Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
So here are some questions that Dr. Borba asks for this week:
- Did you identify with our story of the young boy who felt unloved and misunderstood that we read about on Monday?
- If so what are your plans to change that part of your parenting and how do you plan to strengthen the communication with your children?
- What will you be doing this coming week and the rest of your life to show your children that you love them with no strings attached?? Remember those 5 steps to boosting sensitivity? Which ones fit into your lifestyle?
Here is what struck me and really hit home with me from this chapter...
As I read that story of the boy who felt completely unloved by his mother, I absolutely felt as though I could not relate. I mean, we have dinner together every night, we talk about our day with our kids, we tell each other "I Love You" a gazillion times a day. Surely, my kids know I love them. Boy what was that mom in that story doing something really wrong!!
Then I got to the self-check part and that is when it all came crumbling down. Ya know, I think this is a prime example of how things go so bad for moms. We don't realize anything is wrong. Once I began to read through and ask myself those questions I began to realize that I am stressing my 8 year old out. And there is a good chance that she may not realize how much I love her, but just doesn't know how to tell me. Well, except for this one little problem...she does tell me and I don't hear her!! She asked me a few weeks ago if I loved my 6 year old more than her. I was shocked. I told her absolutely not and then she went into hysteria, rattling off her little list of everything Ive ever done to prove otherwise. "Well, when she gets hurt you do this, when I get hurt you do that. You always hold her and just ask me to go get things for you. I want to be held too. Just because I'm not little anymore doesn't mean I don't want you to hold me." WOW, what a reality check. Then to go through these questions and see that maybe I'm not doing all that I can gave me the reality that she could very well be crying out and I don't hear her.
One question though, really hit home to me. Dr. Borba asked, "Has your kid or anyone else ever wondered out loud if you're being sensitive to who your kid really is?" I immediately wrote down that nobody has ever questioned my sensitivity, but then as I sat there realized that yes they have. No, nobody has ever asked me if I love my kids, but I have been questioned by my mom, my husband, and even my kids. Plenty of times, my mom has told me I'm too busy or that I wait until the last minute to do things and that is not how a mother behaves (my mom's words not mine). Waiting until the last minute makes my 8 year old a nervous wreck and I have been completely in-sensitive to that need of hers. To elaborate for you a little bit... My 8 year old has trouble making decisions. She has a book report due in 3 weeks and had to have her book chosen by today. All week, she has been saying that she needed to pick a book. Well, I wanted her to choose "Little House on the Prairie" because she just finished reading it and I just envisioned her in her little Laura Ingalls outfit. She was emberassed though to dress that way, and instead of understanding her concern I just didnt bring it back up. Well, last night she broke down because she was the only kid in her class to have not chosen her book. She was devastated and cried and cried. I couldn't believe it because all along I just thought she was okay with Little House on the Prairie. Why I thought that I don't know. But since reading this chapter of the book, I immediately picked up on the fact that she thought I wasn't hearing her or BEING SENSITIVE to her needs. And the fact that it was 7:30 the night before the final day had her in a complete frenzy. That is not fair to her and the fact that as much as I love her I couldn't see that, really scares me!!
Completely out of character for me, I told her to put her shoes on (with her pajamas) and just the two of us were going to the library to pick her a book. Yall, you cannot put a price on the look on that beautiful little girl's face. She said, "Just us, momma? What about sissy? What is she going to do?" When I told her she was staying behind, I thought my 8 year old was going to do a dance right there in the living room. Her and I, just stopped what we were doing, forgot about bedtime, got in the car in our pajamas and went to the library. And we had the best time. We bonded more in that 30 minutes in the library than we have all year. It was wonderful. She chose her book and she could not be happier. She will be reporting on Samantha the American Girl and she looks just like her so she is very excited about dressing up. She will also bring her Samantha doll as a visual and is on cloud nine about that.
The point of my story is that the usual Kellye, would've just told her that it was too late and she just needed to do Little House on the Prairie. That would've left her feeling defeated and with a huge lack of confidence, but she would have just said 'yes maam' and never brought it up again. It felt so good to guide her and let her make the right choice for her and be sensitive to her needs.
I commit to the next 30 days to do something with just her, every day...even if its walk to the mailbox, because she needs that right now from me. We will talk for at least 5 minutes, just her and I, and I will hold her as many times a day as she wants to be held. This chapter really opened my eyes and set me free all at the same time!
So my question for you is, "What really struck you in this chapter?"
Post your comments and tell us all how you have done this week, the good the bad and the ugly!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Step One: Match Your Expectations To Your Child's True Self. To make sure that the expectation you set for your child are ones that stretch her potential without unintentionally zapping her self-worth, ask yourself this: "Are my expectations"...
- Developmentally appropriate. "Is my child developmentally ready for the tasks I'm requiring, or am I pushing him beyond the limits of his internal timetable?"
- Realistic. "Is my expectation fair and reasonable, or am I expecting too much?"
