Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary challenged us moms to make lists of the things we feel we are doing well as mothers. I think this is such a wonderful thing to do, because honestly? I focus way too much on my perceived failures when it comes to motherhood. I had to think long and hard to come up with this list (feel free to add to it!) and while I am not perfect at any of these areas, I do feel like these are things I do a pretty good job at.
1. I am very good at allowing my children to be creative. I do have to catch myself to make sure that I am not saying no to a project only because it inconveniences me, or that I am not getting mad because they spewed art supplies all over the house without my permission even though they made me a lovely book or picture. I am thankful that they are creative and that they want to do these sorts of things.
2. I am good at letting them help me, or sit and watch me, while I am doing a project of my own. This can be sewing, scrapbooking, cooking (very rarely), cleaning or playing the piano. They usually have endless questions about what we are doing and I try very hard to put annoyances aside and truly teach them as I am working.
3. I foster independence in my children. I don't worry too much about the outcomes of things...if they want to do something by themselves, I will always let them (as long as it is safe!). If the outcome isn't perfect, and it's something that really doesn't matter, I try to let go of it. If it does matter, we work together to get it to an acceptable point, but I try to let them do as much by themselves as possible. Because of this independence, Bria is actually pretty good at doing her hair (although sometimes it still looks like she is an orphan child), they can all get themselves their own breakfast, Bria can cook a few things like scrambled eggs, and even Sophie, my most independent child of all, can do a ton of things all by herself.
4. I read to them daily. This is incredibly important to me. Bria is already showing the fruits of my work with this by reading at a middle school level right now. She loves to read anything she can get her hands on. Chloe loves to be read to, and has taught herself to recognize and sound out several words. She can also memorize a book after hearing it one time. Sophie doesn't quite have the patience to listen to a whole story, but she loves to get her books and look at them with me. We identify objects and animals and sounds and such.
5. I kiss my children often and say "I love you" many times a day. My reward for this, is that they return the favor.
6. While Joel is definitely "the fun parent," I can be pretty fun, too. I love to tickle and joke with my girls, and they love it, too.
7. I never speak down to my children. This includes speaking in oversimplified language (baby talk) or calling them demeaning names. In our house, stinker and booger are only terms of endearment, and they know it. I treat them like people who have much to offer, and not babies who know nothing. After all, my children have been my greatest teachers.
8. I enjoy the moment. If they make a huge mess, I always try to take a picture so that I can laugh about it later. I document these moments, and their little personality quirks, so that I will never forget them. After all, they will grow up one day and stop making huge messes and saying the darnedest things.
9. I love my girls and they have no doubt of this, even if I am not the perfect parent all the time. Or ever, actually.