Wednesday, 25 October 2017

7 Habits of highly effective Mums

Having read the 7 habits of highly effective people, I think we should have the 7 habits of highly effective Mums too. Here are the 7 essence of an effective Mum I accumulated over months of thoughts.

1. Get sufficient sleep
Getting too little sleep makes us groggy and too much sleep makes us equally weak (getting up later isn't much of an option for most Mums anyway). I know, it's just tough to get that hours of sleep for some of us. The quiet hours that we can trade for while kids are asleep are just so precious. But sleeping is important to help clear away a day of junk so that we can function our Motherly role for a better tomorrow.

2. Don't Nag
Effective Mums know nagging has no impact on kids. Instead, a firm reminder gets their tasks all on track. Remind and give them a time to complete the task. Instead of "You never clear your plate again" try "You didn't clear your plate." Using the right tone and words help us avoid being a nag. It often helps when I say "finish your writing by 3 o'clock", and then check back at that time. I only need to remind once. It works better than repeatedly saying "Go and finish your writing" where it becomes a live example of words fallen on deaf ears and incidentally training them to ignore our words.

Try this too, hold them by their hand, look into their eyes and verbalise the task. It is effective 8 out of 10 times for me.

3. Understand that kids brains are different
If we manage our expectations reasonably, we reduce much frustrating moments. Most times we fail to communicate simply because our brains are wired differently, our priorities and interests are different. Fun, toys and TV may get on their 'NOW' list, while essential task completion is on our 'FOCUS' list, which is their 'LATER'. I know, it's tricky to handle. We find opportunities to balance this so that we don't look just like parents of taker, but giver at times too. We often expect maturity when their brains have yet to fully mature at their developmental stages.

Understanding that kids are not little adults grant us extra patience when communicating.

4. Let kids make mistakes and experience failure
In the millennial parenting of today, this is one easy to say, hard to practice phrase. Helicopter parenting is ubiquitous. We do almost anything for our child when most times, they are capable of handling the task themselves. Since Js' preschool days, I did every bag packing for them until it was their first kindergarten year where they took over that duty of packing their own bags. I did my part of showing them what and how to pack, and left them to do so from then on. From every incident of forgetting to bring towel, undergarment or new set of clothes, they learn a very important lesson. Which is responsibility! They are their bag owners, not me.

Some mistakes and failures may be irreversible or have dire consequences. We should then make use of simple and teachable moments to help them experience. Jazz is very much responsible for her school work now, she marks her own spelling, 听写 and test dates without much reminders. And once, she forgot to study for her 听写, which I could tell instantly from the grade that was unusually low. I didn't have to speak and she related she forgot to study for it. I'm comforted that she took responsibility over it. She was upset with her grade, but that became my opportunity to talk about handling 'failure.' It's moments like these that we see them grow. Mistakes and failures are safe when there is love. 

5. Consistent
Realised that the more consistent we are, the lesser kids test our rules and boundaries? I honestly have not perfected this skill of consistency. Simply because I often overestimate and give consequences that I didn't enforce. Just like when they misbehave after a warning, I tell them we won't go to the movies (I've already bought tickets), but didn't see through it. Forgoing the movie tickets is not doing any justice to my money! I should have given a consequence that I can enforce.

Consistency and routine is a good guide for kids to know what they should be expecting.

6. Take off pride and put on humility
There is often a fine line between pride and self confidence. Pride demands a voice, but self confidence is quiet. With humility, we become open to take on advice. Though what works in other families may not work for ours, being open and honest help us confront pride, search for ideas and solutions that may fit our missing puzzle. Other parenting blogs and books give me the inspiration and comfort to know that I am not going through the battle of sanity alone.

When we put on humility, we teach, and our kids learn. Having spoken to teachers of pre-schools and primary schools, I find it very much common when Mums often only see how their child was wronged in a situation much more than seeing him as wrong as the other child in a situation. The ability to guide and teach a child is then masked out by Mum's Pride!

Pride often puts us in comparison and draws distance from others. Choose wisely.

7. Embrace Imperfections
We make our everyday easier by embracing imperfections. It doesn't mean that we accept meritocracy or not give a 100% effort. We celebrate best effort! We knew we didn't begin with a perfect child and perfect Mum, only unique child and Mum who make mistakes along the way. My son often tips over his cup of milk. So do I, as an adult. Albeit lesser times than him. Social media photos are not picture perfect. Reality is not picture perfect. Shortfall of goals and milestones are keeping ourselves real! It's okay.

Motherhood is guilt free when we embrace imperfections.

Not that I have mastered all 7 points at the tip of my mind. I struggle some days too. There are certainly more points out there to mark it beyond 7. At least, these are essential enough to see us through day to day without pulling our hair out. Motherhood effectiveness is not multitasking like speaking to our child with eyes on our phone. It's not playing a board game with much distraction by our phone. It is simply coming to a balanced level understanding between our children and us!

What are your methods of parenting effectiveness?

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