Lazy Mom's blog

Parenting

When we fail in motherhood

When we fail in motherhood: or when we feel like we do! Parenting isn't easy, and we have all been there! So if you feel like you're failing as a mom, read this!

Some days we make magic happen: we cuddle our kids, soothe their boo-boos, listen and encourage them. We smile at their silliness and we calmly respond to their demands. Some days you and me, we are simply best moms on earth.

But then there are days, when we fail completely and miserably in mothering . We raise our vice over every little thing, we get impatient in a blink of an eye, and our tired minds are begging us for a moment of peace. Days when it feels as if their voices, crying and whining, are taking over our minds. And we just want to be left alone.

There are days when I’m a bad mom, and I know there are the days when you feel like you’re one too.

And this is when I ask myself, why am I even a parenting writer? Should I really have more kids? And am I staining my daughters childhood with my anger and impatience? Will they remember these moments of my tense face and harsh voice? Will they remember how I made them cry?

There are days when I’m so full of guilt and self-doubt that I can hardy breathe. I imagine ruining their lives with my anger. Filling their soul with bitterness and anxiety.

Because aren’t mothers entirely responsible for their kids happiness? Shouldn’t we always be the oasis of calm acceptance and love? 

Well, no. We are supposed to be good enough. Responding to their needs most of the time. And when we show them anger, this is when they learn how to deal with it. This is when they learn that it’s ok to feel anger themselves, and express it ( in a socially acceptable way). This is when they learn – once we re-conciliate – that anger is a part of human spectrum of emotions, and that it is NOT a danger to the relationship. This is when they learn about limits.

And I tell myself that tomorrow will be a new day. That I do my best. That kids are forgetful and full of forgiveness. And that I’m a human who doesn’t need to love every moment of this life with kids, but who does love her kids like nothing else in the world.

So what if like me, you failed, and think you have really made a mistake?

  1. Say ‘I’m sorry”. Admitting to kids that we have made a mistake, that we had gotten impatient and angry, teaches them about forgiving and saying sorry when they have done wrong.
  2. Ask for help. It does take a village to raise happy kids, and you don’t have to do it all alone.
  3. Take a break. Sometimes a little bit of time to breathe and think in silence is all we need!
  4. Shake off that guilt: it’ll only cloud your thinking.
  5. Do something that you love doing, with your kids: it’ll help you re-connect with your kids and with the happy mother that you are!

So when I fail, I remind myself that it really takes a village to raise human beings, and that I can ask for help. And that my ager won’t harm my kids, as it’s delusional to think that a mother should never get angry. And I remind myself that my kids need me just the way I am.

Sometimes we all fail in motherhood, sometimes we don’t love it all. But I’m convinced that as long as we’re good enough, our kids will be just fine.

10 tips to raise self-driven girls

10 tips to raise self driven girls, girls who'll know what they want and how to get it.. while staying kind and open minded. Parenting tips and ideas for every girl mom (or dad)

Recently I’ve met this self-driven, beautiful and successful women, a real girl boss, and while talking to her, she said lowering her voice that she is a feminist. And then she looked around to see if anyone listened. I just smiled and said that she doesn’t need to worry about words around me, because I consider myself as a feminist, and I hope to raise my girls to be feminists too. And I realized, that even if a boss lady from a big city is afraid to use this world, then there’s still so much work to be done.

What does it mean to be or not a feminist, is still a huge discussion. Lots of educated self-driven woman will say they’re not, they’re just strong and believe in right for education and equal pay. Many stay at home mom’s that I know will openly say that they are feminists. Many feminists will say that a woman who doesn’t work isn’t really a feminist, and many SAHM’s will see feminists as arrogant and self centered people.

Recently Emma Watson, a young, self-driven actress and a voice of modern feminism, was criticized for doing a photo shoot that showed her breasts a bit more then she usually does. And she was accused of not being a feminist.. by feminists.. And it just showed how much misconceptions there are out there.

