Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Motherhood: What Not To Do

Ever since I was a kid--even really young like six or seven years old--I had the idea of keeping journal or a running list of things that I didn't want to do to my children when they were older.  Even at that young of an age, I realized that my parents had long forgotten what it was like to be seven years old.  I knew (because they told me so often) that a lot of times they were doing something that I would understand better when I would become an adult and parent.  Still, I thought they could do a better job at helping me to understand things or trying to be a bit more fair.

I am disappointed in myself for never starting that list.  I think it would really help.  However, I am still very much in touch with my inner-child.  I have been told it is because I am still a child myself.  Whatever the reason, I am not ashamed to admit that my T.V. is usually on Nickelodeon, even when my daughter is in bed.  I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy coloring, making beadie-buddies (does anyone else remember those?) and Play-Doh.  Call me immature, but I think these attributes are going to make me a better mom in the future.

So here is the beginning of the list, from what I can remember thinking about as a child.

Notes To Future Amie:  What Not To Do With Raising Children
  1. Don't laugh at their hairstyles or clothing choices, even when they're four or five and it looks really, really ridiculous.  I tried to braid my bangs when I was a child and my aunt and cousins laughed at my new do.  I was so embarrassed and can remember thinking that just because I was a little kid didn't mean that I couldn't understand when I was being made fun of.
  2. Approach the subject of crushes very seriously and do not tease or make a huge deal out of it.  It is especially embarrassing for a daughter to be teased about a crush by her father, and for a son by his mother.
  3. If I truly cannot keep a secret from my children's father, then don't promise them that I won't tell him.  Honesty should be the best policy for all ages.
  4. Don't lie.  Ever.  Be accountable for every word that comes out of my mouth.  Even if I have to tell them that I will explain more after I gather my thoughts or when they are older.
  5. Do not show signs of a low self-esteem in front of my children.  Being humble is one thing, but calling myself ugly in front of little ones who look just like me is not going to do much for their confidence.
  6. Sometimes kids really do forget why they did something.  Don't call a child a liar unless I have proof.
  7. My parents did not give me any chores at all.  Ever.  It has made me a very lazy adult.  I can not, for the life of me, keep a clean house.  There is a happy medium between making a child a workhorse and giving them no chores at all.
  8. Don't assume that just because I did something bad as a teenager that my teens will do the same.
  9. Don't tell a teenager that they have nothing to be stressed out about.  Schoolwork, after-school jobs, social issues, and trying to figure out your entire future is extremely stressful.  Just because they don't have bills to pay and children to take care of does not mean they are actually worry-free. 
  10. For teenagers, it is also very stressful to feel like an adult but to be under some one's thumb constantly.  Imagine, as an adult, someone monitoring my work performance, spiritual performance, relationships, friendships, nutrition, sports, etc. etc. etc.  While necessary, it is a genuine pain in the ass and I, as a parent, should be sensitive to that.
I know I had a lot more items I have thought about over the years.  I will try to remember to add them as I think of them.


  1. A solid list that I will have to remember for when I have kids.
    I agree with the chore list. I wish my parents had been on me more about being clean, my bf goes crazy with my laziness, he was a workhorse, and the only reason our apartment is uber clean is because of the way his mom raised him.

    I also feel the same about homework, my kids will do homework the second they get home from school, because they will thank me later in life when they aren't huge procrastinators.

  2. Good thoughts. I think #5 (about self esteem) is extremely important, especally since you have a girl.