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You Know You’re A Mom When…

…discussing the quantity and quality of your child’s poop with others is a normal part of everyday conversation

…25% of your bed is occupied by you and your partner and the other 75% is taken up by someone who sleeps with his feet in your face

…without thinking you cut the food on someone else’s plate into very tiny pieces (and it’s not your child’s plate!)

…your child is not in the least bit upset by not being invited to a friend’s birthday party but you are devastated

…the idea of going grocery shopping ALONE sounds like a trip to the spa

…you wouldn’t dream of leaving home without enough snacks to feed a small army even though you’ll only be out for an hour and a half

…’sleeping in’ means you don’t get up until 7:00 AM

…a bouquet of just picked dandelions touch you in the same way as a dozen roses used to

…it’s been a difficult day both at work and at home.  There have been tears, upset, and yelling (and it wasn’t just your child).  Then, as the day is ending, you are the recipient of a snuggle, a hug, a kiss, or an “I love you.”  And the world is right again.

The Truth Behind

 “You’re Not the Boss of Me” 

 

“No!!!”

“You’re not the boss of me.” 

“You can’t tell me what to do.” 

“Mom, stay out of this.  I’ll deal with it myself.”

 

Hearing (even just reading) those words is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  (Yes, I’m the bull.)  Like the bull you can feel your blood pressure rising.  “How dare you speak to me like that?  I know what’s best for you and I’m going to tell you!”

How often has THAT worked out well for you?

So what do you do when your child, beginning with one of his first words, “NO!!!,” let’s you know that your help, instruction, advice and wisdom isn’t appreciated?

--Pause--

That’s it, really.  You pause.  Unless this is a medical or safety emergency (and even then I’d say pause so you don’t get hysterical) you really need to pause.

Why?  Because the first thing out of our mouths is going to be some variation on “Oh yes I can so tell you what to do!”  And so the spitting contest begins. 

arguement 

The Perfect Consequence

How many times have you said “If only I had the perfect consequence?”  If you’re like the rest of us—hundreds.  Parents are on a quest for the perfect consequence, the one that really drives home your point so that your child will do exactly what you want him to do.

 

You can stop looking for it now—it doesn’t exist.  There is no magical, one-size-fits-all consequence that will magically make your child do what you want him to do.  Stay with me here, because consequences do work, if we allow them to.

 

Focus on the person you want her to be.  You want her to be responsible, independent and a problem solver?  She has to have the chance to grow those muscles now, while she’s still home with you.  That means she needs time to practice being responsible, independent and a problem solver.  There is no better way to teach this skill than to offer choices.

The One Important Thing You Must Do As A Parent

What is the most important thing you can do for your child? Wow—what a loaded question!  Believe it or not, the answer has nothing to do with your child. The answer is take care of you.

Being a parent means you are constantly ‘on’, always doing something, being responsible, or focusing on your family. At some point when you give and give and give there is just nothing left to offer.  Like a car with no gas you are on Empty.  Just about then your child whines or pushes you just a bit too much and you react—loudly and not nicely.  It’s not how you want to be, it just pops out because you have no emotional reserves.

fuel pump

The best defense is to take care of you by being sure there’s always a little something in your tank. Let ‘s face it, a Full tank is better than 1/8 tank, but 1/8 will still get you places; Empty will not.  Making sure that your tank doesn’t run dry means finding time to fill it.  That, of course, is the challenge.

 

The True Gift of the Season

From the time they were very young my children realized that there was no Christmas in their lives. It’s not because they have the Scrooges for parents; Christmas is not our religious holiday.  Taking them grocery shopping in December was always a challenge.  Without fail the cashier (always well meaning) would ask them if they were being good or what they wanted Santa to bring them.  Although I never knew what to say, my kids figured it out on their own and had a standard reply, “We’re not Christmas kids.  We’re Hanukkah kids.”  It wasn’t said sadly as if they felt they were missing out on something.  It was just an explanation, a fact worthy of sharing.

family

Christmas is all pervasive whether you celebrate it or not. It’s in every store, and on every radio station.  Then, when you get to the big day, it’s as if the world stops.  It’s a true family day. As a response to the fact that our kids’ friends were busy with their families and couldn’t play, we gradually created a special family ritual for the day. As most families build up to a crescendo on Christmas Day we actually power down.  We wake up whenever we wake up, build a fire, and stay in our pajamas.  We watch movies or bake cookies (or both!). In the afternoon we go out to see a movie, then finish off our day with dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  (Did you know that Chinese restaurants are always open on Christmas Day?  And they are packed!)

It is a surprisingly calm and peaceful day. No cooking or running around, no crowds, and no let down.  What began as an accident has become the most anticipated day of the year for our family.  It’s No Obligations Christmas.  Our biggest stressor is deciding which movie to see.

"Rhonda Moskowitz provides a solid, practical approach to her coaching and parent education by using her natural exuberance and humor. Parents fortunate enough to work with her not only obtain concrete solutions to their challenges, but also journey toward their dreams with grace, eager enthusiasm, aware of new possibilities like never before---all because Rhonda makes that possible." Gloria DeGaetano - Founder & CEO, The Parent Coaching Institute, Bellevue, Washington

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