03 May 2008

What kind of mom are you?

There's nothing like a little self-introspection to help you see where you need a little work. But it's also a great way to see where you excel. This week I was faced with the question "What kind of mom are you?" And there it was, the good, the bad, and the ugly, staring me in the face.

The Good

I cannot help but embrace the fun side of parenting. I am a kid at heart, probably always will be. So the birthday parties, the spontaneous adventures, the holiday extras - I am very good at.

I learn all I can about my children's development and ways that I can enhance that. 3 out of 4 of my children have required some kind of therapy - speech, occupational and physical. Naturally, I am drawn to interactive, hands on, very developmental play. So I am a conossieur, of sorts, of good "educational" toys and activities for kids. And I'll be blogging on that soon.

I am very involved in my children's education. I follow what they are learning and how they are learning it and develop good relationships with their teachers. I strongly enforce time together as a family.

I believe in active church attendance.

My kids know what a balanced meal is and what is good or bad for their bodies.

My kids are LOVED. I am very affectionate with them and rarely let them slip by me without grabbing them and hugging them.

The Bad

I wish I was a better "teacher" for my children. It's one area where I am not so patient... and I get told a lot how patient I am. But when it comes to potty training or homework or learning to skate I am lacking in calmness. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me; I love to see my children succeed and wait with open arms after their big accomplishments. But the process has always frustrating. (Their temperaments have a lot to do with it - they are passionate little souls!)

I fight structure a lot because I am such a creative free spirit. Problem is my boys need structure. They have energy, and I don't mean they are active, I mean they are rarely STILL. Without knowing what comes next, there is always chaos. I make charts for them, and do great for a couple weeks, and then slack off, and then try again, and then slack off. It's a constant effort for me. I've never really fallen into a good pattern with it. I keep thinking they were sent to the wrong mom. Lol! They need someone who is uber organized!

I am afraid to push my children too hard. To me, there is a fine, delicate line between encouragement and demand. I don't want them to feel like they have to excel at everything they do, nor do I want to overload them with extracurricular activites. But I see so much potential in each of them that if I followed their every interest that is exactly what would happen, overload. Still, am I denying them the opportunity to develop certain talents and interests by restricting them to one thing at a time? I don't know... I am trying to figure out what our balance is.

The Ugly

Now who wants to go there? Lol.

When my kids have tantrums, I freeze for a moment. I am not real confident when it comes to discipline or putting out fires. If I remember to redirect, I do great, because I can get creative and completely turn their attention to something else. I just have to get over my anxiety first! Otherwise I tend to ignor the episode and just hope it ends quickly! That holds true for maybe 1 out of my 4 children. She's my last and is very mellow in comparison to her siblings.

I yell a lot. Granted, it's the only way I am heard (as it gets quite loud in our house), but it just puts everyone on the defense and is bad for the overall tone in our home. This is another habit I am usually able to kick for a couple weeks, and then it creeps back up on me, and then I get control again, and so on. I know a lot of moms feel that way.

I also forget family prayer about 50% of the time. *blush* We remember to bless our food but by the end of the day I want them in bed and at the beginning of the day we are usually in a rush out the door. Making the time to kneel down together as a family would make such a huge difference in everything I struggle with as a mom. I KNOW that, and yet I still have not formed the habit. Tsk, tsk!

So what are your observations about yourself? What are you great at and what do you wish you could improve? I am sure there are some of you whose strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. That's why I am careful not to compare myself to other mothers. I can learn from them, but it does me no good to wish I were more like them. Besides, what would we learn from each other if we were all the same?

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Yvonne said...

Such an honest evaluation. Wow, you have given me lots to think about. (But then again, you always do) I look back and realize I did so many things wrong, but then I tell myself I really did the best I knew at the time.

I think you are doing a fabulous job. Thanks for helping me think about the things I should be doing differently.

An Ordinary Mom said...

What an inspiring and honest post. This would probably be a good exercise for all of us parents to do. I have been thinking a lot about motherhood lately and this just gives me more to think about. Thanks!

utmommy said...

What a great post! I think we all have our good, bad, and ugly. This was a great self-evaluation. I may just have to do this for myself.

Pendullum said...

Sounds like you are on a great mother to me...
No one is perfect...
But it sounds to me like the perfect mother for your kids...

Anonymous said...

loved this post. ITA agree that a person's weaknesses are another's strengths and vice versa. I have the family prayer part down, but the interactive playing and knowing all they are learning-- um how do I do that? LOL. Now that I will have two in school FT next year it will be a great time to figure all that out.

MommyK said...

I yell a lot too and then feel terrible for not being more patient with my almost four year old.

This is a great post!

Leisha said...

I love that you wrote this about yourself. For me, I am always looking at what I don't do very good. Maybe I'll make a post starting with the good things :-) maybe. lol

Here's my start. . .

I yell too. A.LOT. A.WHOLE.LOT! I wish I didn't but I figure if all I do it yell then I've come a far way from how my parents react and how I therefore learned to react. Bad excuse but it's the truth.

I suck at structure. I would rather just do whatever we feel like at the moment. Your thing on your boys needing it. . .rings all to true for me. Mine needs it too and I know our days run better when I lay it all out for him and "prepare" him for what is coming next. Yet I rarely take the time to actually plan it out.

If I get the "have to do" stuff done for the day then I really do care what happens next. There really should be more "have to do" productivity around this house.

OK. That's a good start although I didn't start with the positives. lol What can I say, the negative is always just on the "things to improve" list so it comes to mind first.

I'll work on it :-)

tjhirst said...

Hope you don't mind my comment, I've been reading since you posted on Just and Orange, and this post really touched me. I thought as I read about the Good mom how really good those things are. But when I realized that you wrote this "I make charts for them, and do great for a couple weeks, and then slack off, and then try again, and then slack off." then I thought I needed to say how normal, and not bad that is. I do charts, but I slack off, and so do they. I wondered if I was bad or not consistent. Then, this thought came, the "rule" or the "goal" is not really to mark the chart. The goal is the end result. Since then, if I see that we are progressing toward the end result, even though the chart is being neglected, I give myself and them a little "wiggle room". Again, great thought. I may have to make my own list on my site in the near future.

Melzie said...

The good: I am crazily, anal-organized. It's a down side for my hubby. :)

The bad: because of the first, I won't do anything else, unless what needs to be left out can be fit in elsewhere.

The ugly: I'm a yeller too... and I HATE it... I try, and try, and try... *sigh*

Lei said...

tj - not at all, thanks for commenting! you are right, some of what i'd like to change IS normal, for a lot of moms. But the desire to improve myself is genuine. some of these thigns may always be my "weakest" links, which is okay, too. but i strive - we all do! hope you drop in again!

Chel said...

I loved this. It is quite eye-opening when one evaluates themselves. It wouldn't hurt me to do the same thing and really work on the "ugly."

Shellie said...

Oh, boy that hits the spot, you sound so much like me as a mom. I have to say I struggle with the consistency thing. Even when I try hard to follow through, with 5 to follow through with and a very distracted brain, something always falls through the cracks. The irony is the kind of child I have needs lots of structure and consistency. I was asking Heavenly Father once I realized this fact why He would give them to such an inconsistent mom, and the answer was: he he, pretty slick trick, eh? Hope His plan works and I finally learn consistency before ruining them all. :)