1. I let my kids fail – Let them lose. In fact, tease them a bit. Gloat if you want. There will be no good that will ever come out of you trying to “make it better” for the kids. This is a fact of life. The sooner that they learn about it, the better they will be in dealing with it. Let them fail. Don’t make them afraid of failing. Make them look at that failure in all its ugly glory because that is a teachable moment that will make them deal with failures from a better perspective. So, they failed. Ask them why they think they failed. Don’t tell them why YOU think they failed. Let them think about what THEY did. This is their failure to experience not yours. Don’t make it about you. It isn’t, so get over yourself. Looking at that experience together and processing it with them makes it a better experience than wallowing in the failure. Give it to them though, let them feel what they need to feel and then sit down and discuss it. By looking at their actions, they can then understand what they did and how they can improve.
2. I’m selfish with my Me Time – I kick them out of my room when I want privacy and want to rest. I take breaks from them and I tell them about it. Let’s get rid of the notion that being a good mom means that you are at your children’s side 24/7, especially if they’re past the age of 7. They need to see, by example, on how one should take care of one’s self. I cannot pour anything out of an empty cup. They need to know when to tell people that they have to take a break or they’ll go crazy. This goes especially to the people they love. I teach them that wanting some alone time doesn’t mean that you don’t love them anymore. It’s about taking a breather and taking care of your mental health.
3. I don’t sugarcoat – Santa Claus? Not real. Hitler? Very real. Yes, that’s also me on the internet. My boobs aren’t real. What’s the point of lying to your kids? I grew up in a family that had so many secrets that overtime someone dies, it was like unearthing several skeleton holding closets. There are ways of saying the truth where it won’t require them going to a therapist when they’re 40 because the deep repressed fe…oh, sorry. Point is, don’t lie but don’t drop an anvil on them. Don’t lie, especially about your mistakes and dumb ass moments. Let them see you are human too.
4. Related to the previous number, don’t let your kids put you on a pedestal. Sure it feels good to be called the best mom in the world but truth of the matter is we’re not the best moms. We’re barely even making it to okay-est mom sometimes. Don’t let them put you on a pedestal because you don’t want to be worshipped. My kids see me in complete disarray sometimes. They see me struggling to handle simple things like fixing the damn router. You are a human being and so are they. By allowing them to see that you make mistakes but work on a solution, you are showing them how to handle and manage problems. You’re not Thanos; they’re not too.
5. I ask for their advice. Not that I’m incapable of taking care of my own crap but because I want them to think. I want them to find real solutions to real world problems. “I had a fight with my best friend. What do you think should I do?” They come up with suggestions like “You should apologise and call her. Real friends will listen, mom” Sometimes, they come up with their own nuggets of wisdom for their own issues. Like that time when my oldest son said that he was going to tell his crush that he likes her, so I asked why he wanted to do that. To which he wisely replied “Life is too short to keep our feelings inside, Mom.”