Having given birth to child number 2 in August, I’ve recently been giving some thought about the type of parent I want to be and what messages and lessons I want to pass on to my children. What do I want my children to say when they are asked to describe their mother? Do I think I am fitting the description of the parent I want to be?
Honest & Trust
So the type of parent I want to be is an honest mother that is open about my own life and experiences so I can encourage them to be open with me and maybe learn from some of my mistakes though I know they will also need to make their own. I want them to trust me but I know I must earn their trust. I want to be the person they turn to when they are sad or are in trouble. My sister said something recently which I think is often difficult to do as a parent but I think it is important we try. Its about playing the long game.
She said her eldest son trusts her with his mobile phone (he is 13) whereas he wouldn’t trust anyone else. She said he is very insular, an introvert, so it has been tempting to go through his phone to find out what is going on in his life, especially if she knows he is unhappy about something but she has refrained as she wanted him to be able to trust her. If he has taken the step and confided in her she has kept her promise not to tell anyone else so he therefore trusts her. She says she can see him battling with himself whether to tell her something but then will take the courage to open up to her. I want this type of relationship with my own children. I also believe this means being honest yourself. How can they trust you if you lie to them! This is hard as a parent as you don’t want them to mistreat that trust before they know what it means. For example, I want to be able to tell them things that I may not necessarily want them to tell other people or my own parents. But sometimes I may have to take a chance, a leap of faith, to ensure I earn their trust.
Fun & Friends
I want to be a mum that they can have a laugh with. I want to be their friend but also someone they respect and listen to when I teach them wrong from right! I don’t want to be a walkover. Nor do I want to be someone who is always cross at them causing them to remember me as always telling them off. Sometimes I look at myself and how I am with my son, who’s 4, and I feel like ‘Angry Mum’ and worry we don’t laugh enough. I want to be silly and sometimes that may mean I’m ‘Embarrassing Mum’ but perhaps he will forgive me that and laugh with me – as will his sister too when she grows up. This is the one in particular I think I’m failing at and I really want to try harder with. I put on the War of the Worlds the other day and Callum and I were dancing around the kitchen. It was such a lovely moment and I want more! I want him to have more of these moments too!
Respect & Consider
I have tried to live my life under the rule ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’. Sometimes I think I do this too much and I get upset that not everyone lives by the same rule. Stuart says I have high expectations of myself and therefore high expectations of others. However, I’m not perfect, I sometimes judge people or say something which I wouldn’t like someone to say to me but then I like to think I admit when I am wrong and I berate myself for doing so. I hope I learn a lesson and try harder not to repeat it in future. I am quite introspective and am forever analysing myself and my actions. I would like to install the same morals in my children. I don’t want them to be weak (and I do sometimes consider myself as weak) but I do want them to treat others with respect and to be ‘the better man’ in altercations. That others may not treat you how you wish to be treated but that shouldn’t mean you drop to their level – two wrongs don’t make a right. I want them to put themselves in the other person’s shoes to try to understand their actions so that they are better able to respond to them in an appropriate manner.
Believe & Achieve
I want my children to take opportunities. To believe that if they want something enough and work at it hard, they can be whatever they want to be, do whatever they want to do (be it legal and not at the expense and hurt of others). It makes me cross when Callum says “I can’t” to stuff which i) I know he can and/or ii) he hasn’t tried to do. I wish I knew how to encourage him to be otherwise. I try to praise him for trying things and sometimes that works but if he is being lazy there is nothing I can do to persuade him.
I just hope, as both Callum and Millie grow up, I can live by example and hope that some of what I do and teach rubs off on them and they can grow up into people they are proud of themselves and that I can be a parent they can look upon fondly, love, respect and think of as a friend as well as a mother.
I would love to hear what lessons you would like to teach your children and how you would like to be thought of as they grow up. Please do share with me by leaving a comment.