Thursday, May 1, 2014

Today is the first day of a new month. Time to set the goals for the month, time to reflect of what has been accomplished, and time to ask myself  - how can I be a good mother today and every day.
How can you be a good mother today?

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

You will not raise independent children by controlling their days, scheduling their every minute, and worrying about missing on this or that enrichment opportunity. You will not raise independent children by constantly offering them things to do, even if they are exciting and messy activities found on Pinterest or on blogs. You will not raise independent children by not letting them walk to a neighborhood park or to a neighbor a block away, because you are unable to let go of what if… thought in your head.
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

An Inspiring Quote on Loving by Being Present
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

Bravery through adversity quote
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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Birute Efe said...

Natalie, what a great post. You are definitely an amazing mom and a rolde model for many other mothers. Myself, even I am a stay at home mom I find it hard to spend one on one time with my children. IT's a tough one and I don't do it everyday. I also try to give her healthy food values and natural living concept in their heads. At the end I want my kids to be happy. Like all mothers do.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

This is a beautiful post. My goals are similar. And I think you do a wonderful job of raising your daughter!

Kelly said...

I really enjoyed this post. Great goals! I'm one of the moms who can't let go of "what if". I was a free range kid from about 5 or 6, so I feel bad about not being able to let go of that fear, but I don't see it changing. I do try to find other ways they can be independent and have freedoms without me. As far as organization, my kids aren't Martha, but they do okay. We have a "one time bail out" policy. They can forget something they need at school or an activity (once per school year) and I'll bring it to them, after that, they live with the consequences.
Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

Ticia said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post.

We have very similar goals for our kids, which really doesn't surprise me. I can't wait to see how our kids turn out.

Marie-Claude Leroux said...

What a wonderful post, and such great parenting goals. Thank you for sharing, in such a thoughtful way.

Giselle Shardlow said...

This is a brilliant post. I LOVE the way you wrote clear parenting objectives, explained the benefits, and outlined the short term goal. Extremely inspiring. As my daughter is turning 3 soon, I've been thinking a lot about how to help her to become more independent. It's a process, I can see that! Thanks for sharing.

min said...

Your post is so comprehensive and thorough. I love how balanced it is!

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I needed to read this.

Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

katef said...

You question really made me think... what is my goal...

I guess my goal is that my children grow up to be content... I know they will not always be happy with everything all the time, but I want them to have an overall feeling on contentedness... and I agree with all the ways you outlined to get them there!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I wholeheartedly agree with all your points.

Cristina's Casa said...

Excellent post, great advice for all child care providers, thank you.