I’ve been avoiding writing since my wonderful mom died in my arms. The world seems so empty without her. We were unbelievably close and were the envy of many mothers and daughters who didn’t have that same bond. I’m lucky to have that same bond with my daughter. My son is the one I turn to when I feel like I’m falling apart, he’s my rock.
I lost my sweet Dad when I was just 14 so feel so fortunate to have had Mom until I was 55. Grief is so personal and unpredictable. I still love coaching parents but haven’t been able to write about parenting … go figure? I’m going to try to get back into the swing of it now as not feeling quite as foggy as I was.
What did my Mom teach me about parenting? She taught me to always be supportive and positive, never be bossy, teach children to be accountable.
Mom was the most positive, cheery person I’ve ever known. She had a tough life but you’d never know it if you’d met her. She taught me to appreciate everything, make lemonade out of lemons and to have fun. I definitely brought those lessons into my own parenting style. Whining or complaining were simply not options in our house. My kids whined about being bored, I handed them a mop. They complained about having to make their bed, I’d hand them the dirty laundry to wash. Negativity was simply not allowed. BE NICE, BE ACCOUNTABLE AND HAVE FUN. That was about it.
I don’t remember Mom ever telling me what to do or punishing me. My kids say the same thing about me. Everything was dealt with using humour and good old fashioned common sense. I gave them choices then it was up to them:
- As soon as you’ve cleaned your room you can watch TV. Up to you.
- You can make your bed then play a video game. Up to you.
- Sure we can go to the park, as soon as you get your homework done. Up to you.
I never put a negative spin on it. Wouldn’t have said, “We won’t go to the park until you’ve done your homework.” That tone tends to bring out defiance, not pride.
All about accountability. Kids who are accountable have high self-esteem. Kids who are NOT accountable have low self-esteem which leads to all sorts of problems in childhood AND adulthood. I always added the “Up to you”.
People continually said, “You’re so lucky to have such easy kids!!!” I guess that’s one way of looking at it but why were other kids also good with me? I’ve worked with some pretty challenging kids and teens and never had a problem with any of them. I gave them choices then built up their pride and self-esteem by praising them when they made good choices. Never focused on negativity as that just made them feel bad about themselves.
Phew, I’m drained. Grief is so weird, I don’t know why writing about parenting is so painful since Mom died. I can talk about her and my grief, just can’t write about parenting. Oh well, it is what it is.
I’m an orphan now, no one’s face lights up when I enter the room. Sure, people are happy to see me, but that’s different. After my son moved out (daughter still lives with me) I can remember one particular occasion when I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks. He walked in the front door and I lit up like a Christmas tree. Mom looked like that every time I visited her and I’ll miss that. I’ll miss her for the rest of my life just as I miss Dad every day. I’m so grateful to have had such warm, wonderful parents. I’m grateful … just grieving.
If you’ve lost a loved one recently I’d love to hear how you’re doing.