Being a mom is hard work, while also being the most fun of experiences. They’re both true!
It’s also true that some ages are easier than others (depending on the child and the mom) to get through.
Babies are hard, toddlers are hard, preschoolers are hard, tweens are hard, teens are hard. They’re all also fun, challenging, fascinating, exciting, confusing, mysterious….
The point is, kids can’t be fun and easy all the time. If you’re not experiencing challenges right now, you will shortly. Then it’ll be easy and fun again. Eventually. Before it gets hard again. Parenting is a marathon, after all, not a sprint.
When my children were young, I remember reading about the concept of creating a store of positive feelings, experiences, and memories with you and your child, similar to creating a bank account.
The idea was to build up that account with all the ‘good stuff’ you could manage, because when the hard and challenging times came you’d need to draw on it – you wouldn’t be making many deposits during the hard times.
Some examples of ‘good stuff’ are:
- Stories read at bedtime
- Hugs just because
- Swinging on the swings and giving your kids Underdoggies
- Watching movies with the family on the couch and eating popcorn
- Running with your child at the park
- Baking with your child
You need all those positive experiences and memories to carry you through the difficult times when you’ll be making fewer ‘deposits.’ It’s hard to make deposits of good experiences when circumstances or your child’s resistance don’t allow it!
But if you and your child are often in conflict, or circumstances are difficult and you don’t feel able to build up that account, then when the really hard times come, you won’t have enough in that ‘bank account’ to draw on.
Are you building up your bank account?
Maybe not, if
- You’re often in conflict with your child
- You feel like you’re ‘constantly’ correcting your child
- It feels so hard to be a mom right now
- Your child doesn’t want to participate in the positive experiences you offer
So what can you do?
There are steps you can take to remedy this imbalance of hard to loving moments.
First, take a look at how you’re feeling right now. Are you stressed and exhausted from all of your responsibilities? It’s impossible to give others what they need when your own reserve is empty.
Never give from the depths of your well but from your overflow.
You might have to take care of yourself before you can be the kind of mom you want to be.
- Are you taking time for yourself at least every week, if not every day?
- Do you get help so you’re not so exhausted? (You might have to ask – people don’t know what you need if you don’t tell them, and you’re not being unreasonable)
Next, look at where and when you’re in conflict with your child. Is there room for you to give? Is it truly a case of “mom right, child wrong?’
Can you find anything that you can compliment your child on? Take some time and notice what they’re good at, then describe it to them. This is different from giving praise (the phrase, “Good job!” holds no real meaning regarding what your child is doing well).
“Wow, you put away so many of your toys!” (even though there’s still a mess on the floor)
“Look at you – you got dressed all by yourself” (even though there are 5 discarded outfits on the closet floor)
Finally, look at how you’re attempting to connect with your child. For example, perhaps your child doesn’t enjoy being read to – they’re too busy!
- Can the two of you listen to a recorded story while you both play with a toy that they chose?
- Can you play something active together? Some moms have told me that they found it easier to get their kids to talk and connect – about a topic of their child’s choosing – when they were doing something physically active, like playing at the park or in the backyard.
Most importantly, meet your child where they are and follow their lead. Your good memories and activities might not be the ones you would have chosen, but as long as you are making those good memories and experiences, you’re building up that bank account.
How big is your bank account of good feelings?
Until next time, Stay safe, Be Well,