Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Kind of Mother Are You? (not a facebook quiz)

The upcoming Mother's Day holiday has got me thinking. There are so many different types of Mothers out there.
I, for one, have struggled over the years to make the right decisions for my kids. As I'm sure every parent does.

And some of my parenting styles are different from a lot of people around me. I've said before, I am not a hover-mother. At all. I am a huge, huge advocate of my children becoming independent, and confident. I want them to be able to take care of themselves. I don't want them to go out into the world, and not know who they are, or what to do because I can't always be there to hold their hands. My husband and I joke that it's lazy parenting. Because if the kids ask for something, we tell them to get it themselves. It's funny to act like we're lazy. But, I have principles behind my actions.

I've been criticized by other parents, scolded by complete strangers, and been given plenty of unsolicited advice from well-intending passerby's, who tell me how I should or should not be raising my children.
And on many occasions, I have found myself disciplining my children, more for the benefit of the people watching, and less for the benefit of my children.

Have you ever done that?

I've decided that that is the wrong approach to motherhood. No one should tell a mother how to raise her own children. Unless they are in immediate physical danger, I think people need to just butt out, and let a mother, who is doing the best she can, do what she feels is best for her children.

Everyone has different parenting styles. Even my siblings and I have different techniques we use in raising our kids.

I think I am a good Mom. But, I doubt myself a lot. It's one of my biggest insecurities. I have a lot of fear and anxiety over how my kids will ultimately turn out.

I do take time for myself. I run. I write music. I read. I blog. My husband and I get a babysitter and go out on dates frequently. As a mother, is that selfish? Is the mother who sacrifices herself, her hobbies, and completely devotes her life to her children a better mother than me?

I really don't think so. She has her ways that work for her, I have mine. I think I give my children the love and attention that they need.

Besides, I want my daughters to grow up, get married, have babies, and still have an identity beyond their family. Of course, being a mother is at the top of the priority list. But, I think it's important to teach my children to follow their dreams, and keep being who they are no matter what blessings or trials life brings them.

My children are independent, energetic, little spit-fires. And I love them that way. They test the limits, they ask questions, and can't find the answer, they search for it, and sometimes they get into trouble in the process. They are great kids.

And I know they were sent to this earth with the energy that they have for a reason. Whatever it is that they have to conquer in the life, they will need those personality traits to do it. And it's my job to guide them, and help them to blossom those talents.

So, what kind of Mother are you?


Andrea said...

Right now I'd say a pretty crappy one... I really struggle with helping them become independent. I have done a much better job with the younger two because I think I know what I'm doing now, but the first two, when the pattern is already set, and it's not a good one, it is hard to get out.

And for what it's worth, I think you are a great mom, and I would say keep it up!

Me said...

I would have to echo your description. Its important to me that my kids are independent, capable and free thinking! I struggle with how people view me as a mother..but I have to remind myself that only I know what's best for me and mine.

Mikki said...

I think you're an awesome mother Sher!!
I'm pretty lazy, but not in the same way I think. I'm just lazy. I want my kids to learn to do things for themselves, but sometimes, it's just quicker and easier to do it myself. That's something I really need to work on. It might be easier FOR ME right now, but in the long run, it's harder for my kids.

I think it's excellent that you take time for yourself. I do that too, probably too much time for myself though. But, I do believe it makes you a better person, and therefore a better parent. Taking time with your spouse makes your reationship stronger, and that's the greatest give you can give your kids--a stong,healthy, happy foundation.
Great post!

debilyn said...

I definitely lean more towards the kind of mother that you are. I grew up having to be independent and self-reliant in soooo many ways, but not so much because I was taught that as was due to necessity.

I'm so good at teaching my kids independence and self-reliance that I have an Anne Taintor postcard on my fridge that says "make your own damn dinner!"

nice, huh? ;)

Lara said...

Definitely a lot like you are. Sometimes I think that makes me lazy or selfish, but mostly I think I do a pretty good job of being what my kids need me to be. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but I love them to pieces and I think that's enough for them usually.

The discipline and everything else should be motivated from love, right? So, it comes and you are more than likely exactly the mother your kids need.

SO said...

I probably lean towards being a drill sergeant with a bit of a helicopter mom thrown in. I'd like to claim consultant as well but if I have that trait it's very small.

I try really hard with the tools I have to be a good mom. Some days it is harder than others. I also try really hard not to judge other moms and their parenting techniques but I have to admit that I'm guilty of judging more than I should.

I've also been know to say things to other peoples children that I'm sure would tick people off. Or have people think I'm over stepping my bounds...maybe I am, maybe I do. I don't usually say anything if their parents are there but if kids come over to my house I have no problem letting them know the rules of my house if they are breaking them or pushing boundaries.

I am a HUGE believer that kids need boundaries. Sometimes I think our boundaries may be a little tight but I'm working on it.