- Child Oriented. "Is what I'm expecting something my child wants, or is it something I want for myself?"
- Success Oriented. "Am I setting the kind of expectations that tell my child I believe he is responsible, reliable, and worthy?"
Don't get so wrapped up in your hopes and dreams for your child's future that you lose sight of what matters most in the here and now. After all, what could be more important than your child's knowing that you love and cherish her for who she is - not for what you hope she will become?
Step Two: Tune In To What's Really Going on With Your Kid. Put down that cell phone. Don't worry about the dust. Be intentional. Take time every day - I'm not talking hours, just a few minutes - to take a good look at your child's life and how things are going.
Step Three: Check Your Kid's Vital Signs. First the face: Are his eyes sparkling or flat? Is he scowling or smiling? Next the body language: Is she relaxed or stiff? Slumped down or coiled up? Finally, the voice: Is it tense and edgy or warm and resonant? Are you hearing whines or laughter? Any sudden changes in behavior: Clinginess? Anger or temper tantrums? Avoidance of situations? Negativity? Loss or big increase in appetite? Too little or too much sleep? Remember, your child isn't going to come up to you and say anything outright...but there are many ways, if you're sensitive, that you can see it for yourself.
Step Four: Identify the Specific Misfit Between Expectations and Reality. Is that accelerated class too hard? Is the coach too demanding? Are you too critical of your kids' grades? Is that clique you've encouraged her to join too upscale? Talk to your spouse, the teacher, or your best friend.
Step Five: Take Action to Remove the Mismatch Between Your Expectation and Reality. Find a better class. Take a break from soccer. Back off from stressing over grade point averages. Let your child choose her own friends. Remain vigilante and sensitive to your kid's needs. Never stop checking for stress and overload, identifying the potential causes and taking action to provide the remedy. (p. 72-73)
WOW!!! Just typing these steps, I can hear a little voice inside my head telling me what is not working in our family. When you read these, please be tuned in to your true self. That is such a huge problem for us I think. We really like a certain mom so we force our kids to invite over the child so we moms can visit, and what ends up happening is that we are compromising our children. Or, we really really really want our little baseball star to shine so we get on the most competitive team around and maybe the practices are just too much and if we would have chosen a less strenuous league our sons may not feel so drained. Listen to that little voice and do what is in her most natural mothering instinct to do.
Lets take the next two days to implement these steps into our daily lives and truly give 100% to being more sensitive to our kids' needs and to intentionally reading into everything they do. And, lets just see how we fare.
Remember, we will meet back here Friday for "Show and Tell" where we will share our struggles and our strengths to encourage each other and hold each other accountable as good buddies do. Our giveaway begins Friday so be sure to join us!!
Have a great week!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
- What are your child's real passions, the things he loves to do? What are his interests, his hobbies? What does he tune in to or seem fascinated about?
- What are her true talents? For instance, does she draw well? Does she have great rhythm, incredible grace, endurance, a kind heart? Does she think in numbers, have an amazing vocabulary?
- What are his academic abilities? For instance, does he remember things quickly, enjoy reading or listening, like to write, have a knack for numbers, have a long attention span?
- How does she handle social settings? Is she more of a watcher or a joiner? Does she lead or follow? Does she buckle to peer pressure or stand up to it? Does she prefer to be around lots of people, a few, or none at all? Does she make friends easily or need guidance? Is she more of an extrovert or an introvert?
- How well does he handle pressure or criticism? Do deadlines stimulate or paralyze him? Does he need reminders, or is he self-motivated? When he fails, does need encouragement, or does he pick himself right back up? Does criticism shrivel him or help him? Does he welcome competition or wither? Is he laid back or intense? Does he have positive or negative self-esteem?
2. Thinking now about the profile you've just created for your child, you need to ask yourself whether your hopes and dreams for her are based on who she really is on or on who you want her to be. Are your current expectations - the ones you've more recently crafted for your child's life - matching your kid so that they enhance his self-esteem? Are your dreams in line with your kid? What would need altering? Here are some things to consider: Would you say for the most part that your child is thriving or barely surviving? Loving the competitive pace or dreading it? Jumping out of bed each morning with an "I can't wait" attitude for practice or playgroup or violin, or using excuses to get out of it? Is she talking excitedly about gymnastics or that new chess club you've enrolled her in, or is she feigning headaches? Is your kid really capable of taking the accelerated class, doing the chore, participating in soccer or the playgroup? Are some of the tasks above his level of ability? Is he mature enough? Is this something he really wants to do, or is this your dream? Does he have the skills needed to succeed? Write a list of your concerns. Doing so will help you develop a plan to deal with them.
3. Has your kid or someone else ever wondered out loud if you're being sensitive to who your kid really is?
4. If you're sitting in a room and your child walks in unexpectedly, do your eyes light up with joy no matter what's the latest manship?