But in the end, aren’t all self-driven women who believe in freedom of choice feminists? Be it engineer, a stay-at-home-mom, or both . If all of them believe girls should have access to education and health services, then I think they are all feminist. So why be scared of this word?

People have these ideas about what a women should be, how should she act and look. And as a mom of two girls, who’ll become woman all too soon, I want them to know that in these discussions, what’s really important is the attitude, that freedom that you give yourself and others. Not an etiquette.

I hope to raise girls who won’t have these misconceptions about other women. About how a woman should look, act and talk in order to be seen as a good / intelligent / feminine / good mother / well raised / feminist enough / liberated / modest enough etc. Who won’t really care about all these etiquette’s and labels. Who won’t listen to others saying what they can and can’t do, but who’ll listen to their own inner voice. I hope to be raising self-driven girls.

I hope they’ll only follow a social code for being kind and open minded people. That they’ll decide for themselves how they should live their life. That they won’t be afraid of a word feminism. Nor strength nor motherhood nor femininity. I hope they’ll grow in to women who won’t judge other woman for being too much: too loud, too opinionated, too timid, too modest, too sexy, too carrier driven, too mommy-like. That they won’t say other woman are not enough: not enough of a feminist, not enough of a mother, not enough of a lady, not enough of a professional. Women who won’t put a tag on other women. Nor on themselves.

raising self-driven girls

So how do I make sure that my daughters will grow in to self driven, non-judgmental kind and open women? Well, of course time will only show if I succeeded, but for now, here’s what I do:

  1. I want them to choose for themselves. Be it putting their food on their plate, choosing their clothes, or crafts ideas, as long as it makes sense and isn’t in conflict with their safety or health, I want them to learn to take their own decisions. Girls who make their own decisions from young age are less likely to believe that that they need to fit in the stereotype in order to have friends or be beach ready. They are also more likely to choose a carer path ( or a motherhood route) in tune with their true feelings and dreams.
  2. I encourage them to (politely) argument why they want or don’t wan’t something. I think that often we tend to teach girls to be polite first and to say what they wan’t second, while we teach boys to stand for themselves first and be polite second. Well I think that kids need both, and that girls need more then ever to stand for themselves and say what they want. Because if ever they choose to be a working professional, nobody will give them a raise just because they waited politely for it to happen.
  3. I try to teach them the difference between an opinion and a judgment. Which means it’s fine to say at home what they like and dislike, but it’s not fine to say that other’s likes and dislikes are stupid or silly. ( Let’s say that this one is a starting point to many sisterly disputes around the table, and that we’are still working on it!).
  4. I try to talk to them about people around us, and their life choices in a way that they can see the ocean of possibilities rather then good and bad paths to follow. I have friends who are working full time and raising kids, I have friends who are full time stay at home moms, I have friends who don’t have kids, and who travel and live alone. Some are vegetarian and some dress in a different way. Some have tattoos and some are a part of a bible study. When we talk about other people I try to always let them know that all choices are good, as long as they come from the heart.
  5. I try to explain to them how everyone has their own perspective, and how we should always think abut how things look from a different point of view. Books and movies are always a great starting point. Imaginative play is another. I’d ask them how would you feel now if you where ( insert : your sister, or cat, your grandma, me, etc..) this exercise may be too difficult for a toddler, but my five year old got pretty good in it.
  6. Get dad involved. Girls who see men tackling house duties are more likely to believe that anyone can do anything.
  7. I let my girls help around, both in the kitchen as with tools ( as much as they can in their age). I hope they’ll be able to see which type of work they prefer ( and if both, then good for them!)
  8. I talk to them about publicity in the media and social stereotypes ( still very present in mainstream TV), even if they are really young. I’d say: look, this is someone who’s trying to sell us something ( and then we’d guess what is it). This isn’t real life. This may not be as good of a product as they say. I want them to be very judgmental when it comes to publicity, as this is where a lot of social messages are hidden, especially regarding how women should look and dress.
  9.  Whatever you do, tell your story to your kids, let them know why you choose to stay at home with them or work, or do both. Read them stories of other women and their different life choices. ( Great book that I’m recently in love in, is: “Bedtime stories for rebel girls” , not that rebellious after all, but very touching with 100 stories of women throughout the history, following their path and their dreams often against all the odds).
  10. And above all, I try to acknowledge their emotions, because I believe that only by letting them express their feelings, and experience kindness and compaction, they’ll learn how to be kind and compassionate themselves. (Within healthy boundaries and limits off-course!).

