You know what's so fun about this blog? Besides having the chance to make friends around the world, having the opportunity to meet and become real, in life friends with some of you and documenting my world for Ava to look back on as she grows up, I truly believe that blogging has enabled me to be a better mom.
I try my best to be vulnerable and to write about all of my weaknesses for the world to see in hopes of connecting with all of you and showing all of you that you are not alone. The world is not what you typically see on Instagram and all of those pretty photos of smiling babies are not always real life. Yes, they're all real and they're real life but there's another side to motherhood that so few moms are willing to show to the public and I think that's why so many of us feel alone.
I've been there --
Why is her two year old so smiley all the time? Does she ever even cry?
How did she get her baby to go to sleep in 10 minutes and it takes me 2 hours?
I wish I had a marriage like theirs.
We're constantly comparing ourselves to other moms and so for me, showing you all my faults is my way of hopefully showing you that you are NOT alone in your struggles.
So there's all of that, and then there's ME.
Blogging has enabled be to grow as a mom, as a wife and as a human being. Being able to reflect on my days and spend hours every week writing it all down enables me to see where I have succeeded and where I have failed. And without blogging, I'll be honest, I probably wouldn't sit there each day and actually think about all of this. So while this blog is for all of you, it's so much for me too.
I'm all about praising ourselves when we do great things. I remember when Ava was about 18 months old and we were going through a super rough couple of months where she would just scream all day and all night and she'd cry and cry and cry and there was nothing we could do to console her. It was rough. Like, real rough. And there were so many days where I'd yell and get angry at her and at myself and that would make her more upset which would make me more upset and I just didn't know what to do. And then one day, I only talked calmly, I took deep breaths, I held her and I hugged her and I let her know that I was there when she needed me. And that day I publicly praised myself for that. And it felt great.
So we need to praise ourselves. We, as moms, need that in our lives to prove to ourselves that we are great. But we also need to reflect and see when we've done wrong or find ways we can improve. Because no one is perfect, not any of us, and life is a game of growing and becoming greater with every day.
I know I just rambled for 7 paragraphs now so I'll get to my point...
Looking back on the week, there are two ways I want to improve. These are two phrases I need to say more of as a mom and two phrases I think so many moms could say more of:
So I'm not talking about literally saying the word, "no" because that's actually a word I try to keep out of my vocabulary when speaking to Ava. Instead of telling her, "no" I try to always use a positive phrase like "instead of climbing up your doll house, let's go inside your dollhouse on the bottom floor." But that's a whole new can of worms I'll dive into later.
What I'm talking about here is spoiling our kids. I'll admit -- I'm the worst. I want to give her everything she wants and everything she needs. I want to give this little girl the world.
But we all know that spoiling a child is far from great parenting but it's hard. It's really hard. We go to Target and she screams and cries because she wants that purple pair of sunglasses she sees hanging on the rack. And oh man, it's far easier to just get the $4 sunglasses and not deal with a screaming child while I run errands but that won't help me in the long run. And when she doesn't want to go to bed at night, boy it's easier to play with her and hug her and let her stay up and hang out with us. It's far easier to say "yes" than it is to say "no" but we all know that routine is imperative in a child's life.
Not giving in is hard and it's something I experience each and every day. It's something I know that I need to work on as a mom.
2. "I'm proud of you."
I feel like so often I'm focused on teaching Ava what she's doing wrong and trying to make her a better person that I sometimes forget to praise what she's doing right. "Be careful" and "don't hit" and "Ava listen to mommy" and "don't touch that" flood my days and all of that is bringing such negative energy into her life. Of course, we need to teach our kids when they're doing something wrong but life is about balance. And with all of that negative, I need to focus on bringing positive into her life as well.
"I'm so proud of you for saying that new word" or "great job for eating your broccoli" or "you are such a smart girl" and "you did such a great job" and all of those positive things need to over-power the negative. I want to give more positive praises to Ava than negative statements and while I do really work on that each and every day, sometimes it totally slips my mind. Oftentimes it slips my mind.
For example, if I tell Ava to not touch something at Target and she doesn't touch it, typically I'm just too focused on getting my errands done that I forget what she just did. She listened. So my follow up should be, "Thank you Ava, for listening to mama. I'm so proud of you for being a good listener."