And even though I lean more towards the disciplinarian/drill sergeant mom my kids know why they are being disciplined. We sit down and talk about it. And sometimes the kids choose the consequences of their actions not me.

I've taken the Love and Logic class and it's really helped me. I need to pull the workbook out again and re-read it. I suggest that class to anyone who can take it.

Devri said...

I put all my time and effort into my children (mostly), but I do take time for myself, I think you have to!

I never know what is wright or wrong for a mother, but I do know what is right through the teachings of the church for my children.. It's the mom thing I am still trying to figure out.. I think I am not a great mom, but other people see me as one.. So who knows. I am rambling so I will stop...

but I have to say today..

I am the best mom because I let my 5 year old eat 3 klondyke bars...(in her eyes at least)

2busy said...

I try to be a relaxed mom. I, too, have been the object of scorn. I set boundaries and let my kids fly. If they crash, then they have learned a life lesson. I stress internally all the time. The oldest two have cell phones so I can micro manage. That helps me feel a little better.

You sound like an awesome mom to me. Every mom is awesome in her own special and unique way.

Melissa said...

Okay, I have just backspaced out about 8 paragraphs and I was still going. I realized that your question really provoked some deep thinking on my part and I'm going to do a whole post about it.
Mind if I take your question, link back to you, and answer on my own blog??


Rachel said...

I think I'm a lot like you are. I try really hard to make my children do things for themselves. My SIL hates my philosphy, but I make my 4 and 6 year old do chores. I make my 2 year old throw his diapers away. They choose their own clothes. They do their own thing. I usually do not direct their activities. I want them to be able to solve their own problems and come up with their own solutions.

And I agree with you: unless a child is in danger, no one has a right to criticize the way you parent (except that sometimes people have different opinions about danger. . .)

megs said...

Hey! So I'm not a mom yet buuuut I definitely have HUUUGE opinions on how to raise your kids! I'm the oldest of 6 and so I have seen my parents raise all of us and I think they have done an amazing job.

My mom has never ever been a 'hover mother' either and I think it's perfect. I became very self sufficient this way, as have all of my younger brothers and sisters. One thing that my mom also didn't do that a lot of moms do is worry and make a big deal out of every little injury! This is something that I think is very important because if you do then there is no one that your kids are going to learn to 'live with it' which is something that you def. need later in life.

Anyways, I think it sounds like you're a GREAT mom!! Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

this really is a GREAT POST Sher! from what i know of you, you are a great mom!!! and i mean that!

if a momma isn't abusive {mentally, emotionally, or physically} to her children, then i do not think anyone has a right to judge her on her mothering skills.

you are a good momma & i wish there were more moms like you in the world!

DeNae said...

I'm an awesome mother. Except for all the times when I'm a terrible mother. Or the times when I'm just average. Or those times when I'm asleep.

What I'm learning after nearly 22 years of doing this, is I'm pretty much the same kind of mother I am person. If we think we can separate our different identities, we're kidding ourselves.

I've spent time with you, Sher, and I'm pretty sure you're a terrific mother.

So am I. Except for those times when, you know, I'm not...

Motherboard said...

I have to ditto what DeNae said.

You are a fantastic mother.

After reading that book, I see that there are a lot ways that I need to improve... not only as a mother, but as a person.

This was a great post!

Tink said...

Do you hear that sound? It's me applauding. I think you said it beautifully and perfectly! Have a wonderful Mother's Day WEEK.

wonder woman said...

Love your title.

I like your style of parenting. I'm pretty similar. Not a hoverer. I'm erfectly content to let my children amuse themselves for long periods of time. I'm always within earshot.

But maybe I need to be more involved in their play.

Are we ever gonna get this figured out?!

Terresa said...

Developing my own parenting style and attitudes was like learning how to dance. I knew some stuff automatically, but other stuff I really had to struggle until I got my footing down. I still stumble and fall a lot (like today -- it's all in my blog), but pick myself up and keep going. --sigh--

Sounds like your kids are lucky and blessed to call you mom.

Natalie said...

I have to speak on Sunday about Mothers, can I just copy this post and read it and pass it off as my own? I think you and I have the same mothering style and I think that in 20 years we will be glad that we raised our children this way.

Famous Amos said...

Why is motherhood so hard? We all doubt oursleves, but like you said, we are the only ones who know what's best for our kids. Figuring out what that is, that is the challenge!

Fun post! Happy Mother's Day (:

Mina said...

You seem like a fabulous mom. I just hope my kids don't need therapy as adults.

Dede said...

What an awesome post!! I love it:-)
BTW, you WON the mini microdermabrasion set in my giveaway! You can email me your info (skin type and address) and I'll get it right out to you! CONGRATS!!

wendy said...

Sher, you sound like a perfectly wonderful mother. There is no "right and wrong" but women loving their kids and doing the best they can for them. It is evident you love your children. And you developing your talents and taking time for yourself will strengthen them and show them that the "inner self" can not be ignored.