Tuesday, December 27, 2016

10 Things I Learned Being a Mom


1.  Babies don't stay babies very long.  The first year is exhausting, but it does get easier..or else you get used to lack of sleep!...Enjoy those first 12 months and be present.  Do not decide not to have another baby based on the first 12 months.  Give yourself time to think about it when you are not exhausted and in a hormonal haze.

2.  Kids need sleep.  No one, not even adults, act their best when they are tired.  Make sure your kids sleep enough so you don't have to fight battles you don't need to fight.  This is especially true of teens..they need as much sleep as toddlers.

3.  I am not my child's mistakes or their successes.  They come with their own personalities and just like me they are on a journey to learn.  When they mess up, it does not mean I am a failure as a mother and screwed up my kids...similarly, when they do something awesome, it is their success, not mine.

4.  Teach them to do stuff.  Don't do it for them.  Little kids can do stuff if we allow them to, instead of doing it for them.  They can do chores and take care of their things.  They are smart, we just need to let them learn instead of being in a hurry and doing it ourselves.  Your child's teacher will thank you for letting your child be responsible for his own things and for teaching him to do things himself.

5.  Don't coddle them.  Let them feel disappointment.  The more you shield them from these emotions in early childhood, the harder they will feel as a teen.  Life is hard and sometimes does not go your way, don't let it surprise them when they are 20.

6.  Teach your kids to work.  Chores are important.  Work ethic matters.  If you don't raise kids who have to lift a finger at home, they are not going to lift one for an employer.  Chores teach kids much more than work..they teach responsibility, doing something for the good of the family, and pride in a job well done. Chores and responsibilities are what give your child self esteem, not getting trophies for every little thing.

7.  Reading is one of the most important skill for kids to master.  Reading is the gateway to all learning.  You cannot learn anything in later grades if you are not a good reader in early grades.  Read at home, read aloud, listen to your kids read.  Read more than you watch.  It will pay off.

8.  The big things are the little things.  Your kids will not remember the details of the pinterest party you threw them one year What they will remember are your the traditions...ice cream on Tuesday nights, reading in bed with you every night, board games on Sunday afternoons, picnics and fishing. Similarly, they won't remember when you yelled at them either, so give yourself a break.  We all lose our cool now and then :)

9.  Teach them accountability.  Every time you rescue them from a mistake, you make them less accountable.  Have them take responsibility for the things they do.  Make them write letters of apology, don't scream at their little league coach, don't make excuses to their teachers for them.  They have to learn that they are a person of integrity and honor.  Help them learn that.  Don't let them grow up with excuses on their tongues.

10.  Self discipline is THE single most important thing a kid can learn.  If you are self disciplined, you can accomplish your goals from running a marathon to getting a scholarship to landing that big job. You have to be self disciplined enough to take every step toward your goal. There are kids who persevere and there are kids who give up.  Raise a child who perseveres.  Kids love goal charts and keeping track.  Teach them to discipline themselves and you will make the teen years so much easier on yourself and raise productive members of society.

Gretchen Knuffke is a mother of 10 children ranging in age from 4 to 22.  She is a freelance writer and a preschool teacher.  She owns Maternal Instincts, a parenting education company and is an motivational speaker for various mom ministries and the founder of Kalispell Moms for Moms.

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