The other day on Facebook I asked what you guys would like to hear about from me. We are in the middle of some pretty big life changes, new job, new house, etc… and I’ve lost some motivation to blog. But I really love the community that we have at Ma Nouvelle Mode. I love when people share encouraging words on Instagram or Facebook with me. It’s just so fun to connect with real women, walking through the same things in life as I am.
So I don’t want to stop blogging. I don’t want to say goodbye to this community. I just needed a little kick in the pants to get going again! You guys had some good suggestions, and I thought I’d start with a post on raising men.
Let me start by saying I am in no way an expert on the subject. I spend most of my morning praying that God will cover my mistakes and draw these little guys to Himself. But I do have a job to do as a parent, and here are some ways I try to do my best.
I have two sons. They are 6 and 9 years old. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
This is a HUGE one. Now a days I feel like kids aren’t made to take responsibility for their actions and choices. It’s everyone else’s fault. My kids do this just as much as the next person, but I work very hard to have them see where they were lacking and how they can own up to their choices. I have them acknowledge their mistake, tell me how they will do better next time and ask for forgiveness. It usually goes a little something like this:
I’m sorry for disobeying your rules.
Next time I will make better choices and remember what you said. (NOT “next time I will not break the rules.” They have to say what they will do next time to help them think through better choices.)
Will you please forgive me?
This is just one way I am trying to get them to own up to their mistakes, acknowledge what they did, think about what they could have done/what they will do next time, and ask for forgiveness from the one they wronged. Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s each other and sometimes it’s a friend or cousin. I know this is hard for them, this is hard for a lot of adults! But I am hoping that with practice and letting them know it’s okay to acknowledge our mistakes, they will grow up to be adults who aren’t afraid to own up to their actions and think of ways to be better.
You are living in a comfortable, warm home. You are eating good food and never go hungry. You are clothed and warm and have most everything you need. No, I am not going to pay you for taking out the trash. No, you don’t get a reward for folding your laundry. Chores are a part of life and the faster they get that into their little heads, the better off they will be!
Worry about yourself
Isn’t this a huge one? If you have kids you probably hear a lot of “but mom he did it first!” Okay, so-and-so might be a jerk. He might call you names or say mean things. But what can you do? You can’t control other people and sometimes people’s actions aren’t going to be very nice. What can you do? You can walk away. You don’t have to play with that person. You can find something else to do. If it’s really bad, you can tell an authority. But what you don’t want to do is get caught up in it.
On more than one occasion I have had to remind my 9-year-old to mind his business. He gets caught up in what’s going on and ends up in trouble as well. As much as I believe that he may not have started something or tired to be a part of it, he still didn’t keep to himself and ended up in the middle of something he didn’t need to be in.
Now, I do make exceptions when they would be sticking up for someone else. This has happened before and I like that they have come to the aide of someone who was being picked on. However, this is usually few and far between and they’d do well to worry about their actions not everyone else’s.
It’s not very hard. Yes sir. Yes ma’am. No thank you. Yes please. It doesn’t seem very hard, does it? And yet, somehow for little guys it can be. We are working very hard to help our boys learn how important it is to respect authorities. And if they get in trouble by another authority other than me or my husband, instead of feeling upset someone else corrected my kid, I actually like it. I remind my kids that there is authority everywhere, not just at home. If you can’t learn to listen to me, dad, coaches, teachers — how can you expect to listen to a boss someday and hold a job? Respect is very important and something my husband is HUGE on. If they disrespect mom, they have to deal with him, and that’s not fun.
Do it yourself
Mom can you tie my shoes? Mom, can you open this? Mom can you come here?
No I can’t help you with every. little. thing. you have to do. You can do it! And yes, it might take longer than 3 seconds to get it done (gasp!) but that’s okay. It’s okay to work through something hard and accomplish it yourself. It’s GOOD for you to try something that’s hard and maybe even fail a few times first. I am not here to make everything easy for you. I am here to guide you. What help will I be if I do everything for you? Are you hungry? Make a sandwich. Thirsty? You know where the cups are. You have practice in 15 minutes? I shouldn’t have to tell you to get ready for it. Forgot your school papers? No, I’m not running them into school.
There are exceptions, of course. I’m not cruel. But for the most part I want my boys to learn how to do things themselves. I want them to learn to cook, do laundry, fold clothes and generally fend for themselves. And I think their future wives will thank me some day!
I’m not your friend
One thing that is hard about being a momma of boys is that one day, I will be replaced. When my boys grow up and get married, I won’t be able to have the same relationship with them as I do now. Their wives will be the main women in their lives and that is the way it should be. It’s a tough thing to think about, but I have to. So in my parenting, I remember that I am not their friend. I don’t want to raise momma’s boys who can’t live without me. I want to raise well-adjusted, self-sufficient, capable men who eventually leave me.
So I have to choose to do the hard thing a lot of the time because I’m not your friend, I’m your mother and I’m not here to make life comfortable for you, I’m here to help you become a good person.
You are LOVED
Bottom line, above all – YOU ARE LOVED. And don’t you ever forget it. You don’t have to go anywhere else to find love. You are surrounded by people who think you’re amazing. People who want the best for you and believe in you. You have all the support you could ask for in these walls. And that will never change.
That’s all I’ve got! I would really love love love to hear your thoughts in the comments! What are some of your tips on raising boys/men? I will always take any tips I can get!