There is a lot of pressure on moms these days. Maybe there always has been. But it seems that social media makes it so much harder to be a mom, or at least it can make a mom feel like she just isn’t good enough. We question our methods, our instincts, our decisions. Are we doing enough? Are we overprotecting or under protecting our kids? Why isn’t my kid an honor student like so-and-so’s on Facebook. Where did I fail? Will my kids grow up lacking some necessary variable that I forgot to add to the family equation? Facing these uncertainties can make parenting downright difficult, but if we take this job one day at a time then maybe it will be more manageable. Maybe today we just focus on making today successful.
I am not a perfect parent and sometimes I fail. Sometimes, as a military wife, I have to parent alone and that can be hard. But deployment parenting has taught me a lot of life skills. One thing I have tried to do is to set a lot of short term goals because I have found that succeeding at short term goals significantly increases the likelihood that worthy goals will become long term habits.
The five actions on this list are things that I try to do regularly. Some I do daily and others I have to remind myself to do or I will forget. I challenge you to include these five things in your day today and let me know how it goes.
5 Things You Can Do Today That Will Make a Difference to Your Children (in no particular order)
- Put your cell phone down. Seriously. Put it down. Leave it in your purse, not your pocket. If you take the kids to the park be sure to engage with them there instead of texting with a friend. I understand that sometimes you are waiting for an important call, but do you need to stare at Instagram while you wait? Most of us have been guilty of this but it is easy to fix and we need to fix it. Do you want your child to grow up and remember you as a mom who was always on the phone? I know I don’t.
- Play a make believe game with them. This is so hard for me because it doesn’t come naturally. I really do not enjoy pretending to be a dragon or a princess but I do enjoy the light in my children’s eyes when I make believe with them.
- Go for a walk. After a long unintentional hiatus from walking, we just picked the habit up again. Once around our block is exactly a mile and that really isn’t very far. Walking around the block gives us the opportunity to chat, enjoy the weather, and even review safety rules like looking both ways and watching for snakes (a real risk here). A one mile walk with kiddos might take about 20 minutes, less than the average sitcom.
- Let your children help make dinner. Someday your child will have to cook dinner for his or her family. Start teaching them now – it is a gift they will later pass on to their own children. Aside from the teaching benefit, letting the kids help out in the kitchen gives you a chance to talk with your kiddos and make them feel like they are an important part of the family equation. This is especially useful for boys who often feel more inclined to talk if they are busy completing a task.
- Tell them you love them. Yes, I am sure they know, but tell them anyway. Tell them often.