We all have things about us that make us a good mom.  And then we have things about us that we wish were better.  And we all have a flaw or two that others are quick to point out but really  – if we are honest – we see too.

But, if most moms are like me, we are our harshest critic.  And, if you are like me, we want to improve at the things that we don’t do so well in order to be a better overall mother.  In reality, the good probably outweighs the bad and we never give ourselves enough credit, but we still strive to be better today than we were yesterday.

And sometimes, when we feel as though we are overwhelmed with the bad, we want to reevaluate, take stock and make changes to the things that we don’t like.

That is where I am now.

I am a good mom.  I am.  Some would even argue that I am a great mom at times.  I love my daughter’s more than my own heartbeat, hug them, kiss them, play with them more now than I ever have and try to get it ‘right’.  I have a very full plate, as do most moms, but I try to make my kids my priority and their needs important.

This weekend I voluntarily took a parenting class.  Just a short one, testing it out to see if I wanted to enroll in the 8 week course.  I expected to go in knowing it all.  Or at least most of it.  I mean, basically, parenting is taking care of your kids, teaching them manners and making sure they have all that they need to strive every day to be really good people, right?

But as the class started I noticed something.  Something very interesting.  This class was not about ME and how I parent.  It was about kids and how they are best parented.  What does that mean?  It means that we were talked to from the perspective of a child.   Not from the viewpoint of how we think a child is reacting to us.

For instance.  Did you know that you are never supposed to take anything away from a child?

Yes, I almost got up and walked out right there, too.  How in the world do you punish a child for bad behavior if you can not take away their Barbie or XBox or playtime?  How in the world will they learn consequences?

But as the instructor went on to explain that all day long, kids are being told what to do – wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed, go to school; and then they get to school and it is do you math, go out to play, come back in, eat lunch, sit in your chair and on and on – how much do you think, “I am taking away your Splat Ball” is really going to affect them?  It is just something else you are telling them to do.

BUT, if they L O S E something that they have chosen ahead of time to lose if they break a rule, then the loss is all on them.  Does that make sense?  Did I explain that right?  So instead of you taking something away, they lose something that they agreed to ahead of time.

I have tried implementing this here and I can already see them thinking before they do something.  Just the change of language seems to have an effect.

Another thing I took away from the class is that kids answer questions sometimes based on your facial expression.  So if you have an angry look on your face when you are asking who spilled the milk, the kids have no right answer.  If they say they did it, they know they are in trouble because you are already mad.  If they blame it on their sibling, they know they are in trouble because they know you saw them spill the milk.  So, you are supposed to have a parental poker face on at all time!

The other thing that really hit home with me is that you can build self-esteem in your children just by playing with them.  Can you imagine how amazing it is to have the person who tells you what to do all day long every day suddenly become the one that you get to tell what to do?  So when they tell you they want you to be the princess at your birthday party and they go to the effort to make your party special for you, be that princess.  Follow every instruction   Make them feel like they are important enough for you to take the time out to be their playmate.

There was so much more that I took from this class that I am going to sign up for the 8 week course.  What I knew, I didn’t.  And what I thought I was doing right, I can do better.  Best of all, what  I am doing wrong can be fixed and improved.

And so it goes to show me that no matter what I think I know or do, or what other people think I do, there is always something else to learn.  The evolving job of parenting is never something anyone is an expert at, in my opinion.

So, I hope, at least for my sake and my kids sake, that I am always learning, always listening and always willing to let other ideas in.  In essence,  I pray that I am always a Mom Under Construction.

Find more Motherhood Posts at My Recent Writings