Pregnancy does not prepare us women for the gigantic task called motherhood. While pregnancy lasts only nine months, motherhood is a commitment for life! And while it is gratifying and very rewarding, let’s face it. Motherhood isn’t easy. But, you can make it better. You can make it a more enjoyable journey. And you can make it a wonderful learning experience for both yourself and your kids.
Img source: Loma Linda University
The first step towards making things better is to acknowledge that motherhood isn’t a temporary phase in your life. The challenges keep changing goal posts as time passes, but they are always there! The first step is to accept these challenges wholeheartedly. So while taking care of your newborn, all you have to make sure is that the baby is well-fed, well-clothed, and well-rested, things become drastically different a few months down the line. As the baby rolls over, you need to make sure she is not at the edge of the bed. Still further, when she starts crawling, baby proofing the whole house becomes necessary. And God save the mothers when babies discover the use of their little legs!
So, what can you do to make things better? After accepting that motherhood is not a bed of roses, the next step is to acknowledge that your baby is a separate entity – another human that deserves respect and space. This is where respectful parenting comes into the picture. Respectful parenting is all about acknowledging the rights of your child as a person.
Choose your battles -Of course, our children need us to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong. But they don’t need continuous negativity from us. The key is in moderation in the discipline. Yes, we need to inculcate good habits and the right values. But it is always better to work with the child and understand that she is an individual with a different personality. We need to respect this fact and work with her to help her become a good human being instead of enforcing your views on her.
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Don’t make it a power play –The relationship between a mother and a child is not about who is more powerful and who wins whenever there is a conflict. It is about equality where both deserve mutual love and respect. There are times in our journey of motherhood where we expect complete compliance from our children. Don’t fret if it does not happen. It is not about the little victories that we gain when our children do as we say. It is about knowing when to give in and about helping our children make the right choices themselves.
Empathy is powerful –The best way to form a strong emotional connection with our children is to be able to empathize with them. Do we understand why our child feels a certain way or reacts in a certain manner? Can we put ourselves in their shoes? Empathy can solve many parenting problems when we just allow ourselves to look at things from our children’s perspectives. And what’s more, children learn from our behavior. So, we are ultimately raising children with an open mind who are able to use empathy themselves.
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Respect their will –We should respect that your child might not want the same thing as we do. Forcing her tofall in line with what we want could be disastrous. Rather, a holistic approach is to respect our children’s will. We can always explain, lead by example, and talk about things. But establishing ourselves as an undisputed authority is never going to make things easier, or even better.
Motherhood might not be a cakewalk. But it is one of the most satisfying things in the world. Treating your children as individuals who deserve respect does not mean that you turn a blind eye when they choose the wrong things. It is about a change in your attitude towards discipline. It is about helping the child choose the right thing by empowering them! It is about developing mutual trust and respect that goes beyond your children’s childhood. And through this attitude, comes a lasting bond to be cherished for years and years!