Hey, Mom. You good?

Feb 27, 2024

"Hey, Mom.  You good?" This is how my teenager asks me if I’m ok. In an attempt to be both hip and compassionate, I’d like to check in with you.

So, friend, you good?

Raising kids is not for the faint of heart.  There is a tremendous amount of pressure from Day 1. Messages from friends, grandparents, and social media tell us that there are right ways and wrong ways to parent, and we often feel like we are doing it all wrong..

Did you breast feed your baby? For how long? 6 days? 6 months? 6 years? It doesn’t matter what you answer because somehow there is shame attached to all the answers. 

Then we make it out of the baby phase into the toddler phase.  We start comparing our toddler’s development to other toddlers.  How many words does he have?  How many languages is he learning? If your child bites another child (a normal behavior for the age), you’re practically banished from toddler society. 

By the time kids enter school, we are used to the comparison game. Who’s already reading?  Who’s not?  Both of my kids were “reluctant readers” from the beginning, and I was certain it was our fault. My inner voice was merciless in it’s self-blame:  

  • We read a book before bed most nights, but maybe we should have read three books.  
  • Maybe we should have insisted on reading more during the day
  • Maybe we should’ve foregone music in the car and only listened to audiobooks. 

 

And this shame and guilt I was feeling was inadvertently perpetuated by the teachers and schools in their well-meaning messaging:

School : “Be sure to read for 15 minutes every night with your child” 

Me: I’m trying but we just end up fighting and negotiating for 45 minutes, and it makes every night miserable for my whole family.

School:  “Have your child turn in a reading log at the end of every week”.

Me: Can we write down how many minutes we spent TRYING to get them to read?

I can now look back at these struggles with compassion, and I wish I showed myself more grace back then.  So here I am, friend, trying to help you show yourself grace.  And to remind you that each of our kids are growing in their own ways on their own timelines.  We are not in control of as much as we think we are in this parenting journey.  My challenge for you is to stop running list of all the ways you feel you are falling short, and to WRITE DOWN all the ways you're parenting well. There is something powerful about putting pen to paper - it makes the words more real, more powerful than the unkind voice in your head.

I’ll start:

  • I laugh with my kids often.
  • My kids have developed my sarcastic sense of humor.
  • We all love to hug and snuggle.
  • My kids appreciate songs from the 90’s and early ‘00s, and we love to sing them together.
  • We have a good bedtime routine (FINALLY!)
  • My kids are sensitive to the emotions of others.  

Now jot your list down.  Do you see?  Do you see how things are going well? Can you pat yourself on the back for that?

My kids still don’t read as much as they “should”,  and they don’t read for enjoyment.  I now understand that this isn’t a character flaw for them nor a parenting failure for me. It is what it is. They are great little humans, and I’m the lucky mama who gets to be witness to their evolution into adult humans.

So yeah… I’m good.

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