I’ll admit…I don’t get to sit down with my kids every night for dinner. Some nights I have a lot of extra work to do or I’m truly exhausted. Some nights we have “free for all” nights where they eat leftovers or whatever else their little hearts desire (with a fruit/veggie/protein rule!). I also engage them in conversation. During my married life I actually made a conversation jar. (This is a great site for ideas – Beauty & Bedlam.) Now, it’s such a common practice for me that I can think of the questions I need to ask to get comments from my children.
Last night I had the energy to make an actual dinner of maple glazed salmon (AllRecipes), riced cauliflower, corn & peas, and cornbread. The kids LOVED this dinner & I loved how easy it was. Well, we had music played quietly in the background and my teenager said, “Mom, why is your music so weird?” Mind you…my music was from the 90s with bands like Green Day. So…I reminded him of my car dancing just the day prior where I was dancing to “The Thong Song” by Sisqo. I asked if he wanted me to put that back on. He declined that offer with some hand gestures to act as though my dance moves blinded him (say whaaaaaaaat?!?!) so I said okay, my alternative music stays then! This is where it got exciting…
The kids were all giggling about my dance/rap moves and said that I wasn’t like other moms. In the past they’ve told me how I was like other moms, so I asked them to elaborate. They said, “well Mom, you are nice like the other moms & treat us real well…but you are also different!” I asked the teen to elaborate again because how can I be the same AND different?!? Well…he goes to tell me that his friends all think I’m the “cool mom” because I take the time and effort to try and get to know his likes and dislikes, the video games and videos he loves. I see the hurt he has from broken promises from his father and I make sure to keep my promises and to fix any broken promises that come from that way. My girls say they love how I will just run and jump on the trampoline with them or how I will try and spend a few days a week at our pool even though they know I’m exhausted from work. They said their friends say the same thing, that I’m the “cool mom” because I do all of this. You know what I see in myself??
I see myself yelling at them. I see myself upset because they leave their shoes (my Sophia for sure) EVERYWHERE. I see food wrappers/cups/plates/clothing EVERYWHERE! I’ve had to tell them that if they want to have fun and experience things then they need to help out around the house (we are going on two weeks of very clean bedrooms since then!). I hear from their father that I make them do too many chores. I worry that I’m too strict & structured. They are never late for school. I have lazy days where I just want to sit on the couch and binge Netflix shows. I am my own worst critic. Rachel Hollis has a wonderful quote that states “I’m going to be so full of love and joy. I don’t need to seek it from other people.” I need to stop criticizing myself. Parents, you need to stop criticizing yourselves. Your children are going to remember the moments where you’re smiling together & making memories together. They’re going to remember how you made them feel, and you can’t pour from an empty cup. Love yourself…everything else will fall into place!