I love my children to death, but they don’t always say “Yes, Mommy,” and what I’ve learned in my last seven years as a mother, is that I don’t want them to always say yes.
In real life, if they disagree with someone or something, I want them to feel confident in speaking their minds, but doing it in a way that is respectful. My children challenge me in ways I never thought possible, but I’m learning about the blessing of personal growth I’ve experienced through motherhood. I’ve learned a few things, through the gift of counseling, that I think are good ways to interact with my children, and really any human being for that matter.
First, I’ve learned that people desire to be heard rather than spoken at. I can not even count the number of times I have been in an argument, only to realize that the other person is simply creating their next argument while I’m speaking. They’re not listening to me, but rather focused on their own thoughts with complete disregard for anything I may be trying to express to them.
Next, I’ve learned that an empathetic attitude diffuses situations better than a demanding attitude. This is not to say my children get what they want when they whine. It’s that I try to listen to their desires and expectations too, and see if we can work them into our plan. Schoolwork is a necessity, but I can empathize with hating math, so maybe I let them choose if they want to do that first to get it out of the way or wait until later. I only need to make sure they get it done; they can choose which order they want to do their work.
Finally, I’ve learned that sometimes my kids just need a hug. When I work on their school work with them, I always have them redo any questions they got wrong. They’re obviously not big fans of this, because no one likes their mistakes pointed out to them. Sometimes they lash out and start screaming and crying. I know this process is in their best interest, so that I ensure they’re learning the material, but they might not know that or even care about that in the moment. I’ve found that once the crying escalates into a meltdown, a hug and a word of affirmation can stop the meltdown in it’s tracks. A moment of empathy is what they need: “Look at all you got right,” or “I know it’s hard, would you like me to sit with you while you work?” may calm them down and help them to get back on track.
Ultimately, I tend to be a demanding mom, whose life, I believe, would be more peaceful and complete if my children said, “Yes Mommy,” every time I asked them to do something. I do expect them to be respectful, but I also need to realize that their angry attitude might actually be about the insecurities they’re feeling and dealing with. I want them to work through their feelings and be able to express emotion. I also want them to feel heard and loved.
In the end, it seems that yet again, I’m faced with the notion that motherhood is a hard balance. I don’t have all the answers. I’m sure I’m messing up my kids somehow, and I’m praying that today I can do my best to parent them. Each situation provides me an opportunity, to learn how to not only be patient with my children, but also how to be patient with myself. I simply beg the Lord to show me how to love them as He loves us. And if he could erase their memories of my own crazy meltdowns, that would be wonderful too!
Copyright 2018 Courtney Vallejo.