Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Building Relationships With Your Kids

Here's the thing. The kids were out of school yesterday. If you're a mom, you probably understand that that means crazy, loud, busy day. That's exactly what it meant for me, and then add screaming, tattling, messes, fighting (really--it was the kids, not me!) and a baby that was super grouchy and clingy, and a husband that was working late (again).

The day left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted--mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally--and completely under-qualified to run a house.

I wanted to run away.

Far away.

I wanted to cry--especially after we had put the kids in bed, and the baby was awake screaming and flailing on the floor in what looked like a tantrum, or like she was in pain. Who soothed her? Not me. I didn't have the capability to do it. My husband did. He shooshed in her ear and told her it was okay as he swayed and patted her and she was soon asleep.

I felt like a terrible mom and like I was not doing anything right.

Can you relate?

I emailed one of my confidants and expressed some of this frustration. She always has the best encouragements and reminders, and to her, I am eternally indebted. Basically, it's about love.

The most important thing you can do is to simply love your kids, and make sure they know you love them. There is a peace in dropping all of these things that we think we have to do because society, or our neighbors, or our family, or our friends tell us we have to do. Do we have to make cutesy lunches? What about making sure your kids are dressed like models with perfectly done hair? Do your kids have to be involved in every dance class, sporting event, music class or other activity available? Is it the end of the world if you don't read to your kids daily (and let them watch TV instead)? What about a perfectly clean house?

While some of these are fun and in moderation can be great, it is not the most important thing. Oh, the house part--yes, being perfectly clean is not important, but you need to keep it at least to pass health codes! You need to provide for basic needs of food, clothing, safety and love. All of the extras are exactly that--extra.

I read and reviewed a book recently that I loved and really helped simplify and put it all into perspective. I really recommend it--"Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order and Joy" compiled by The Power of Moms. It was the first book that I've read about motherhood that did not leave me feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate. Instead, I was filled with simplicity and peace, realizing that all I really need to do is focus on loving my kids.

Through really loving your child, you will then be able to have good relationships with them. I think there are a few ways to love them that will help them to know they are loved.
  • Spend time one-on-one together (this is hard for me because there are lots of kids that need that time). You can do this at bedtime, on special dates, or doing something they enjoy. 
  • Ask questions and be interested in what they are doing at school, their friends, things they need.
  • Be present in their life. Support them at school activities, be home when they are home, be willing to stop being on the computer, or phone and really communicate.
  • I also think that spending time together as a family doing fun activities will also strengthen the bond between you and them, and the whole family as one unit.
Patience. That is really what I need to work on more. I joke that I have a lot of patience, but by the end of the day, it is gone, and I become a lunatic. Any patience suggestions?

And, remember to focus on now...one day at a time.

Luckily, school was back in session today, and my day was a lot calmer. Tender mercies.


  1. I can totally relate to that one. Not only is is the holiday, but sleepovers consisting of at least two or more friends.

    I'm finding the more I talk to the Mouse, the better it is getting. Half of my battle is getting Mouse to overreact to begin with though. Sometimes I have to have her start counting down from ten to one before I can even begin.

  2. Replies
    1. Conversation is for sure a big key!