This parenting gig is quite a ride! Something different to enjoy, experience (or endure!) at every age and stage.
I always feel there’s no better reality check for my own bad behavior than seeing it reflected back at me. I’ll never forget the time my toddler shook her fist at a driver in another car, shouting “You stupid guy!” I got a giggle out of it, sure, but it also humbled me a bit, reminding me that my kids are new at life, so they’re watching and learning from me.
Here things I try to keep mindful of in the presence of little ones:
- Be happy – I’m a woman as well as a mom. I should enjoy life, have outside-of-family pursuits, friends, interests, hobbies.
- Handle difficult situations with grace – No matter how warranted, I don’t lash out at others. I am in control of my choices and behavior.
- Be healthy – Who am I to tell my kids that eating their greens and exercising is important, if I don’t do the same?
- Be polite – With everyone: family, friends, little kids, spouse. Always say please and thank you, excuse me, etc.
- They can’t read my mind – when I’m working through a problem, sometimes I think out loud. Helps them understand the process.
- Emote – I want them to know emotions are okay. When I’m hurt, happy, or angry, I say so. Sometimes the kids even help me through it.
- Stand up for what’s right – comfort zone be gone! I think, “What would I want my kids to do?” “What would I want my kids to see ME do?”
At every opportunity, I try to model my own values, to follow my own rules, and to live my truth. Because that’s exactly what I’d want my girls to do, and they’re watching.