Transitioning into motherhood was one of the hardest new roles to embrace; my life got flipped turned upside down, while navigating my way through exploding diapers and raging hormones – all while sleep deprived. Gone were the days of leaving the house on a whim and hopping into my car to grab a coffee, meet a friend, go shopping, or do anything. To top it off, the pressure to be the perfect parent is never ending and the judgement – give it a rest already! Our own self condemnation is enough to contend with, let alone the judgement of others.
Mentally adjusting and accepting a new way of life as a parent, doesn’t happen overnight and the more we are supportive of each other, the more parenthood can be enjoyed – which in turn means, the better adjusted our children will be. How others choose to raise their children, is none of anyone’s business. Ensuring that my kid’s needs are met and that they’re happy, confident, little people, is all I give a damn about.
However, if I’m being honest, I dread the day that my kids come home with criticism on my parenting from their spouse, or God forbid, a therapist. Some days, it feels like a never winning, never ending job. One that I can’t for the life of me understand how to conquer. Most days, I feel defeated and often wonder how pleased they are with me as their Mom.
All I want is for my children to know that they are loved no matter what – no matter how they act – no matter how I react to their shenanigans. I want their self-esteem to be so independent of other’s approval that they will never seek it. That hearing a compliment will make them smile but not fill a void. I want them to express themselves unapologetically and from an authentic place.
To illustrate, when Silas and Sierra are creating art, and look to me for praise, of course I admire it, but I always deflect and ask if what they’ve created makes them happy because their opinions of themselves is all that matters. I want my kids to be aligned with what Maria Montessori referred to as, their ‘spiritual embryo’. Each of us knows ourselves from conception; we innately have our purpose wired within us but it’s our responsibility, as parents, to keep our kids as aligned with this as possible.
In years to come, my kids will inevitably grade my performance as their mom, hopefully based on how well adjusted they become. And, when all is said and done, the opinions of others will be all but forgotten and all that will matter, will be my children’s opinions of themselves.
If any of you mamas, have any other suggestions on ways to instill a strong sense of self in our children, I would love to know. Comment below and share some ways we can raise stronger, happier kids!