I had three boys in four years, and any mom of many boys can tell you that they are challenging. Some days, I feel like I am barely retaining a shred of sanity, and yet I know that I have been blessed and that I have advantages that many mothers don’t.
I was nearly thirty when I had my first son, so I like to think I brought a level of personal maturity to parenthood. My parents have had a harmonious marriage, and were good parental role models to me. I received a lot of emotional support growing up. I am married to a reasonable man who believes in sharing the burdens of parenting and housekeeping with me. We have all the essentials for living: food, a home, health insurance.
Even with all these advantages, it is easy to feel like I am making huge mistakes in raising my kids. Being a parent of many small children is like being in the trenches of a war. You’re in survival mode. Everything is constantly being tested. Your real personality in all its glory and horror comes out for everyone to see.
But feelings aren’t reality. Feelings are subjective. Even if I feel like a failure, the truth is, I am doing just fine.
What do I do to try to raise emotionally healthy children? Here are a few ways:
1. Make sure the basics are covered: food, sleep, baths, hugs.
2. Give the child positive feedback in the form of words, physical touch (hugs), quality time.
3. Refrain from giving my kids everything they ask for.
4. Demonstrate a loving relationship with my husband.
5. Encourage kids in the areas they express interest.
6. Apologize when I make a mistake.
7. Teach children appropriate ways to express feelings.
8. Give them a safe environment to make mistakes.
I am not a perfect parent, but part of parenthood is teaching children about humanity. We have to teach them that everyone makes mistakes, everyone can have a grouchy day, and how to deal with the times when we don’t measure up. Children don’t need a perfect mother. They need a mother who tries her best, messes up, and tries again.
Children’s health is at the top of every mother’s mind. What’s your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.