5. If there is one thing you could do to be more sensitive to your child and show your unconditional love, what would it be? Write it down in your journal. Then get ready to learn the secret and use it with your family. (p. 69-70)
So, now that we've written down all of our answers in our journals to see how sensitive we are to our children's needs and how well we are doing in the undconditonal love department, here is one more activity for you to think about. You may even want to try it out and jot down the results in your journal. It really brought things into perspective for me.
The Rubber Band Test
Pick up a good, strong rubber band. Hold it firmly at both ends with two hands. Now consider your own list expectations for your child. For everything that doesn't appear to be a good fit (such as your expecting him to be a great defensive cornerback, and he's more into playing chess), pull the band more tightly. For everything that seems more natural (for example, your daughter loves to sing, so you bought her a guitar), let the band relax a little. Think of every expectation you're placing on your child. If the bands gets so taut that it's in danger of snapping, you and your kid are in trouble. Your goal is to be sensitive to ensuring the necessary match of who your kid really is to what you want him to be. A good measure of your sensitivity as a mother is for you to be able to set expectations that gently stretch your children to become their best without snapping their spirit. (p. 71)
The rubber band test made things very clear to me as to how a child can seem to have it all, be completely loved by his parents, but be smothering on the inside. Do you now see how this yearning can be missed by parents, and is being missed by parents all over our country and the world, for that matter? It really brings our story that we read yesterday into perspective doesn't it? Let's make sure that we don't end up like the mother in our story and let the unconditional love that we have for our kids go unnoticed.
Tomorrow we will look at simple and natural ways to boost your sensitivity toward your children to help get us back on track in case this secret seems to be one in which we find that we may need a little help. Don't forget that Friday is "Show and Tell" day and our very first giveaway will kick off. And as always, if you know someone who would benefit, send her our way!
See you tomorrow!!
Monday, April 13, 2009
I'm so excited to begin our study with you this morning! This book has totally set me free and I just know it will do the same for you. Just to give you a quick run down on how each secret will go, I will introduce each new secret to you on Monday mornings. We will reflect on that secret throughout the week and will learn how to boost that particular part of our mothering plan through individual soul searching tough questions. On Fridays we will work on our Mother's Promise for each secret and work to create that "lesson plan" for parenting that we will hopefully use with our children for the rest of our lives. Fridays will also be "Show and Tell" day! We will share with each other our struggles, weaknesses, strengths, triumphs, and experiences pertaining to each secret to encourage each other and hold each other accountable on this journey...remember Dr. Borba says that we need a buddy!! Hopefully through this experience, we will have quite a few!! I also have a few surprises for you along the way, including a giveaway that you can begin registering for on Friday!! This should be lots of fun and a great learning experience for all of us and I could not be happier to walk this path with all of you. So grab your journals, and let's get out of the fast lane girls...slow this train down and LET'S GET REAL!!!
Real Mom Secret 1
A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth
What Real Mothers Know: If Your Children Have Unconditional Love, They'll Be More Likely To Thrive
What Really Matters Most for Mothering: Be Loving with No Strings Attached
The Real Benefit for Kids: Authentic Self-Esteem
The Lesson a Real Mom Teaches: Of course mothers love their children, but unconditional love goes deeper and is far more complicated. This is about our complete, unequivocal acceptance of our children's true selves - including all their little quirks, bad decisions, tantrums, weaknesses, and flaws. The lesson love teaches is profound: "You are a person of worth." "I believe in you, so you should believe in yourself." We convey our feelings through our everyday words and gestures: our excited voice, wide-open arms, eyes lit up just because our child is in our presence. This doesn't mean doing more, trying harder, being self-conscious. No, it just means staying in touch with our deepest instinctive feelings for our own flesh and blood. You don't plan these reactions: they just bubble over spontaneously in the natural ways we respond to our kids in the moment. Make no mistake - we do influence our children's opinions of themselves. The lesson our children learn from how they are loved by us will last long after we're gone. (p.61-62)
Welcome Mom Secret #1. I'm sure you have many, many thoughts on this introduction, as I do. What really struck me about this first secret is the words I have in bold above. Y'all, it hit me like a truck going 100 miles per hour. What we do on a daily basis with our kids, our body language, the looks on our faces all tell our children how we feel about them. YOU DON'T PLAN THESE REACTIONS: THEY JUST BUBBLE OVER SPONTANEOUSLY IN THE NATURAL WAYS WE RESPOND TO OUR KIDS IN THE MOMENT. No parenting book will teach you how to show your kids you love them and it be REAL!! It has to come from you, naturally. So, basically, we can say "I love you" a gazillion times a day, but unless we are GENUINE and SHOW it to our kids, they don't believe us.
Take a few minutes to jot down this secret and your thoughts about it in your own personal life and then we will take a look an actual situation to help put this in perspective.
I do not love him because he is good. I love him because he is my child.
"She Learned to Show Her Unconditional Love"
How could such a wonderful kid feel so worthless and unloved? And how could a dog figure out what he desperately needed when everyone else-especially his own mother-had missed it?