So for me raising self-driven girls, means raising girls who are kind and strong, sure of what they want and not afraid of social tags. Girls who don’t look at people from above, and who don’t care about stereotypes. Girls who follow their dreams. And who encourage others. Who are feminists. Now, wish me luck in making that happen!

 

 

How I teach my kids tolerance

 

While me and my family, we live in a big city, in our every day actions we still live mostly in our small circle of family and friends. And they are all a lot like us, white Caucasians celebrating Christmas and Halloween, wearing similar clothing and with pretty similar cultural and educational background.

But the world is much bigger then that. And I wish for my kids not to fear the difference, not to despise other ways of living and never believe people who say, that anyone who’s different then us, is our enemy.

I hope they’ll love exploring the world with an open mind and a big heart. 

But then again, as I said, our little circle is quite homogenic. And we all feel best when surrounded by people who think alike and act alike ( even while eating some east Indian take out). So teaching my kids about different ways of living and thinking is not that easy.

Luckily, there’s one thing that I’m happy worked out for my family and that helps me here: my kids part-time daycare.

My girls go here three times a week. And their friends are all different, with different cultural and religious backgrounds. Some speak French at home, some English, some Spanish and some Arabic. And the lovely ladies who take care of my daughters, are Muslim with their hair covered. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

By spending their days with them, they live the diversity and tolerance.

And they don’t even see the difference between our neighbor who wears high heels and very short dresses, and their day care educator dressed in a long sleeve and covering their hair. And I believe there’s none. These two women have chosen to dress according to the expectations of their circle of important people and values they where thought as kids. And according to what they believe they should do, in order to fit in to their culture’s norms. One believes she should be modest, and one believes she should be sexy. Both want to fit in the expectations of their family and friends. And I can look beyond that, and be friends with both, and that’s what I hope to be teaching my kids to do. 

I explain them, that even me I do things I don’t really like, only because in my culture as a women I’m expect to be doing these things: I shave my legs. I wear a bra. Sometimes even high heels, if I want to look elegant and well dressed. This is our cultural code. Of course, in our society I have a certain freedom and choice. ( That I hope my daughters will feel they have too, and who knows, maybe they won’t do thing as I do).  But there’s cultural pressure. My neighbor, she goes a notch higher : she does her hair every day, has fake eye lashes and had two plastic surgeries. And my daughter’s daycare educator covers her hair and never wears shorts. I don’t think we’re that different. In the end we are all women who want to be accepted. Who like to laugh. Who like kids and chatting about our favorite TV series. So I always try to show to my girls how similar people are in many ways. Even if they seem different.

And I hope my kids will learn to be tolerant and to see beyond these first-impression-differences. And that they’ll understand that we are all so similar.

So what I tell my daughters, is that we are all expected to look and behave in a certain way, and that depending from family, city or country, these expectations will be different. That as kids we learn to like certain flavors, places and even music, and that how we act is a result of where and how we grew. But we should always look beyond that, and see the real person.

how I teach my kids tolerance

And so here’s how I try to teach my kids tolerance:

  •  We read books about children from different cultural backgrounds.  Book that talk about being different then others, and abut embracing differences. Books that encourage finding your way and accepting others.
  • I try to get my kids in situations where not everyone is the same and different cultures mix together ( Like our multicultural daycare.  But it could be a camp, a day camp, a library activity or a festival. )
  • We try to travel to place where people live in a different way then we do. ( though not as often as I’d like, I’ll admit )
  • I explain them how in the end we are all the same: we want to be accepted, we want to have a loving family and nice neighbors!
  • I teach them about their own couture and traditions without undermining others.

