I may not do these things all the time (OK, I know I don’t, and I know I preface this way because I’m a perfectionist and wish I could do these things all the time, but feel bad that I don’t), but these are my mom skills that are working, most of the time:
- Patience. Yeah, I’m having particular trouble ignoring the times that I am not patient, but if I’m really honest, I’d say that these moments are few and far between these days – it’s easier now that they aren’t toddlers.
- Mean what I say, and follow through. I’m pretty good at this one, perhaps because I’m stubborn. Haha!
- Listening. My goal is to always listen and thoroughly, with eye contact, with presence, to my children – in a way that they feel heard. It doesn’t always happen, and I’m particularly hard on myself when it doesn’t. Sometimes I’m distracted, or busy, or both. But still, it’s my goal. Constantly.
- Quality time. This is directly related to #3.
- Hugs. Lots of them. Again, I’m not perfect at this. I want to give them more hugs than I do. Although sometimes, I give more kisses than my son appears to want (he wipes them off). Like Charlotte Diamond sings, “four hugs a day, that’s the minimum”.
- Open, candid, honest. I have spoken to my children about sex and puberty and related topics, with candor and openness, since they could speak. I feel strongly that knowledge is power and particularly in this area, I want them to have a sense of strength, power and wisdom when it comes to their bodies and their sex lives.
- Teaching responsiblity. My children have been doing chores for many years now – age appropriate things that I resented doing when I was asked as a teenager to start doing for the first time. They are learning what it takes to keep a house in order, learning how to work together, and sometimes they even enjoy themselves. I’ve even heard these words spoken: “cleaning toilets is fun!” and “cleaning mirrors is my favourite chore”.
- Setting examples. The best way I know how to do this is by taking care of my own needs. I go dancing once a week, and have been for the past ten years. I go away on holiday without the children, and take naps or quiet time as needed. I express my anger in healthy ways.