The next day when the officers sat down with the family, his mother had no idea her son felt this way. She was so upset that she had missed this. She just wanted him to have everything he could ever want. (paraphrased, p. 62-68)
Friday, April 10, 2009
Real Mom Secret #7 A Mother Who Encourages Independence Cultivates Self-Reliance
Real Mom Secret #8 A Mother Who Applaudes Effort Nurtures Perseverance
Real Mom Secret #9 A Mother Who Accepts Her Children's Shortcomings Nurtures Resilience
Real Mom Secret #10 A Mother Who Takes Time for Her Children Helps Them Build Strong Relationships
Real Mom Secret #11 A Mother Who Laughs Teaches Joy
Real Mom Secret #12 A Mother Who Takes Care of Herself Holds Together Her Happy Family
So...How do you feel about those simple secrets?? If you are anything like me the first time I heard them, I thought I was doing pretty darn good. I even felt like I had most down pat. Thankfully for us Dr. Borba uses actual stories from REAL live, actual moms who have alot to teach us, even those of us who may not be off the deep end psycho crazed and frenzied Motherhood Maniacs!
Ladies, face the facts...we have alot to learn to be where we want to be as mothers and Dr. Borba is here to help. In each chapter of Part Two, we will learn a secret and hear a story of an actual mom with an aside from Dr. Borba of what we can learn from each story. Then, ***and this is the best part*** Dr. Borba asks if this is a secret that is part of our parenting. She then offers some questions for us to ask ourselves to help us see, individually, how we can do better or to show us that we are already doing well with this particular secret! And if that is not enough yall, she then gives steps to getting us to mastery level of REAL MOM-NESS for each secret!!! Its AN AMAZING SOUL CLEANSING...to say the least!! And if that is not enough, she brings in her Custom Mothering Plan that she calls A Mother's Promise. We will work in it each week making promises to ourselves and to our families. WOW!!! And if that is not enough, she offers A Real Mom's Resources in each chapter which is a list of books upon books on each particular subject that you can read if you feel this is a significant weakpoint in your relationship with your child. She doesn't encourage a "how to" parenting style, but if you need more help, she can certainly point you in the right direction!
Are you interested in that custom mothering plan that Dr. Borba calls A Mother's Promise?? Here is how it works.
Read each story and then take a few minutes to reflect on whatever the secret is one you would like to you with your children. If so, continue reading the tips, strategies, and advice other moms give as to how they've incorporated the secret into their lives. Then ask yourself the most important question: How would I use the secret in my own parenting? But don't just think about it - if you really want to use the habit, then plan exactly how you will use it with your children. After all, the more you think through what you want to do, the greater the chances you will succeed. Finally, I urge you to write your plan and title it A Mother's Promise. If you take just a few minutes to jot down your promise at the end of each chapter, you will have created your own unique mothering plan for your family. (p.53)
Each week we will look at each secret on Monday, elaborate on it throughout the week and finish with our Mother's Promise on Friday.
This is such a starting point for all of us to see how we stand with our kids and on our same track, where we will be when they all grow up and move away. Don't you want that lasting connection and that love that "lasts for always"??? I truly think that this book will show us how to get there.
I look forward to starting Monday morning, and remember if you know anyone who could benefit from our study, please send her our way!! LETS GET REAL!!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
- 13% of kids between 9 and 17 experience anxiety disorders.
- In one survey, 43% of 13-14 year olds say they feel stressed every day, by 15 it jumps to 59%.
- Of the parents responding in one survey, 46% said that their children's' biggest emotional issues were coping with stress and dealing with depression.
- One third of adolescents say they "worry a lot"...and nearly half say that they have trouble sleeping due to stress.
- In the same poll, 83% of kids say they are stressed about homework and pressure to excel; of those kids, 57% say their relationships with their parents is what's causing them stress.
- The suicide rate among American teens ages 15 to 19 has increased by 30% since 1970. In fact, suicide rates for children and teens tripled from 1962 to 1995.
- In a recent national survey, college students reported feeling so depressed that it was difficult for them to function over the past academic year. College counselors tell us that there are more students than ever before on their campuses who are suffering from not only depression but sleep disorders, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, impulsive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. (p. 34)
What do the Kids Say?
If that wasn't good enough for you, let's look at what our kids saying. Is everything that we are doing for them paying off? Are we going to see the fruits of our tireless labor trying to make sure they have all they need to be happy, and confident? I don't think so.
- 60% of kids ages 12-14 want to spend more time with their parents.
- Kids do want time with us, more time, but they are picky about the kind of time - not just this "quality time" stuff. You get a higher grade from them in your mothering if the time you spend together is not "rushed, but focused and rich in shared activities."
- More than 2 in 5 kids feel like their time with us is rushed.
- A survey of 84,000 kids in grades 6-12 told researchers they do appreciate all that we do. They do enjoy spending time with us. But what they really would like is for the time that they spend to be more relaxed time. (p. 35-36)
- Home increased almost 50 percent.
- Unstructured activities declined by 50%.
- Family dinners decreased by 33%.