I really believe that tolerant kids are happier, and that in the future these kids will be able help their communities better. And that in the end, we are all very alike.

Parenting tips versus parenting intuition

Parenting tips versus parenting intuition, which one to choose? Great inspiration for new moms!

We live in a society that dreams about constant improvement and growth, in a society where efficiency has become the measure of success. Parenting has become a wildly discussed subject and parenting advises are often in line with this approach of the efficiency, statistics growth and passing developmental stages faster and better!

When my girls where babies, I remember that every time I would visit our nurse for a check up, or see a friend I haven’t met for a while or meet with a well intended family member, everyone would ask the same set of questions: Is your baby finally sleeping alone through the night? Is it self soothing? Eating alone? Finally potty trained?

I  felt like in fact I was constantly being asked if the changes are coming fast enough, if the the growth is stable, is my child’s development parallel to the statistic average or better? Everyone would focus on achieving developmental milestones the fastest possible. And everyone would offer me tips for achieving these.

Of course sometimes these well intended questions, are important to ask, since some of the issues might indeed indicate a developmental problem that when spotted early on can be fixed..

But I realized that most of the time they just created the anxious feeling, that we moms tend to have:

The fear that we’re not doing it right.

And then I felt like I need to read more and more, different and often conflicting tips. And I realized that in the end, us, moms, we might feel lost and anxious, just because we worry that our children are not hitting these milestones fasts enough, that the growth is not stable, that the statistic average is somewhere ahead of us, and that we’re failing as the efficient parent that we should be..

Except that parenting a child isn’t running a business. The success isn’t measured in efficiency and growth and hitting the milestones the fastest possible!

The success of a parent, is raising a loved and loving happy human, who’s prepared to live in the society on his own, as an adult.

So why a nurse would ask me if my 10 month old baby can self-sooth? Why parent’s are being judged if their three-year old is still in diapers? Why is a new mom being asked and asked over and over again if her baby finally sleeps through the night? Why do school aged kids are expected to participate in tons of extracurricular activities? Non of these are real indicators of a success nor of a happy child or a happy life. They are just milestones to pass.

parenting tips versus parenting intuition

And while me too, I tend to write my posts with tips intended to help, I realized that the most important tip is the one I never wrote before: The one about your own parenting intuition. Because every piece of advice that is out there, and every post I ever wrote, is not as important as your own intuition. Nothing is stronger and more important than your own parenting guts.

You know whats right for you and for you baby. You know what are your family’s needs. And before reading and listing to people telling you what and how do things, just listen to what feels right for you.

While health experts here in Quebec would tell me that my baby should self soothe, I knew that this isn’t an issue for me, nor for people in many other cultures. I felt that my babies had plenty of time to learn that skill, and that at a ripe age of 10 moths my babies weren’t ready to be left alone in the crib to cry. While my family nurse would tell me that I should sleep train my baby, I new that this isn’t something that’s good for my kids. I knew that eventually they’ll sleep without me making them cry and without feeling left alone. And yes, now they do sleep all night alone in their own beds.

My good friend has been told many times by her family members, that her child isn’t supposed to be in diapers at his age of three and a half. That’s it’s a big problem. But she knew him, and she knew that when he’ll be ready, he’ll be potty trained very fast. And that’s exactly what happened, within 2 days from when he decided he wanted to.

Some kids walk later. Some talk later. And as long as the parent feels its fine, it is. Because intuition of a parent is stronger than any parenting tip based on the statistic and normative approach!

So while here on my blog, you’ll find titles starting with “how to” and ” best tips for” please know that these are just ideas, only ways to parent. And that I truly believe that there isn’t one and only way, and one and perfect approach.

And I think that if you feel anxious and bad after reading parenting tips, it might be because they are against your own gut and your own intuition! And your intuition is the strongest and best parenting tool that you have!

It’s because during the thousands and thousands of years of evolution there was no manual, no parenting guru no parenting tips. We had intuition and biological instinct to guide us. When a baby cried we would pick it up, nurture and cuddle. A toddler would sleep next to us, and we wouldn’t think twice about it. All around the globe we would keep our babies close, and leave the growing kids to run outside to explore on their own.

