A New Start for New Year
Shoo, the holidays have been busy, haven’t they? As Moms, holidays generally mean doubling up on our housework and child-minding responsibilities. Finding time to reflect on the past year and plan for the New Year can be pretty low down on our priority list. Or at least it has felt that way for me, until yesterday, when a few events prompted me to start thinking about what I’ve learnt this past year and how this may impact 2018.
We had lunch in a restaurant play area yesterday (as one does as a Mom) and there was one kid who kept hitting other kids. I watched how his Mom had to intervene time and time again and my heart went out to her. She was soft, gentle, patient, even when he struck out at her.
I wanted to go over and say I understood. I’ve been through this phase. I’ve been that mother wondering whether my child would turn out to be a bully because he was going through the hitting phase. I wanted to throw her a lifeline. I wanted to tell her what I’d learnt about Hand in Hand Parenting – suggest perhaps that she gives her son some special time as I could only imagine her son was terrified of something, and acting out of “fight or flight”.
But I didn’t, for fear that the Mom would take me up the wrong way. That she would think I was questioning or criticising her parenting. And that was not my intention at all.
At some point, she left and I knew that I had missed my chance to reach out with compassion and understanding to a fellow Mom. And then a new opportunity arose for me to find my voice and this time I knew exactly what to say and when to say it.
Another young boy had hit another child, a little girl and the little girl was in tears at the table next to me. The boy’s Mom saw the whole thing happen. She stormed over to her son and took him by the arm to the family, asking him, “how would you feel if someone had done that to you?” She asked him to apologise and he resisted, saying, “but I wasn’t playing with that girl”. She took him back to their family table and a few minutes later she was back with her son and he was ready to apologise. I have no idea what she said to him to make him apologise, but I saw a mother standing firm, grappling with her son’s behaviour and tears welled up in my eyes as I said, “You are such a great Mommy”.
She shrugged it off saying, “you have no idea how close I came to smacking my child here in front of everybody and getting arrested”. (Spanking has recently become illegal here in South Africa, I’ve been working on an article on the subject and will publish it soon).
But she didn’t smack her son. She kept her anger in check even though she was incensed by her son’s behaviour, as she felt her son had acted maliciously. And she guided him to take responsibility for how he had made the little girl feel.
Bravo Mom! You did goood.
5 New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Moms
When I got home, I discovered an email from Bloglovin’ recommending I read this brilliant post, which I love.
And it inspired me to start writing a post on New Year’s Resolutions for Moms.
Here’s my take.
1. Be Kind to Yourself, Mama – aka Let Go of Mom Guilt
Here’s the thing. We are all doing the best we can, with the knowledge and awareness we have at this time.
We all love our children. We all want the best for our children. We all want our kids to grow up well-adjusted and kind.
So let go of all those shoulds and have-to’s. Let go of the self-flagellation.
Honour yourself as the beautiful, wonderful, loving Mother you are.
And if you’re struggling with this one, if you can’t find a way to forgive yourself… perhaps you need to start here…
2. Be Kind to Your Parents – aka Stop Blaming Your Parents
I heard or read a wonderful story somewhere. It as about twin boys born to an alcoholic, abusive Father who could never hold down a job.
The one boy grew up to a be an alcoholic, abusive Father who could never hold down a job.
The other boy grew up to be a loving Father and husband, a successful businessman and a pillar of the community.
When both boys were asked why their lives turned out the way they did, they both responded in the same way:
“With a Father like that, how could I be anything else?”
You see, it’s not what our parents did or didn’t do that shapes us, it’s who we are and how we respond to our circumstances.
Your circumstances don’t define you, your past doesn’t define you. You define you.
You have a choice, right now, to choose who you are.
When you choose to forgive, when you drop the blame game and take full responsibility for your life, everything changes.
Need help with this? Try this process by Byron Katie.
I started doing The Work when I read Katie’s first book, Loving What Is, now available on Amazon for only $11.55.
Watch a few videos of The Work and you will get the hang of it quickly. Here’s just one…
3. Be Kind to Your Children
Here’s what I learnt when I started looking at Hand in Hand Parenting:
Your children are naturally, inherently good and want to please you.
When your children act out it is generally out of fear.
What they need in this moment is Love. Love conquers fear.
Excellent post about Hand in Hand Parenting here:
4. Be Kind to Other Moms
Just as you’re doing the best you can, so is every other Mom out there.
Recognise that everything another Mom is going through, you’re going to go through too – at some stage. Or maybe you’ve already been through it.
None of us is immune.
No child is good as gold every moment of every day. And no mother can act with patience and compassion every time their child pushes their boundaries.
Sometimes children lose control. Sometimes Moms lose control. Hey, we are all human.
So let’s stop this judging business. Let’s show compassion when a child is acting out and a Mother is embarrassed by their behaviour. Let’s help out if we can. Tell her what a great job she’s doing. Why not?
Isn’t that what we would want in the same situation?
5. Be Kind to Your Spouse or Father of Your Child(ren)
Yes! Even if you’re separated or divorced.
Even if they are not being kind to you.
Even you are both so busy, distracted or stressed that your conversation has been reduced to bickering, fault-finding and one-upmanship.
I do more than you around here. It’s your turn. Why don’t you appreciate me?
Any of these sound familiar? Stop. Your children hear these.
Because if you’re not being kind to the Father of your children, you are not being kind to your children.
Your children feel it. They feel responsible. Your children feel somehow that they are to blame if you and their Father are at odds.
And you feel it too. Criticism begets criticism just as kindness begets kindness.
You have the power to stop the cycle.
This one is huge. Here we go with the forgiveness theme all over again.
And again, The Work by Byron Katie is brilliant for this.
As we forgive our partners, our parents, our children, friends, strangers and ourselves, we find happiness, freedom and peace.
Wishing you a 2018 of Kindness, Forgiveness and Love. You are an amaaazing Mom.
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