feeling like gigantic mom failures who just aren’t doing it right.
But we are!
I have mom after mom come into my office with their little ones for well-baby exams or kindergarten check-ups or 7th grade physicals and so often they seem a little nervous like they are about to be exposed. I ask questions about sleep patterns and eating habits and exercise and school and developmental milestones because it’s my job. But I’m also quick to tell them how perfect their babies are! How their kiddos are growing up just right! I’m always quick to say, “Mom, you are doing such a great job!”
Because we are. I promise.
Are they mostly well fed and mostly clean and occasionally read to instead of staring at a screen???
Are there some days when they sit playing Fortnite in yesterday’s clothes while eating popsicles for most of the day???
Do we love them so much we would fight off a bear for them??
Of course…without hesitation.
So moms, let’s give ourselves a break. Let’s set some ground rules and do our best and determine we mostly want to ENJOY our children!!!
That’s the ultimate goal, right? To do our very best and love them like crazy and just enjoy these fleeting Kid Years as best we can???
That’s my mantra. That’s the real truth.
Then when I send my tired four-year-old to bed at 8:30 while it is still light out in the summer and he says through hysterical tears, “You are the worst Mom ever!! You are evil!!” I won’t take it too personally. I can just smile and nod and snuggle next to him anyway until he falls asleep in two minutes.
Moms, we are doing such a good job!
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