Mother’s Day is generally a time for flowers, chocolates and celebratory lunches to thank mums for all they do for their children. If you’re a busy mum juggling several priorities and schedules, the day can be a welcome relief from having to do all the thinking and planning.
Yet, within all that busy-ness of everyday life, it’s important not to forget the special connection mothers have with their children – whatever age they are. So, for Mother’s Day this year, we’re sharing six suggestions to help strengthen that maternal bond.
Accept that you’re good enough
Children don’t want or need a pristine-perfect mother who’s a success at work, a goddess in the kitchen, and who never has a hair out of place. They just want love and attention. Trying to do too many things, and beating yourself up because you may drop something once in a while, can lead to stress and exhaustion. As a mum you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be good enough.
Be fully present
Children need your attention no matter what age they are. Only half listening to them while you’re busy cooking, checking emails, or crossing things off your to-do list isn’t great for a child’s self-esteem. Put your phone down, file your lists away, and bring your attention fully to your child. Truly listen to what they have to say, and repeat back what you’ve heard and understood.
To say one thing and do another, or to randomly tell your children off when they’re not sure what they’ve done wrong can create confusion in children. Create boundaries and stick to them. Explain expectations of behaviour and the consequences that will come with certain behaviours. Kids need consistent boundaries to help them feel safe.
Admit when you get something wrong
Adults who come to therapy to talk about difficult childhood often say they wish their parents had said sorry when they did something wrong. As a parent you’re not always in the right, and admitting you’re wrong can be empowering to a child. It shows you’re human, and gives them a positive example to follow.
Your kids aren’t clones of you. They don’t need to think, dress and act like you. As they grow up they will want to assert some independence and start having opinions of their own. Allow them to express their individuality, and support them as they find their own identity – even though it may be hard to let go as you see your babies growing up. If your child is struggling to cope with change and finding their own identity, The Awareness Centre off leading child and adolescent therapy services which can help support them in their mental development.
Take time to play
Have fun with your children. Take time to run around, play board games, kick a ball – essentially, take an interest in what fires their imagination. There’s nothing that strengthens that bond more effectively than laughing together and creating shared memories.