Mothering Advice

I read this blog post last week and could not stop nodding my head in agreement. It is nice to be reminded of the important things once in a while.

Faith & Family Live! : This Mother's Rule of Ten

1. Touch them. It’s easy to get physical with your kids when their dimpled bottoms and chubby cheeks are just begging for you to pinch and hug them. When kids get older, though, it can be surprisingly easy to fall into a habit of skipping regular touches. Of course we moms are limited in what some of our big kids will allow, but we should make a good effort to show physical affection to each of our kids every day. Kiss them goodbye and goodnight. Put your arm around their shoulders. Offer hugs. Tousle their hair. Engage in some playful wrestling, even. Touch matters.

2. See them. In the blur of busy family life, it can be easy to lose sight of little details. Make an effort to really look at your kids and take in some of their tiny details every day. Gaze at the baby’s toes, note the greenness of your son’s eyes, and take in the graceful curve of the back of your daughter’s neck. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, these children of ours. We should pause every now and then to recognize that.

3. Hear them. Do you look your kids in the eye when they speak to you? This is not always possible, of course, but our kids really feel their worth when they don’t have to compete with a telephone, TV, or computer screen for our attention. If a child is telling you something, it’s worth interrupting whatever you are doing to look him in the eye and listen. Hard (at least for me) but definitely worth attempting.

4. Praise them. We sometimes get in a habit of only noticing and pointing out the negatives in our daily routines. We tell our kids what they forgot, what they neglected to do, and all the little ways they can improve. But children crave affirmation and approval from their parents. Shouldn’t the underlying theme of our daily interactions be one of unconditional love and acceptance? Even if there are negatives to talk about, make sure to look for and point out the positives—even the small stuff—on an ongoing basis.

5. Laugh with them. Laughter is a great stress reliever. Even when things feel their un-funniest, we can look for a way to poke fun at ourselves. We parents often take ourselves way too seriously. And guess what? Family life is funny. Don’t be afraid to loosen up and get a little goofy with your kids now and then.

6. Break the rules. Some of the most fun memories I have of time spent with my kids are the times when we “broke the rules” a bit. I let them stay up late or eat too much junk food or watch too much TV. As long as we are usually meeting the guidelines we set for ourselves, it can be a great change of pace and an easy way to make an event feel “special” when we make exceptions to our own rules and spend some time enjoying “indulgences” together.

7. Give them to God. Our kids belong to God first and foremost. In the busy-ness of our day to day living, however, we can fall into the habit of thinking everything—from their grades to their wardrobes to their dental health—falls on our shoulders. Remembering that God loves our children even more perfectly than we do and wants only what is best for them can relieve us of needless worry and anxiety. Give your kids back to God. And ask Him for the grace to help you raise them.

8. Decide what’s best for your family. And then just do it. Get comfortable in your own skin. You don’t have to raise your kids exactly like you were raised and you don’t have to do things like your neighbors do—even if you admire them. God made lots of different kinds of good Catholic families that live out the faith in lots of different kinds of ways. Find what works for you and ... go forth with confidence!

9. Love their dad. Children feel secure and loved when they see their parents loving one another. Give your kids the gift of a family founded on a happy, loving marital relationship. Let them see you loving their father and never let them hear you put him down, especially when you are angry.

10. Pray for them. Even if you pray with your kids, it’s important to remember to pray for them as well. Pray for their future spouses and vocations. Pray to their guardian angels for protection. And let them know you are praying for them in little things too. Telling them or leaving them a note that says “I prayed for you to do well on your test today” or “I have been praying that you will solve the problem you are having with your friend” will be encouraging to your kids—even if they are reluctant to admit it.

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What resonated with you? Personally, I feel I have to be better at #3. More often than not, I hear them along with all the other sounds that make up a family of 6. I really have to make time to look them in the eye and stop and listen and not always have to go, go, go.

If there was something I would add, it would be to enjoy them as they are now at the age they are. Sometimes, I pine for the baby days when they did not make as much of a mess or there was more peace and quiet in the house. Sometimes, I wished they were a little older because it seems like it's going to be so much easier to handle. In the meantime, I forget to enjoy them at they stage/age they are in. Before I know, they've passed that age and I wish I had enjoyed it more.So, yeah, I'm learning to enjoy them as they are.


karen | Friday, November 06, 2009 9:10:00 AM

these are really good tips joy! i really try to do all these to my little girl, especially the touching part... i try to hug her and kiss her as much as i can. Then even as she sleeps, i whisper to her how much i love her... so that it is soaked into her subconscious =)

They say it is critical for young girls to be hugged and loved, so that when they grow up, they're less likely to look for love and affection somewhere else (getting into relationships early, teenage pregnancy and all that) =)

thanks again for sharing!

Shani | Wednesday, January 06, 2010 8:13:00 AM

Thanks for sharing this, Tej!

Brought tears to my eyes... Must be guilt feeling that I have not done enough for my kids... I tell them that I love them and they know that coz they tell me that they do... but it's the little things that I tend to neglect like spending quality time with them...

I will try harder... thanks for the reminder.

GB :)