As we approach Mother’s Day, I thought I would share a few thoughts about why this amazing day can be so frustrating! Don’t get me wrong – it can be a super day, too! But I hear from so many moms about how disappointed they were on Mother’s Day. My goal is to help you avoid being disappointed and to really enjoy your day.
Recognize who we are celebrating…YOU!
That being said, if you want the day to go well, you know what you need to do. Plan it. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound like the day you were envisioning, but keep reading, I’ll explain.
Be mindful of your expectations.
Do this as much for you as for your kids.
The media does a great job making Mother’s Day out to be this amazing, flowery, perfect family kind of day. Their job is to sell a product and they appeal to our emotions and dreams to do so. Remember that you are only getting a piece of the whole picture. When you see all the happy pictures your friends are posting on Instagram or Facebook… you only get to see the cream of the crop, the best of the best. Please be mindful of your expectations and keep perspective when viewing anything in the media.
Some mothers have partners, parents, or friends who will help their children create a wonderful Mother’s Day. Many mothers, have real human beings who try to do something, sometimes at the last minute, or possibly even forget to celebrate at all.
So, it is important to teach your children about your expectations for the day. Be specific in asking for what you want. If you want them to bring you breakfast in bed make sure you start asking them a few days in advance to do so. Again, be specific with your meal request – do you want omelets or cereal? Teach them how to make you happy by letting them know exactly what you want. Obviously, there is no guarantee that they will get it exactly perfect, but there’s a much better chance that they will come close.
I’m super fortunate that my girls (with much help from my husband when they were little) liked to bring me breakfast in bed. My girls love to make pancakes with their dad, so that was what they brought up to me. During the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, whenever we had pancakes, I would mention how much I liked chocolate chip pancakes and fresh strawberries..so that is often what they would bring me. What I really wanted was 5-6 more hours of sleep, but I couldn’t pass up the joy on those sweet little faces!
If this all seems a bit overwhelming, it might be time to create new rules for Mother’s Day in your house. Maybe you decide everyone will help you cook your favorite meal. Maybe you take your kiddos shopping and show them three things you would really like as a gift from them for Mother’s Day. Let them choose which one they want to give you (and then go buy it!).
In an earlier blog post, I talked about how my daughters and husband plant our garden for spring. I’m not a huge veggie fan, so I leave that up to them… However, I do love flowers! A tradition we have on Mother’s Day, is for my daughters and I to plant our container flower gardens.
This is a way for me to spend time with the two beings who made me a mother, doing something I like to do and will enjoy seeing for weeks to come. When I have my act together, I will take the girls out during the prior week to pick out flowers they want to plant with me on Mother’s Day. However, there have been some years, when I have just picked out the variety of flowers I wanted and let them choose which ones to put in the containers we were planting together.
Your children can’t read your mind and they don’t know what you want or expect. Your children also don’t want to feel like they missed a holiday. They are less aware of the calendar and how to celebrate Mother’s Day. Make sure you have realistic expectations and that you are specific with your requests.
With a little planning, you can have a great Mother’s Day.
So, go out there and celebrate YOU!!!
One of my favorite things during the Spring season is watching my husband and daughter start our garden. They start the seeds in small peat pots in our kitchen and nurture them until the sprouts are big enough to move outside to the back porch. We all take turns bringing the baby plants out into the sunshine for a few hours and then back in to stay warm overnight. Once they are big enough, Tim and the girls plant the little plants in our garden.
The impact of gardening has often been studied and written about before. I’m sure you’ve heard that the more active your children are in growing and/or preparing their food, the more likely they will be to eat it, or at least taste it. While this has not exactly been the case in my family, the girls certainly enjoy the process of growing and picking tomatoes for dad or zucchini for the neighbors.
There are also health benefits to being outdoors and to doing meaningful activities with your hands. In fact, there have been studies that show the more outdoor experiences a child has, the more positive his attitude tends to be. Many adults I have talked to, use gardening to relax and reduce stress which can help grow a positive attitude, or at least squash a negative one.
A garden does not need to be huge. In fact, if you don’t have an area in a yard to use, you can grow a small container garden. Even just experimenting and trying a few things with your children can be fun and help grow the connection between you and your child. We have planted apple and orange seeds from our snacks and the excitement and joy of watching them sprout was awesome. Parsley is an easy plant to grow in a small cup in your kitchen. We have also taken empty egg shells and grown hair for our “Egg Heads” (thanks mom for that fun idea while I was growing up!).
To grow your own “Egg Heads,” next time you use eggs, carefully crack your eggshells so that you save at least 2/3 of the shell intact. Wash them well and let them dry. Draw a face near the top of the cracked shell. You can even glue on some googly eyes. Fill the shell about 2/3 full of dirt and then put some grass (or parsely) seeds in the dirt. Water it as needed and watch the hair grow. My girls enjoyed giving our Egg Heads an occasional haircut .
Whatever type of garden or kitchen experiment you try, allow your kids to explore, experiment and get dirty. You can always hose them off or throw them in the bath tub!
I would love to hear what is growing in your garden! Comment below or send me an email at DrRenee@HelpingParentsParent.com and I’ll respond personally!
Here’s a website I recently found: KidsGardening.org . It is full of fun ideas and lots of information about gardening.
When your child feels loved (taken care of, understood and protected) she will be more likely to respond positively when you ask something of her. There is less of an argument when something needs to be done because there is a sense that you are not making a crazy or unreasonable request.
Does that mean that you will never have problems? No. Problems can still occur, especially if you spring something on your child or if you are interrupting something fun that he is focused on. However, if you have a solid connection with your child, hearing “It’s time to go – I can’t wait until we get to come back again” or “Time’s up – where shall we start the next time we come to the zoo?” should go over pretty well.
So, how does a parent connect with a child in a way that will strengthen their bond? There are many ways and they do not need to be expensive! In fact, some of the best bond-strengthening activities are FREE and don’t even take a lot of time. Here are four ways to strengthen your relationship with your child:
Special Time. Pick a date and time to spend with your child and schedule it in your calendar. Let your child see that this special time is on your calendar and do everything possible to keep your date. Sometimes things come up and you need to change the date or time, but let the child know when you will be re-scheduling your date and mark it on the calendar.
Turn off the TV, computer and, yes, even your phone. If someone does call and you need to (or accidentally, out of habit) answer the call – notice your child’s reaction. Typically you will see shoulders slump, a sad face and sometimes even tears. But don’t worry, you can work magic and fix that. Continue to watch your child as you tell the person on the phone that you can’t talk right now. Throw in the fact that you are having Special Time with your child if you can. For some kids, it’s as if you hung the moon in the sky when they hear you value this time with them and that it is not going to be taken by or given to others.
Let Your Child Lead. This can be a challenge for some parents, but if you are able to follow your child’s lead during your special time, she will feel respected, understood and loved. Let her choose, within reason, what the activity will be – or, if the activity is already chosen, follow her lead while you do the activity. If you are playing legos, let her decide what to build. If you are walking the dogs, let her decide which path to take. If you are playing school or cars, let her take the lead on the story line.
Be Curious About Your Child. Ask questions, learn about your child’s favorite things, friends he hangs out with, games he likes to play. You don’t want to question your child with the 3rd However, asking a few well thought out questions here or there, especially during Special Time or when you’re driving somewhere in the car, will provide some insight into your child’s life that you might not get otherwise.
The key to a great relationship with your child is connection. Connect with your child and watch bonds strengthen and doors open that you might never have known were there.
Can you think of a time you had a key connection with your child? What were you doing? What was the result? I’d love to hear about it.