Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"You're (Not Always) A Good Mom!" But you can make it right.

You've probably seen one of those "You're a good mom" pictures or blog posts floating around, where a well-intended author tries to bridge a gap between parenting styles and leave everyone with a warm and fuzzy feeling about their own individual parenting decisions. I say "well-intended" because oftentimes parents are either full of guilt or gloat based on what is going on in their family, and these authors attempt to put everyone at ease and say "NO MATTER WHAT, YOU'RE A GOOD MOM!" If you haven't seen what I'm referring to, I'll give you a few examples of them:

To the woman who lets her 14 year old still use a pacifier because it creates security, you're a good mom.
To the woman who lets her 2 minute old baby cry it out because she just needs a good night's sleep for once, you're a good mom.

To the woman who won't allow her child to consume any sugar to the point of making him wear a facemask at birthday parties out of fear that he might inhale sugar particles, you're a good mom.
To the woman who feeds her child pink-slime-chicken-nuggets every single lunch and dinner because that's what junior likes to eat, you're a good mom.

To the woman who uses all of her stay-at-home-mom time to keep her house immaculate and doesn't even remember what her children's faces look like, you're a good mom.
To the woman who hasn't seen the bottom of her sink in weeks and keeps clothes on the floor to cover the cockroaches, don't worry. You're a good mom and you're doing a great job!

There comes a point when we have to draw a line here. I am all about bending the rules and doing what needs to be done to get through the long days, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes, we are not always good moms! Sometimes we are downright sucky. (And no, I'm not going to follow that sentence by saying "And that's ok!") It happens, I know. It happens to the best of us. We do stuff we are not proud of. Whether it's because of ignorance, arrogance, laziness, selfishness, pride, anger, or fear - let's be honest, sometimes we just stink at the whole parenting thing.

As someone who's learning every single day about the whole parenting thing, I am not looking for someone to reach through my computer screen and pat me on the back saying, "It's okay - you're a good mom." I'd rather they reach through, give me a hug, and say, "I know. I've been there before. Now make it right." Better yet, I wish they'd hand me a WAY to make it right.
Well, I'm doing that tonight! After a couple years of hearing about this book, and after a year of it sitting on my shelf, I finally read it. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you "Connection Parenting" by Pam Leo.

This is, by far, THE most amazing book I have read on parenting - ever. "Parenting through connection instead of coercion, through love instead of fear."

No, this is not some floofy floffy "let your child decide whether it's time to pick up his toys or not" book. This is a book that is short, to the point, and remarkably eye-opening. It talks about connection between parents and children, but the cool thing is that it is entirely applicable to all relationships, even the people you interact with on a short, daily basis.

I am not going to tell you the whole book, although I do wish I could copy and paste the entire thing into this blog post because every single sentence spoke right to my heart. The way she writes makes it so easy for the reader to "get it". She doesn't lay out scripts for every challenging scenario you'll have with your child because she doesn't need to. Instead, she presents the compassionate, respectful, and helpful education needed to connect with them before, during, and after those upsets occur. (Ian and Marie, if you read this, that reference was for you guys.)

She does this by showing just how important it is to build a healthy level of self-esteem and self-worth. Many people scoff at this notion and make fun of parents who are aware of their children's self-esteem. The ironic thing, though, is that almost ALL of our behavior is based on self-esteem. Whether people are trying to prove something, over-compensate for something, compete with someone, are afraid of doing something, or maybe won't stand up for themselves - it all comes down to self-esteem and self-worth. My husband and I talk all the time about how so many of the current issues our world faces are centered around self-esteem, and how finding a balance between low and high self-esteem could end wars, stop greed, end the need for pornography, stop child abuse/molestation, end violence, etc. How can we NOT see the importance of this part of ourselves, and our children?

There is no single factor more radical in its potential for healing the world than a transformation in how we raise children.
-Marianne Williamson

It might be very easy for seasoned parents to hear about this book, or even read it, only to blow it off. Or feel so guilty about past actions that their feelings block their ability to go forward and make change. Don't let that happen. Everything in here makes so much sense...all it takes is for you to set aside that pride and be willing to see the beauty and love that can come from these connections.

I'm not claiming to be a pro, nor do I think all tensions will subside between me and my Little Olive since reading this book, but I do know that what Pam Leo talks about works. Tonight after finishing reading this book, I immediately was able to put into action the advice she gives. My mindset was completely different while addressing frustrating issues than it had been a couple days before. I will read this book once a week if needed to help me carry out the way I want to parent.

In my humble opinion, so should you! So go on...go buy this book, read it and have a good cry (emotional healing!), then put your big girl panties on. Leave your ego at the door and make things right (restitution!). It's never too late! 

Who's with me?


LuAnn said...

Who's with you? Me. Can't wait to read this book.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I am definitely going to check this book out and share this link. :)