Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mama's Muse: Best Mama In the World?

My young son is one of the most beautiful-hearted human beings I know. Whatever I do for him, no matter how small, he always says, "Thank you for _____, Mama. You are the best Mama in the world."

Kind of a huge title to live up to and, quite frankly, I'm not sure that I deserve it. When I ask him why he thinks so he responds with, "Because you take care of us and feed us and make sure we have a house and everything we need."

Yes. He does have me in tears at least once a day. He's my sensitive little guy. He gets frustrated easily, still struggles with putting his thoughts into words, has trouble making close friends and, although he'd doing much better this year with his awesome teacher, still has struggles in school. But he is the most huggy, loving boy, who'd do anything for anyone he cares about (yes, even his sisters).

I have no idea what the qualifications are for this title, but it just makes sense to me to just do what comes naturally and keep using what works. I have four children in this house, each with their own personality, tastes, wants and emotional needs. I think it comes down to:

~ Quality, not quantity: Simply put, it's what you do with the time you have together that counts the most, not the amount of time. They will remember you just taking the time to read to them or do a short craft or embarrass yourself playing Mario Cart.

~ Listening: I have been guilty of this from time-to-time too. It means so much to our kids just to have you sit there and listen to them. That means tv and cells off, facing each other and stay quiet until prompted to give input.

~ Including: My wonderful son has a growing interest in cooking, so I have had him do a few things with me when I am preparing meals. You should see how excited he gets! His dream is to be on Chopped Canada Kids (...I think we'll need to practice more). If your child wants to 'help', bring them in. It may get messy and crowded but, hey! It can be fun too.

~ Reminding: My son and middle girl often get extremely down and hard on themselves. When you start hearing, "I suck at everything. I'm no good. Why am I even here?", it's time to step in and gently remind him or her what they are good at. None of us is good at everything and, yes, there are some things that everyone struggles with. They are each very good at something and should be told that the things that frustrate us don't make the rules.

~ Mistakes are okay: My son, in particular, is very hard on himself when he makes a mistake whether in school or at home. I've always told him, and my girls, that there isn't one person alive that hasn't made some kind of mistake. Heck, they see me messing up all the time. Yes, it can be embarrassing and you feel like a dork, but it happens. All you can do is find a way to try to fix it, clean it up then figure out what you are supposed to learn from it.

~ Support their interests: This can be a tough one, especially if you have more than one or two kids. I mean, seriously. There's only one of us and if all four have an event on the same day, you have to choose. But even if you aren't able to attend an event, be there when he or she comes home and encourage a play-by-play so you can get excited for them too, even if you didn't see what happened.

~ Make rules and discipline if they're broken: Okay, I 'get' this may not seem like something that would be checked off in the Mom of the World title but it's important. Rules are set to shape a child into the fantastic person they are going to become. Rules help a child understand the world around him or her, how to treat people in that world and where they fit in. The discipline part is difficult but this teaches him or her that there are consequences for actions (or no actions). I tell them even grown ups have rules they have to follow or they are punished. My son found that astounding.

~ Instill an appreciation for what they have: Until recently, we struggled tremendously. The kids saw me working day and night just to pay bills, keep a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. They don't know that I had to use the Food Bank to feed them for awhile or that Santa's Anonymous gave them a couple of Christmases, and they never will. When they complain about what they don't have, I remind them of what we do. It isn't a guilt-trip, it's a reality. And my kids have grown to hold that to heart.

That's really, some of the basics. Mine is a loud, crazy household at times, but I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

I still think they should do a re-count on the title my son gave me. However, it came from him so...I'll keep it.

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