- Family vacations decreased by 28%.
- Children's free time decreased by 12 hours per week.
- Playtime decreased by three hours per week.
- Many school systems have abolished recess. (p. 37)
The Impact of Stress
All of these statistics are just shocking to me, as I am sure they are to you too. And what affect is this having on the kids is what I want to know! Well, for starters, Dr. Borba tells us 1 in 3 American children currently suffers from stress-related symptoms, such as headaches, stomaches, and between 8 and 10 percent of American children are seriously troubled by anxiety. Pediatricians tell us that stress symptoms are now showing up in kids as young as 3 years of age. Childhood depression and suicide rates continue to escalate: more teenagers and young adults now die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined. (p.36)
WOW!!! That is startling numbers. Absolutely STARTLING!!! Did you ever think that the day would come when more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined??? UNBELIEVABLE!!
The Birth of Hyperparenting
And so, the new modern day momma has emerged...Welcome Hyperparents!! Teachers know them, sports coaches know them, dance teachers know them, and certainly the t-ball umpires know them. To teachers, they are the parents who are always available. Having been given the name "helicopter parents" these would be those moms who NEVER GO AWAY! They always seem to just be hovering around. Teachers will readily admit that they love their students but the parents drive them nuts!! Who are these moms, well I will tell you. Please take no offense but it is those of us who push too hard, defend the bully, pay the fine for the missing library book, and bring the forgotten homework, just to name a few. Make no mistake, her child will be on the honor roll and will have perfect attendance, but everything else takes a back seat. And because of their absolute obsessiveness to have that perfect all around child, of course you will find these parents at the ball fields. "My child didn't get enough play time...That was an unfair call." Can't you just hear them. You know who they are, don't you?? Because of this crazed hyperparenting, Dr. Borba tells us, 163 cities have required parents to sign a pledge of proper conduct in order to be allowed to attend their kids' games. Some have asked parents to watch a 30 minute video on sportsmanship, and others have gone so far as to have a silence day, when any parent who even opens their mouth at the game is ejected. (p.39)
Do you know any of these parents?? There is always one in the class or on the ball field isn't there? And guess what? Much to the shock from all of their failed efforts, 70% of children who participate in sports drop out by age 13. Why?? Because "its just not fun."
What About Responsibility and Character
So where in all of this madness does responsibility and character fit in? How on earth do we find time to teach our kids to grow up to be productive citizens?? And what about a spiritual upbringing, one that shows our children that we love our Lord God and die to ourselves every day to follow Him? Well, its no surprise all of that gets thrown to the way side as more and more parents are doing more and more to lighten little Tommy's workload, because little Tommy deserves it you know. Doing science projects, finding those misplaced library books, typing the papers, and the list goes on and on. And don't worry, if by some chance its not good enough...CONFERENCE TIME!!
Everybody gets a trophy these days, everybody is a winner, everybody gets an award, everybody gets a plaque, and everybody gets a ribbon. What are we teaching our kids??? Cutting them a little slack, helping them carry that heavy load, building their self-esteem. Is that really what all of this is doing? I beg to argue that what it is doing is telling kids today that they are better than everyone else and to never let anyone tell them otherwise.
Dr. Borba says, After all, the Sacrificial Mom will do anything to make sure that the kids have whatever it takes to get ahead in life. Their lives revolve around these children, who are given everything they could possibly ever want or need. Harvard psychologist Dan Kindlon, who wrote both Raising Cain and Too Much of a Good Thing, contends that all this parental indulgence is actually smothering the development of our children's character and sense of responsibility.(p. 41)
The body, explains Kindlon, cannot learn to adapt to stress unless it experiences it. Indulged children are often less able to cope with stress because their parents have created an atmosphere where their whims are indulged, where they have always assumed...that they're entitled and that life should be a bed of roses. (p. 41)
SOMETHING IS WRONG, MOM!! SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG!!
What Happens When Our Kids Get to College?
Unfortunately, the helicopter doesn't land just because Johnny has gone off to college. No, far from it. The helicopter just hovers over the university now, making sure that everything is perfect there just as it has been in every other aspect of his life. From which school the grad chooses, to writing the admissions essay, to asking all of the questions at the interview, to filling out the forms, the parents are still hovering!!
Would you believe that Dr. Borba states that some universities are having to hire staff just to deal with the parents?? So what does this tell us?? To me it gives a terrible message to our 20 year old children. MOMMY DOESN'T THINK YOU CAN DO THIS ON YOUR OWN.
Dr. Borba agrees and adds, it may not be the message we want our kids to hear, but chances are it will be their interpretation. And its the same exact message we've been sending with all our overinvolved ways all along: "Your homework isn't quite right, let me help." "Your science project could use more data, I'll get it." "This letter won't make the admissions cut, I'll rewrite it." (p.43)
IF YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER IS IN COLLEGE, THE CHANCES ARE ALMOST ONE IN TWO THAT HE OR SHE WILL BECOME DEPRESSED TO THE POINT OF BEING UNABLE TO FUNCTION; ONE IN TWO THAT HE OR SHE WILL HAVE REGULAR EPISODES OF BINGE DRINKING; AND ONE IN TEN THAT HE OR SHE WILL SERIOUSLY CONSIDER SUICIDE!! (p. 44)
That is scary!! And what is worse is that the parents will be thinking, "What on earth do these kids have to be stressed out about...they've got it all!!"
