I define the goal of motherhood (and parenthood) as raising independent human beings who are able to function in a society without relying on our continuous support and capable of establishing meaningful connections with others. So what can I do today to be to achieve this goal?
1. Give Your Child Freedom
My goal is to give my daughter unstructured time every day to use as she sees fit and refrain from “helpful advice” on how to spend it.
2. Have High Expectations
With great power comes great responsibility. My daughter is academically gifted and completely disorganized at the same time. Even most talented individuals will not succeed in life without putting in effort or simply remembering to turn up. We do have expectations and consequences for, say, forgetting things at home or in school, but we can do better here. And, by the way, yes I know of the quote that happiness comes with low or no expectations, but I am proud to be a Tiger Mom in this regard.My goal is to ensure that my daughter knows what is expected and understands why these expectations are in place.
3. Be Available
The best gift I can give to my child is not another toy, it’s a gift of my undivided attention. My advantage here is to have just one child to give this attention to, but I am also a full time employee, a spouse, a daughter, a friend, a person with my own interests (such as blogging, for example). Time is a luxury, but there is no better use of my time then being available to my child. That doesn’t mean entertaining her all the time. We have specific segments of time set aside for spending time as a family or as a Mom-daughter, Dad-daughter pair, and I would like to maintain this tradition over time.
My goal is to give my daughter an hour of my undivided attention every day and end every day with our special cuddle time.
4. Teach Your Child Life Skills
Your child will not become a functioning member of society without basic self-care skills. Cooking is high on my list of things that I want my daughter to master followed by taking care of her clothes (tough one here!), cleaning, budgeting, and first aid. You can check out my Teaching Homemaking post on how we teach life skills here.
My goal is to spend some time every weekend cooking and decluttering with my daughter.
5. Be Brave
We often try to hide our own struggles and imperfections from our children. I think it’s important for them to see how their parents approach difficult situations and challenges. So far we’ve been blessed with good health and good income, and our marriage is strong, so our way to show our own struggles is in mastering new skills – something that sometimes is so much harder and scarier at 45 than at 5.
My goal is to learn to ride a bike, so my daughter can see me persevere and succeed in something that is difficult for me.
6. Let Them Connect
The best place for children to learn establishing connection with others is at home, and the most meaningful connection that they are establishing in their first years of life is with their parents and siblings. They also watch us connect and interact with each other, with our families and friends, and with strangers. They hear us talk about others, they pick up our attitudes and prejudices. The best thing I can do to help my daughter connect to others is to lead by example and to give her plenty of opportunity to connect with other children.
My goal is to make a more conscious effort to connect to our neighbors and to spend more time with our friends.
Your Turn:What kind of mother do you want to be? What is most important to you when you think about your children’s future?
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