Yes, from culture to culture, things would diversify, ( the language, the way of dressing and feeding ) but still, the human history is thousand years of following the instinct and listening to intuition! Of curse our intuition now is influenced my both biological instinct as the way we were raised, what we have been through, what “feels” right to do in our culture, and what we observed as children. Nevertheless, it’s our best parenting compass!

( Side note: Grown-ups raised by abusive parents may have their intuition set on repeating what they been through, so in that case intuition isn’t a good guide at all..)

So our bodies and our minds usually know what to do. We just need to listen to them more often. Because all of the parenting tips are only optional, and make sense only if in the first place, we listen to our intuition!

How to teach kids to share

How to teach kids to share, naturally, without the drama, and making it fun. Simple parenting tricks that work!

I really believe that teaching kids to share is also encouraging them to help each other and cooperate. That in fact, it’s about teaching them to work together, to play together and to respect each other. And it’s also helping them to figure out how to fight and how to make up after. And that in the end, it makes them feel capable and strong while helping them have strong relationships with other kids, and being assertive while staying compassionate. And I always felt that if my daughters will really learn to share, they’ll become the best of friends. That’s why I’ve been thinking a lot about how to tech kids to share, and how to make it really work in our home.

You see, I believe it’s fine it they fight, as long as they know how to resolve their issue afterwards, and in their age, most of fights happen over sharing, or lack of it. So for me, helping them to share is a part of my bigger goal: making sure they’ll have a strong relationship, and that they’ll always know how to get over a fight.

So at least once a day I’ll ask Lili to help Rose with something, “read” her a book that they’ll both hold, draw together on one piece of paper or prepare me a felt-veggie dinner together. And then, once they did something together, and once Lili helped her little sis, all that sharing thing comes a bit easier! And that way also Rose learns that it’s actually nice to share and she feels better about it too.

Of course, my kids are not angels, and they do fight over toys, even after all the sharing they do. But it never lasts long, and recently I don’t even need to intervene, as they’ll excuse themselves on their own, cuddle and find a way to play together afterwords.

How to teach kids to share

How to teach kids to share

How to teach kids to share

So here’s what I do to help them to share, naturally and on a day-to-day basics, :

1. Share one bedroom.

I really believe that because they sleep in one room, and are the first people they see in the morning, they are more used to other people in their personal space and therefore are more open to sharing. Also, since they have this time just for the two of them, when thy fall a sleep and when they wake up, they are closer together and more apt to share things.

2. Do crafts together.

I often set up a craft for the two of them do create together, on a large piece of paper. They have usually one set of paint or crayons to use, and so naturally they need to take turns. There’s no ” that’s mine” talk, since the art piece is supposed to be an effect of their work together.

I think that creating together, sharing a big sheet op paper, paint and crayons makes for a natural setting to share, where the things are less important than the act of creating, and so they concentrate on their creative play, and sharing comes along the way.

3. Playing games where they need to cooperate.

I used to encourage imaginative games where they both had a role to play: setting up a restaurant from felt food, doing puzzles together, simple game boards or pretended play. Now they are used to these and often play together without me setting anything for them.

4. Give them positive attention when they help each other.

Kids do a lot of things only to get our attention. Sharing or not might be one them. So me, I used to come to the playroom every time I heard a cry. And at some point there was a lot of crying in that room! At some point I realized that instead of talking to each other they’d cry, only so I would come and solve their problem.

So I changed my approach. I stopped reacting to cries, and when they would come to me saying : ” she took that, she did this, she doesn’t share” I’d ask: “Why are you telling me this? Was it me who took it? Ask her to give it back, tell her you’re sad when she takes things away from you” And in the end they learned to work it out between them. And they stopped crying just to grab my attention.

So now, when they play and share, I’ll pop in to the play room and say that I appreciate how they share, and I love to see them playing together.

5. Don’t force it.

Last but not the least, I try not to force it. As a friend once told me, for a toddler to share a toy, is as difficult as for an adult to share their spouse: unimaginable!

