I had to wait until I was in a normal mood to write this section. Usually, I’m riled up about something I saw on the news – and okay, just reading about a Dad who dropped his 16 year old daughter off 13 miles from home and told her not to come home because of a bad calculus grade made me irate, but I’m calmer than usual about the parenting gaffes I see out there.
Parenting, to me, is the biggest blessing I could have ever asked for. It changed me to the very core of who I was and who I strive to be. Growing up, I always assumed I’d have kids some day – but that some day came sooner than I realized when I was training to go on the LPGA and discovered I was going to be a Mom.
It’s funny because I was 21 and all I could think of was how mad MY Mom was going to be and how I’d let HER down – I was 21, but still a child in my eyes. Still my Mom’s daughter. Luckily, both my Mom and Dad took the news and processed it and took care of me anyway. I know some God awful parents who slam the door on their kids when their life doesn’t go as planned.
Having Dylan at age 22 was life changing for me. I finally “got it.” I understood what LIFE was all about. You know how they joke about finding the meaning of life? Well kids are it, people. For me at least. I always used to hear my Dad say he loved me more than I loved him. I didn’t understand how that could be – but I know now and it confuses Scarlett when I say it and I tell her someday she’ll understand.
I also didn’t understand how, when I was hurt, my Dad would say he “wished he had it all on the end of his nose and I didn’t have any (pain).” I get it now. I pretend to take Scarlett’s pain and put it on the end of my nose if she scrapes her knee, for example – and she grabs it off my nose and takes it back because she doesn’t want me to be hurt. LOL!
I love my babies. After having Dylan, I wanted 1 million more. Still do. I got my baby Shawn and then Scarlett. Nolan says no more. Scarlett wants a baby sister and told me the other day, “Well have one anyway – you don’t need Daddy for that!” LOL! I smiled and said it wouldn’t be fair to make him a Daddy without his permission. (Whew! Avoided that talk for now).
So as for parenting advice…
Here’s the deal. I have three AMAZING kids. No, really. I know some people SAY that while everyone else rolls their eyes and thinks their kids are really little shits, but mine really ARE wonderful. Everyone has always commented to me about how well behaved and kind my kids are – and not the well behaved type that do it because if they don’t, they’ll get beat. I don’t hit my kids.
As a parent, the number one most important thing you can do to raise precious kids is SHOW them love. Forget about words or assumptions. You have to hold them in your lap, hug them tight, praise them all the time, comfort them, be fiercely protective of them, and show them they meant the WORLD to you.
My kids laugh about me being overly protective. But they also know why I’m overly protective and we’ve talked – I know they appreciate that it’s coming from a place of love. Instead of just telling my kids something, I back up my parenting with my own insight and mistakes. I also show them news clippings.
For instance, when it came to drinking or drugs, I talked to Dylan early on – before he was out on his own driving around. I told him how addiction runs in my family. My dad has alcohol induced dementia. My sister is a meth addict. I showed him the videos that showed people who used drugs before and after. I told him how I’d drink wine coolers at parties because I was too nervous to go sober and how much I regret all of those memories and lack of memories.
My precious son isn’t a drinker. Or a druggie. I always saw him come home and he’d laugh because I even automatically sniffed when he’d hug me. He said, “Mom you’re sniffing me again. LOL!” I was making sure he wasn’t smoking. I checked his pupils when talking to him and stayed up talking to him awhile. I snooped and told him early on that I’d snoop. I knew what I was looking for. My mom didn’t because she was a good girl.
Back to being overly protective. My kids have never thrown a fit if I didn’t let them do something. They smiled and said, “Okay, Mom.” If their friends were going to do something I felt wasn’t appropriate or was dangerous, I’d tell them. They might say, “My friends are going…” and my response was always, “Well your friends’ parents don’t love their kids as much as I love you.” They’d always laugh about that.
I look back on my childhood and my Mom was overly protective but with my parents divorced, I was able to get away with anything at my Dad’s. And I did. And I look back and I sometimes FEEL like maybe he didn’t love me as much since he WASN’T as protective of me. Yet I know that he did. He would have killed anyone who hurt me, but he’d give me the car keys and a box of wine coolers at age 15. Makes no sense.
Talk to your kids. I mean TALK to them like they’re your friend! They need to be comfortable with you. My kids always come to me about ANYthing. They know I can wear Mom hats when they need me or friend hats if they want to hang out. In our house, all my kids tuck ME in. We all pile in on my bed and laugh and talk and act silly until bedtime. Because it’s not separate – it’s all together. Then everyone gets a hug goodnight and goes their separate ways.
I never feel the need to be a strict mean parent. I can get a bit louder if they don’t do something I tell them to, like, “Scarlett, I said pick up your Barbies!” But I never stay mad or frighten them. It’s over in seconds and then I hold her in my lap and give her hugs.
Have Parent-Child Days Out. One thing I’ve done since forever is take each kid out with me one on one for a Mom-son/daughter day out. For instance, I might take Dylan to lunch at El Fenix, go shopping with him and buy him a new outfit, and then we’ll stop by and have an hour long pedicure (guys get those here – they massage your feet and legs for an hour and put your feet in hot wax). We talk all day. Scarlett and I might hit the mall for something and then do lunch and get her a manicure or pedicure. Shawn might like to go see a movie, then stop by Gamestop and buy him a game and go to lunch.
But each kid gets my undivided attention. And it’s the same in the house. I hold Scarlett and drop my keyboard when she says, “Hold me, Mommy!” I ignore my computer if Shawn sits down next to me to talk and I laugh at the stuff he shows me online that he found funny. I watched every episode of Breaking Bad with Dylan because he wanted me to see it so bad, and I’d rub his little feet (okay he’s 19 but they’ll always be little to me) while we watched it.
They are my LIFE. My reason for existing. My happiness. My heart.
I show them so much love and they feel that and that’s why THEY are good people in this world.
P.S. I asked Shawn and Scarlett and Dylan what they liked about me as a parent. Here are their answers. I asked for 3 things:
- We can talk to you.
- You respect our decisions.
- You’re not strict.
- You’re sweet and you cook our dinner.
- You always remind us to do whatever we need to do.
- You play with me when I’m lonely.
- You adjusted your strictness over time (more lenient).
- You do little things that show love like bring me coffee each morning.
- You spend time with us doing Mother-son days.