I don’t usually see myself as a parenting expert. I am one of those people who, for whatever reason, will do nine things right and one thing wrong, and I’ll stew over that one wrong thing for-EV-er. It drives my poor husband right up the wall. He sure wishes I’d give myself more credit and not be so damn hard on myself all the time.
So today for Just the Tip Tuesday, I want to tell you about three parenting things that I’ve done right lately. Maybe it will strike a chord. I hope so.
For starters, I recently taught my sweet daughter Mini-Me how to disassemble the bathroom faucets and scrub the hell out of them.
That may sound like child abuse, but I assure you, she loved it. See?
Our bathroom faucet knobs had been grossing me out for a while…they were all moldy on the inside and I couldn’t figure out how to take them off and clean them. So on Saturday when the whole family was working on our chores, I took Mini-Me into the bathroom with me to see if we could figure it out together.
And we did.
The key was, I let HER do the fun part with the screwdriver. She’s only nine and that girl already knows “righty-tighty/lefty loosey,” how not to strip a screw, and how to make a faucet shine like new. I’m pretty proud of that.
I grew up with a single mother. I learned how to clean and fix stuff when I was a kid, partly because I was a curious child who enjoyed solving problems, but also because we couldn’t always afford new things or a repairperson every time something broke. As a result, I grew up to be a very handy and independent woman. I want that for my daughter too.
Which brings me to the next thing on my list of good parenting. My husband and I recently noticed Mini-Me complaining a lot (and no, not about her chores). We’d all be on a walk with the dog after dinner and I’d say, “Oh, see those lights on that house? I like those. They’re pretty.” (Meaning: someday when we get new lights, let’s get some like that.) And my daughter would immediately follow that with “I wish we had nice porch lights. Our porch lights are so ugly. Our whole porch needs a makeover!” Frankly, I couldn’t agree with her more, but I didn’t like how it sounded coming out of her mouth. So negative!
The next night after we said grace at the dinner table, we started having everyone say a few things for which they felt thankful. It was actually my husband’s idea, but we’ve been enforcing it as a family, so I’m counting that as good parenting on my part too.
I cannot even begin to tell you what a difference it is making in our attitudes. Instead of complaining all the time about what we don’t have, we are all finding so many blessings in our lives. And sharing it aloud at the table is like keeping a gratitude journal times five!
It’s gotten to the point where the kids just start sharing what they’re thankful for, sometimes even when we’re not at the dinner table. Makes me tear up a little just thinking about it. Bucket Head even took a pair of Spiderman underwear off yesterday and said, “These are too small. Let’s find a little poor child we can give them to.” (Don’t worry…I’ll wash them first.)
And speaking of sharing our blessings, look what Mini-Me did last week:
That’s right, girlfriend had 12 inches of hair cut and bagged to donate to children who need wigs. We have several friends who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments or Alopecia and my sweet Mini-Me wanted to help them somehow.
As her mother, I humbly take some of the credit for her generous act because I did the same thing with ten inches of my own hair this past April.
Our children may not hear a single word we say some days, but by golly, they sure are watching what we do.
(Thank God she didn’t see me smoke that bag of hair in my homemade potato bong later that night.)
You know I don’t smoke…hair.
I know I joke a lot about how my kids are raising themselves and that they are thriving in spite of me, but when I sit down and really take stock of the things I am doing right, I should probably give myself a little pat on the back now and then.
My children are amazing. They are generous, grateful, and capable, among other things. I must be doing something right at least some of the time.
How about you? What are you doing right that is rubbing off on your family? Please share your parenting gems so we can celebrate together.