So that’s why even playing in taking turns might be very difficult for little kids. But I believe that even small kids understand when someone is sad, and they want to fix it. So instead of pushing them to give their toy to play, I would show that the other child is sad, and maybe we could make him happier if we shared for a minute. Or I’d try to show them how nice it is to exchange toys.

So while my kids are definitely not perfect they do cooperate with more ease lately. And since I implemented these ways in our every day life, they do share more and fight less over toys. And I hope these tips might help you too!

3 tips for parenting a strong willed child

As a mom of a stubborn and determined – aka strong-willed – little girl, I get to practice my patience daily, stretch it and finally pick my battles over and over again. Because parenting a strong-willed child, isn’t like regular parenting. It’s dealing with a child who’s more determined, more active and often more emotional than other kids. It’s parenting a child who has a drive of two and energy of three. It’s pretty exhausting sometimes.

3 best tips that have saved my sanity while parenting a strong-willed  ( stubborn and determined ) child!

But it’s also pretty rewarding. And as much as it can be difficult (because the strong-willed child will always want things their way!) sometimes I think it’s for the best.

I believe that my daughter was meant to be so strong, and my job is to never break her, just guide her toward right choices. Because these stubborn kids (who, quite frankly, sometimes drive us crazy!) will grow to be the most persevering adults, great leaders and passionate workers. Grown-ups knowing what they want and how to get it.

And I really think that strong-willed children need mostly clear values, encouragement and love. And that we’re not here to break them, or to show them that they’re not in charge of their life. Because they are! ( Yes, we are responsible for them as long as they’re little, and it’s our job to keep them safe, but it is still their life.)

And if they have more drive, more passion and more energy than anyone else, then what they really need is a clear compass, so they can use their strength to do good in life and to have a place in the society.

strong-willed child

So I know that my biggest job as a mama to this particular strong-willed girl, is to help her find her purpose in life, to encourage her and let her grow. Even if it’s not always easy to be honest!

And so here are my three tried and tested tips to keep these strong-willed kids out of trouble, following our guidance yet still following their own path:

1. Listen to what your child has to say.

A strong-willed child really needs to express their thoughts and emotions, needs to be heard and acknowledged. Your child will do it ether in a form of a tantrum, either calmly and nicely! And it’s up to you to slow down, get at their high and ask them:” What do you want now? Can I help you? How do you feel? What is your idea for that?” Now, it doesn’t mean that you’ll always agree to their ideas and fulfill all their needs ( like a “need” of sweets before dinner). It means you listen, and you can talk about it. You can try paraphrasing their emotions:” I hear you’re upset. You’d like to eat more chocolate.” But if it’s against your plan, and there’s no way they are right, then look at tip 2!

2. Make clear rules and stay consistent.

Since strong willed kids want things to always be their way, they need clear rules of where they can choose, make a decision or propose a solution, and where they need to follow your lead. Because as soon as the situation is unclear, you can be assured that a strong willed child will try to take the lead! for example, we have a picture of four of our family rules, and another one of our stay-at-home day plan. So there’s no discussion about bedtime following dinner, or playing with balls at home ( that’s a no!) etc: the rules are clear and they don’t change.

3. Give them responsibilities, and ask them to help you.

A strong willed child want’s to feel in charge and capable, so instead of braking that need and turning it in to a rebellion of destruction ( you know the tantrum type of: I-don’t-know-why-I’m-upset-but-I-can’t-calm-down) give them a job to do. A responsibility. For example, when your strong willed child is at your feet whining when you cook, give them a real job to help you with. When you’re out and about, ask them to be in charge of a grocery list, or of picking the best apples, or taking care of their siblings. Depending from their age, they’ll love to be in charge of different things!

strong willed child

And I’m sure that by implementing these three simple tips, your strong willed child will be more cooperative, less explosive and overall more calm. Though, next time your stubborn kid does throw you a huge tantrum, just breathe and remember that your child is simply practicing his leadership skills on you! And that it’ll all pass!

1 2 3 7