It is funny how once you become a parent, your mind naturally becomes a constant search engine, that is automatically wired to look for and focus on what’s right and good for your child. We are always on a hunt for ways to talk to our children, for how to make them smarter, kinder, and more patient, for how to make our “mom guilt” a little less, all the time. Becoming a mom also makes you profoundly aware of other moms, the way they parent, the way they talk to their kids, the way they live their life. As a mother myself, I always make sure to give a warm smile to the mom struggling at a supermarket aisle, with a 2 years old throwing a tantrum, because two years old are supposed to throw tantrums. Or give a pat on the back to my airplane seat neighbor, whose child is cranky, crying, and having a hard time, because airplanes are not fun for children, period! Or tell that mother sweating, and turning all red, at the park trying to get her child out of that slide, and go home. Tell her that she is doing great and that one day she will look back and miss all these sweet days!
The other day I was by the pool with my family, and there was another mother with her little girl Belle -what a sweet name- and of course even though I was busy having a blast with my family, I couldn’t help but over hear the one way convo that was going on between the mom and her daughter: “Belle Stay away from the sun”, “ Belle, eat your banana”, “Belle get into the pool”, (if she was getting out), or “Belle get out of the pool” (if she was getting in), “Belle don’t throw the ball in the pool” -the beach ball that was designed to be in the water, “Belle don’t touch the squirrel” –the cute little squirrel that was passing by-….. and a whole lot of reasonable requests –from the mother’s point of view, yet not so practical for poor Belle. Saying those commands is a whole different story than hearing them, because as mothers we all say them –or similar ones- at least once a day, but listening to them felt almost like the mother didn’t want her daughter to have fun! The mother’s voice kept on taking over the serenity and tranquility of the pool, and Belle as any other 3 years old wasn’t complying with all those above requests.
As a mama, I totally knew and understood where that sweet mama was coming from, she was just looking after her sweet Belle, however for a change, I put myself in the toddler’s shoes, and all I could hear is: ORDERS! There was a total absence of connection between mother and daughter and sweet Belle wasn’t having any fun so of course she was being cranky, she was crying and screaming her lungs out, she was acting out and giving herself and her mama a hard time. Not that the toddler is controlling her mama by acting this way, it is just that she is frustrated and she has no clue how to face her big emotions.
So while sipping a cool drink, I did what I always do, I reached out to the tired and so pissed off mama – whom I found out later was pregnant, in her first trimester and was completely drained. I told her that she was doing a great job –because she totally was! All moms do- and I just started talking about the weather, about the beautiful pool , about where they were from…. Etc, you know small talk just to get her mind off Belle, and give the mama a chance to step aside and see things from a relaxed point of view, which usually always works.
Sometime being a child is really difficult, their curious minds are put into the test, there is so much novelty in their daily lives, yet and even though they are eager to touch, feel, learn, and investigate, we -grown-ups- don’t allow them to, because we are concerned about their safety, which makes total sense, so meeting somewhere in the middle does sound like a safe solution: Making their environment as safe and secure as we can, for them to explore and expand their little brains, and for us to say less and less ‘NO’s, how does it sound? Instead of forbidding them to go out, to touch something, to jump or to simply be a kid with a curious mind, let’s walk after them, as they explore; let’s scan the room/park/house, for potential danger and stand by it making a human shield, so they don’t get hurt. Let’s explore with them as they go, touch, jump…etc, making sure they are safe. Obviously no mom in the world has all that free time to be after her child –or children- every second of the day, but we try our best, right? Instead of saying NO 100 times a day, let’s limit that to 60? Think of how many tantrums you will avoid; think of how much time you’ll save.
At the end we all do things differently and we all love those little rascals more than anyone can imagine, and that’s all that matters!