Let's get REAL yall, while we still have time. This is more serious than we first thought. We must save our kids from this broken world and we are about to learn how. Chapter 4 tomorrow Can Our Kids Make It On Their Own, and then on Friday we will finally learn the 12 Simple Secrets and begin our change!
Im so excited that you are joining me on this very eye opening journey. I consider myself to be extremely sheltered, so most of these things are so foreign to me. But, I can see how the world is turning into utter chaos and at the center of it is a bunch of mommas crying for help!
Its time to get REAL!!
Please remember if you know someone who may benefit from this, send her our way!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
- 70% of moms find motherhood stressful.
- Depression affects 30% of young mothers and children.
- 1/3 of parents in one survey said that if they were to do it all over again, they would not start a family.
- In that same survey 53% said they felt significant resentment in making sacrifices as a parent.
- Of the 1,306 moms in one survey, 95% said they experienced guilt and almost half said that the guilt got worse as the kids got older. (p. 29)
- New knowledge about child development.
- More options. Entrepreneurs are very smart and have made endless amounts of choices for parents today.
- More media. Over 800 books on the concept of motherhood were published between 1970 and 2000, of those, only 27 between 1970 and 1980.
- Financial pressures.
- Wanting to be liked. Many moms want to be their child's best friend. Does "you're mean mom strike a chord with you?
- Outdoing their own moms.
- Lack of confidence. They lack confidence in their judgment are constantly second guessing themselves.
- Wanting a trophy child.
- The test craze. With all the tests today, they're making us crazy worrying that our kids will not be good enough. (p. 31-32)
Monday, April 6, 2009
- Do you feel guilt about not living up to your own image of the perfect mom? Do you second guess your mothering or think you're not doing a good enough job?
- Do you worry about your child - about whether his workload/schedule is just too much?
- At your parent-teacher conference, do you find yourself asking more about your kids' grades...than how he gets along?
- Are you frequently stressed or exhausted or impatient with your family? Does the littlest, tiniest thing get under your skin? Are you quick to anger? Are you yelling more?
- Are you on the coach's case complaining that your child isn't getting enough game time?
- Has success become such a huge commodity in your family that your kids are afraid to let you down or disappoint you with a poor grade?
- Do you worry that you kids seems really anxious or depressed?
- Do you worry when your kids seems to have nothing to do, and feel as though you have to educate or entertain him every second of the day?
- Do you always compare yourself frequently to other moms and worry that they're doing a better job than you are? (p. 21)
Okay, if you answered yes to ANY of the questions, it's time to make some changes!! YES TO ANY OF THEM I SAID...that was not a typo!! WHOA!! Which ones do you relate to?? Are you ready to change?? This book will help you. This was a hard test for me because it really showed me that I have gone overboard into Motherhood Mania land which is light years from where I want to be in June Cleaver land!!! I have all of my "yeses" in purple so that you can see where I struggle.
Back it up just a minute though, I mean really whatever happened to June? I could have so been June's next door neighbor. Me with my little white apron and my big blue Cadillac. SO ME!! You know that perfect kitchen with the warm cookies and a mail man that knows you! I could so be there. So what happened to that MOTHER?? Its what we all want isn't it?? Look how much mothering has changed just since our moms were raising kids?? Light years, huh??
That is what we will talk about tomorrow as we begin Chapter 2. Here is a teaser...
What Happened To Pat-A-Cake and Peek-A-Boo?
When Did Mothering Become a Billion-Dollar Profit Center?
How did We Get From June Cleaver to Motherhood Mania?
The Urge to Be Supermom
All that is tomorrow, so please reflect on what you have written in your journals and have some quiet time looking at being ready to make some simple choices that will help us to give a love to our children that will...last for always.
See you right back here in the morning and remember if you have a friend that you think will benefit...send her on our way!!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Sometimes I think we want immediate gratification and instant results, which is why I believe we are jumping on every new wagon that drives by. For us 2009 moms, its hard to see a week or 2 pass and no change in our kids. We think that what we are doing must not be working and off to the next thing we go. But, Dr. Borba, shows us 7 LONG TERM DIVIDENDS as she calls them to being a REAL mother. I love how she calls them "long term dividends" because isn't that exactly what parenting is? You don't put $100 in the stock market today and have a million tomorrow, right? But over time with consistency you will end up with lots of money, right? Parenting is the same way. We must look for the long term dividend and stop worrying about the short term outcomes that change with the wind! We don't look at our stock market account and check the balance every day thinking that what we see is the ending balance do we? What a great way to look at parenting!!!
