By Guest Blogger Debbie Wilkins Baisden
I’m getting ready to hurt your feelings. I’m sorry. I have to though. You’re too good of a mom. And you don’t even know it. You may tell yourself you’re lousy in the motherhood department. “I should….,””I could….” is how you frame your failures with your parenting. In some ways you’re right; you should stop letting your 18 year old put forks into electrical outlets and you could change the diaper before grossing out crowds in public. But overall, you’re just TOO good of a mom. (I am not complimenting you.)
Side note. I have never been asked to write a parenting manual. Okay, that’s out of the way.
Here’s what I mean: let’s take a quick quiz. Have you ever said any of the following to your critters:
___ I asked you to get your shoes on, honey! Here, let me do it for you. We are in a hurry!
___ I thought you knew how to buckle your car seatbelt, sweetie pie. I’ll help you this one time.
___ I just cleaned your filthy room. I hope you don’t think your wife is going to do this for you one day!
___ Your ponytail is messed up. I’ll fix it for you, pumpkin. Mommy has been doing hair for years.
___ Yes, my lovely 8 year old, I will cut up your steak.
___ That’s too heavy for you to carry. You may fall and get hurt, so give it to me.
___ I can’t believe you smacked your sister on purpose! If you do that again, I’m going to give you consequences.
___ You’re the bravest kid in the whole world for killing that ant. I’m so proud of you I could burst!
___ I know I said it’s time for breakfast but thank you for helping me realize your cartoon isn’t over yet. We’ll wait for you when you’re ready.
Okay, you get the picture. Are you accidentally handicapping your kids? Are you stunting their growth? Are you enabling dependence instead of independence? Ouch.
I want you to be a “bad” mom. I want you to let your kids FAIL. Stop complimenting superficially (“You‘re the smartest kid in the whole world!”). Stop rushing in and “fixing.”
You know why we aim to be so helpful? Because those little munchkins started as the most incapable newborns who depended on us EVERY minute of every day. Infants cannot do ANYTHING for themselves. You HAVE to do it all. The problem comes when you don’t grow with them. Cut the cord already. As they become more independent, they need you less. That may be a struggle for you….to be needed LESS. You got used to being needed and wanted. Maybe that’s why you have more kids than you can count; you just had to keep being needed.
Excusing misbehavior, delaying consequences, doing things they are capable of, or doing things “better” than they can…..guess what? It makes you (don’t hate me) a not-so-awesome mom. I’m not trying to hurt your heart. The hatching butterfly analogy should be placed here. If you help a struggling butterfly get out of that cocoon, it will die. It needs to develop the strength to escape so it can walk and fly. Same thing with your kid. If you’re going to help wipe that kid’s bottom at age 6 (“but I hate when my kid doesn’t wipe well and then gets an itchy rash”), when will you stop? If you’re sick of letting your ankle-biter crawl into your bed at night, why do you continue to let them in?
If you do everything for your little offspring and never challenge them and never let them fail, they will be handicapped. No self-confidence. Doesn’t that make sense? “I can’t do my hair right but Mommy can.” “I don’t think I can put away my laundry but Mommy knows where my socks go and she even shuts the drawers.” “I bet if I stick out my bottom lip I’ll get my way.” “She won’t actually put me in time-out.”
Stop being a good mom. Be a BETTER mom.
They’ll thank you one day. No, they may not actually thank you one day. But you’ll watch him or her as a functional adult who has healthy relationships. They won’t be co-dependent. They won’t be a wallflower at parties. They will be hard workers who appreciate their strengths and capabilities. They will function as contributors to society. Their spouse will be grateful they don’t have to make the bed.
Let’s decide here and now to turn things around. Let’s ‘ace’ this quiz like this:
___ I’ve asked you to put your shoes on. We will not be able to go to your friend’s house until you do, so I’m going to go read a book while you do that.
___ You know how to buckle your seatbelt. Show me how you do it like a big girl.
___ Your room is toxic. I guess you can clean it instead of playing games with the family before movie night.
___ I love how you do your own ponytails. Will you put my hair up for me?
___ You’re 8. Cut your own meat or starve.
___ That box looks heavy. Good luck! You’re so strong! I’ll be in the kitchen doing dishes.
___ I can’t believe you smacked your sister. That is not okay. It’s time to go to the corner for Time Out for 4 minutes.
___ Thanks for killing that creepy ant.
___ It’s time for breakfast so I’m turning off the TV. If you throw a fit, you may take that drama to your room. Your food will be cold when you’re back to your regular self.
So, go ahead and be a “lousy” mom. Be a “bad” mom. Make your kids squirm and even suffer a little. And order yourself an engraved “Most Awesome Mom in the World” trophy.
Debbie is part of the Momsanity Team, which is a community of Moms striving to achieve balance through physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. You can read more about this amazing program here, and also get information about the Momsanity Sisterhood here. The Sisterhood is a closed group with nutrition guidelines, workouts designed for fat loss and strength building, daily spiritual guidance, and more!