Patatas bravas

June 25, 2020 0 By Rhonda Gray

What is the best mom advice you’ve ever heard? A good friend gave me some excellent advice recently. “Life will beat up your kids enough when they leave home; so while they’re with you,” she said, “build them up and make them feel loved and confident about themselves.”

Every mom can be kind; feisty moms, quiet moms, loud moms, all moms. Kindness doesn’t mean being wimpy; it means choosing our words and actions carefully, with the thought of doing good for our children in the forefront of our minds.

kind mom quoteHer advice was timely. I want my children to be gracious and humble, but I can go too far in that direction, neglecting my role as their biggest cheerleader and fan. Here’s another bit of advice you can take with you today: If you want to be a good mom, you must be a kind mom. {Tweet This} Here are 5 ways to be a kind mom.

Don’t yell:

Let’s face it! When we scream at our kids, we basically send kindness blasting out the window. Yes, there is a time to yell at your children—like when the house is on fire or they forgot their backpack and you need to get their attention before they climb on the bus, but most of our communication can be conveyed just as effectively without yelling.

Be considerate:

Kindness is all about showing consideration to others. So when it comes to being a kind mom, we need to be considerate of our children. That doesn’t mean that we say yes to their every whim or wait on them hand and foot. It means that we consider them and their feelings as we make decisions that will affect them. We consider where they are emotionally and respond to the needs we recognize.

Be loving:

The love passage so often read at weddings applies to day-to-day “mom life” too. [Tweet This] Love is kind. Love is what will motivate us to be kind when we’re exhausted, in PMS, or stressed out about finances. So instead of taking out our frustrations on our children, deal with them kindly.

Give a disclaimer:

There are some days when we feel like our kindness well has run completely dry. At those times, be honest with your kids. “Kids, I am having a really bad day. I don’t want to be mean or grouchy, and I’m going to do my best to be kind, but I wanted to warn you in case I seem a little off today.”

Give hugs:

It sounds simple, and even a little corny, but hugs are healthy. Not only do they actually help us physically—lower blood pressure and calmer minds—but they help us connect with our children too. So laugh about it, if you must, but do it. My children are 10 and 8, but I’ll still say, “Okay, I need my 10-second hug.” Those hugs are like making a deposit in your “kind account.” You hug your child. You feel more loving to your child. You are kinder to your child.

I think it’s fair to say that each one of us enters motherhood:

with a set of beliefs or expectations about what it means to be a good mother. We develop these beliefs from the pressure of our communities and society as a whole, the experiences with our own parents, and through the expectations of friends, family, and media. These outside influences can have so much power and influence over us that when we finally do become mothers ourselves, it is unbearably difficult to listen to our own ideas of what this “good mom” thing is all about.

So difficult, in fact, that anxiety, depression, and overwhelming emotion can latch on like crazy to our new identity.I want to share a brief story with you about a mom who I saw in my office this summer. This mom has given me permission to share her process around the topic of being a good mother, because it gives such a clear example of the ways in which perfectionist thinking and unachievable expectations can lead to distress.

came to my office when her baby was about four months old:

She was attractive, articulate, and also very scared by the unpleasant thoughts and anxieties she had been feeling since her baby was born. Celia described sleepless nights of worry, her lack of appetite, fear and insecurity about being alone with her baby, and the pure distress that was accompanying early motherhood. She told me, through tears and obvious guilt, that she was having very scary thoughts of hurting her baby or herself, thoughts that terrified her, she said, because she did not want her baby or herself to be hurt. Celia felt that her thoughts and emotions were out of control and that she was going “crazy.” She described a traumatic delivery in which an emergency C-Section led her to believe that she would not make it through alive. “I realized that I needed to be willing to give up my life for my baby,” she said.