Here are Dr. Borba's 7 Reasons She says that moms today need to get REAL:
- Real moms can help their kids buck peer pressure because the certainty and firmness of their conviction strengthens their influence on their kids.
- Real mom' children are more likely to adopt their mother's values because their mother hasn't watered down her beliefs with the latest trends or moral compromises.
- Real moms are likely to be better models of patience and self control because they are being themselves and are at peace with who they are.
- Real moms are happier and have more joy in their families because there is so much less pretense and putting on to keep up.
- Real moms are less guilty and anxious because they are not trying to be perfect by other people's standards.
- Real moms are more appreciated because their kids have had a chance to know their interests and passions.
- Real mom have more energy for their families because they don't waste time doing things that don't match their priorities and beliefs. (p.8)
The result of all these wonderful benefits is that real moms enjoy a powerful connection with their children that "lasts for always." (p.8)
SIGN ME UP I SAY!!
Because isn't that what we want? Isn't that the legacy that we all want to leave? It definitely is for me. Those 7 reasons spoke so loudly to me that I wrote every single one of them down in my journal and I am sure that you are just a writing too. It is important to see these long term dividends and keep them fresh in our minds as we press along in our journey to getting back to the basics of mothering. I typed them up and printed them out and have them posted in my office. I see them every morning!! I want to see them all the time because I am tired of this fast paced world that expects us to behave in a certain way and conditions us to completely turn away from the God who created us in a quest to be recognized and built up by earthly standards that ultimately mean NOTHING!!
Dr. Borba refers to this way of "modern day parenting" as being "like a hamster wheel." How fitting huh? She says that moms today feel like they are running and running on one of those things and never get off. I'm sure at some point or another we have all felt like that. It's that continuing "busyness" or that feeling of "always doing" that Dr. Borba says is how moms today define themselves. Here is what she says,
"I've come to realize that real mothering, the stuff that makes up the true natural essence of being a mother, hasn't changed and never will. But the society we're living in here in the good old 21st century USA does have a new and different expectation of what it is to be a good, responsible, conscientious mother. These days the central expectation of a "good" mom is for her to be a "doer" (volunteer, tutor, coach, carpool driver, PTA enthusiast, social secretary, hostess with the mostess, and on and on - very complicated!!).
A decade ago, the main expectation was that she be a "nurturer"(supporter, listener, guider - simpler, and REAL). That little switch has had a dramatic impact on our lives as well as the lives of our children." (p. 10)
IT IS SO TRUE!! When I am feeling overwhelmed and inefficient and I go to my own mother (how about that...that would be benefit #2...guess my MOM was REAL), the first thing she always says to me is, "Baby, I just wasn't as busy as you are. We didn't go anywhere. We got up, had breakfast, got our work done, and the day was ours." I could really just cry right now thinking about it. THAT IS WHAT I WANT...I'm yelling!!! But just like Dr. Borba says, the more we try to simplify, the more complicated things become.
Why?? Why do things get complicated when we try to simplify?? Well, Dr. Borba has this to say,
"Ask a woman to describe a GOOD mother, and you will get a resume: "A room mother." "The play group coordinator," "The soccer coach." "A scout leader." "The PTA president" "A booster club officer." "A school volunteer." This list of roles goes on and on. Mothering is a to-do-list and we are exhausted just trying to keep up. The more mom does, the better her chance of making it into the "Mommy Hall of Fame" (at least in the eyes of other moms).
Interestingly enough, the kids describe their moms as "always involved," "busy," teens say that their moms "don't have a life." Those same kids say their moms are "usually tired," "impatient," and they "wish they could spend more time with them." But how could they, when their schedules are so filled? (p. 10)
The reason that things get so complicated when we try to simplify is that we haven't changed our standards. Our worth, whether we would like to admit it or not, has been measured by how other moms view us and how much "good" we are doing for our kids. We may not feel like this all of the time, but if we depend on the latest parenting technique or continue to strive for the "Mommy Hall of Fame," our standards are way off. Do you find yourself measuring other moms by what they do and how much they do? I think have all guilty been of that at some time or another. Every knows of the yearly fight for ROOM MOTHER status right? You know Open House night when all of the moms show the teacher how available they can be and how they would make the best Room Mother. That is an easy trap to fall into. That is desiring to be measured by someone else's (who has only met you maybe once) standards at its finest. I fell into that trap when my oldest was in Kindergarten. I wanted to be as involved as possible, so I volunteered for everything y'all...EVERYTHING. My husband said that I walked around school with a big sign that read, "Hi, I'm Kellye the door mat. If you need anything, anything at all, it doesn't matter what just ask me because I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO." Of course I had other things to do, but I fell into the trap of wanting to make the good mommy cut. It wore me slap out though, and I just couldn't do it anymore...So you know what I did instead??? I became the PTA President. Y'all really, I'm serious. I'm laughing at myself and I know that y'all are laughing WITH me, but seriously that is what I did!! How sad is that?? Does any of this relate to you? If it does jot it down in your journal.
We have seen how kids described their modern moms, now let's see as Dr. Borba gives us some kids who described their REAL mothers. Here is what they say,
"My mother was such a great listener." "She was always there." "My mom was so patient!" "All my friends used to tell me how nice my mother was." "Mom was so funny, we just laughed and laughed."(p. 10-11)
I realized during these interviews that what we all remembered was not what our moms DID, but who they WERE and how strong (or not) was the connection between mother and child. We remembered the woman herself, or simply "THE MOTHER." (p.11)
These women influenced us by being real: with their own lives, their personal example, and their genuine selves - not all the things they did for us. They knew instinctively how to connect with us and form a lasting attachment. These moms didn't rely on parenting gurus, use flash cards, learn the latest gimmicks, and read the child development charts. They used their natural-born instincts to mother their children, and because they did, their mothering was more authentic, far simpler, and more effective in influencing their kids' lives for the better, because they set their children a terrific example. THEY WERE REALLY REAL!" (p.11)
Six Core Principals of Real Mothering
So, here is what Dr. Borba says are the 6 core principals that Real mothers know. A responsible caring woman:
- Loves her children deeply and is committed to raising them to the best of her ability
- Knows the essential and proven parenting principals
- Maintains a strong belief that no one understands or knows better what's best for her child than herself
- Recognizes her child's and her own unique strengths and temperament, and customizes her parenting to fit it
- Has the confidence to act on these beliefs
- Knows, above all else, that it is the connection with the child that matters most (p. 11-12)
So now that we have taken in a whole bunch of information, lets take a little break and do some journaling. Review what we have written so far and what we have learned, think about it for a few minutes and lets all answer this very simple, yet very difficult question.
How do you want to be described or even remembered by your children?
Lets each write on this for a few minutes and then we will continue. While you are writing though, imagine that your children are all grown up. What do you want them to say about you??
Okay, lets wipe the tears, gain our composure and see what Dr. Borba has to say about that very question of how we want our kids to describe and even to remember us. She says,
"I would be willing to bet it would be as the type of woman who influenced your life." (p. 13)
Okay is she reading my mind??? When I close my eyes and look at my kids all grown up and talking about me certain people stick out in my mind. So, I jotted the characteristics of that person that mean the most to me down. They are mostly good memories I have of that person. Things that just stick out to me, you know the person who teaches you that you are worth something, the one who teaches you the value of a dollar and shows you how to have a work ethic, and that person who believes in you and is there for you anytime. Sometimes even a saying or a quote that a certain person says often will ring in your mind and mean so much. I had a very dear neighbor about 5 years ago in a house that we rented while we were building. I often called her my "adoptive mom" because she really took me in and literally taught me the ropes of life that I never knew. So many things we talked about mean so much to me still to this day and the way she was with her grand kids has always been something I admire. I still call her for advice and still very much look up to her as a mother and grand mother. Even as I sit here and think of what kind of mom I want to be RIGHT NOW TODAY, not when my kids are grown but right now, certain moms stand out to me. WHY??? Dr. Borba says it is because those women are REAL mothers. WOW!!!
She continues by saying, "If that's the kind of mother you want to become for your children, read on. It will be the woman your children describe years from now if you follow the plan in this book....Your children really do grow up all too quickly, but your connection to them will last an eternity if you learn to use the twelve secrets in this book, follow your instincts, and keep true to yourself. Enjoy!" (p. 13) Okay so are you ready to embark on this journey together?? I feel like I have learned so much already and we really haven't even begun. Next week we will look at Part One of Dr. Borba's book 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know which will give us an understanding of why this is so important and how we can beat Motherhood Mania. Then we will get to Part Two which is the 12 secrets, 12 true stories of women each with a simple secret, each accompanied by ways to use these secrets in our own life.
She says about these 12 secrets, "Time and time again, I've seen the audience laugh and cry as I told them. They seem to strike a chord. Over the years I've realized that each of them depicts an essential secret of real mothering. And years later, people tell me how much these stories have influenced their lives." (p.14)
There are also guidelines and tips of how we can use each secret in our own life (BRUTAL...hope you got a big journal!!).
She says, "This is not a 1-2-3 method of parenting. This is about creating a life mission. This is about creating a Mother's Promise that you will use forever." (p. 14)
Dr. Borba takes this very seriously and does not want to be compared in any way to the latest parenting method or newest idea on the block. She even gives these rules to follow when reading the book:
- Create your own Mother's Promise. (More on this coming later, but we will do this)
- Form a book club. Read the book together and discuss a secret each week.
- Start a journal. The point of this is to express your thoughts about parenting and your concerns about your own kids and to keep track of specific ideas, strategies, and stories you want to remember.
- Find a buddy. Don't try to go this alone. Find other moms who you can share your joys and concerns and the progress of your efforts with.
- Go one secret at a time. Please don't overwhelm yourself by trying to take on too much. (p. 14-15)