I do not own a “World’s Greatest Mom” t-shirt. Nor do I ever want to.
I strive to be inspirational and a guide along the path of life to my children, not to blow my own horn as World’s Greatest anything. Isn’t life about learning along the way? Making mistakes so we can improve? Laughing at ourselves and the little things that tickle our funny-bone? That would be near impossible if we put ourselves on the “World’s Greatest” pedestal. I don’t always want to be serious and disciplinarian or on the flip-side a jellyfish with no backbone. I strive to be somewhere in between. To laugh each day with my kids but still be able to pull out “the tone” when needed. You know the tone…the one that makes everyone stop what they are doing and listen up. Or maybe you have “the eye” down to a science. Both come in handy periodically.
My main objective as a parent is to assist my children to become productive and confident adults that love who they are while always being open to learn new things. Closed minds will not grow, but stagnate at a certain point. To be accepting of themselves and others for who they are in the moment. To take ownership of their health and be armed with the tools to do so; and not blinded by the ideology of marketers and big business. To always have a dream that propels them forward. These are the basic principles that I hope to be instilling in my children’s thoughts and hearts.
A few of the things I love doing with my children are:
- working together in the garden – although this meets resistance to the sound of “it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy, etc”
- baking and cooking – I love knowing that I am passing along necessary life skills
- playing games – both board games and video games
- spraying each other with the hose when the other person is least expecting it
- chatting about nothing in particular
- reading together
- cuddling up in front of the fireplace on a cold winter’s night
- laughing like we are unhinged
A couple of weeks ago I was out with my daughter at a grocery store and we noticed a family of three – a mom, dad, and a young child perhaps about 3 years old. We noticed them because of how both parents were responding to the little boy. He was innocently dancing and singing and just being generally happy. The mom was totally oblivious while the dad kept yelling at the little boy. My daughter pointed out how she thought that the dad yelling at the boy was unnecessary and that she felt sad for the boy who was so cute and just wanted to have fun in a place that was probably extremely boring to him. He wasn’t bothering anyone by being in the way or being loud. But here’s the kicker: the dad was wearing a “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt.
This is the situation that really got me pondering the t-shirt pomp. What do we consider great parenting? To me parenting is not just about housing children to adulthood in our home but about caring for another person so much that we want them to succeed in the world after leaving our loving, nurturing nest. To love our children with not just our hearts but our heads as well. Guidance and problem solving, to me, is a huge part of parenting rather than trying to replicate yourself. Having a parent that loves unconditionally with no-strings-attached becomes a safe zone for children. We all need a safe zone. Somewhere we can be free to say or think what we need to, just because.
I’m hoping this Mother’s Day I don’t receive a “World’s Greatest Mom” t-shirt. I don’t need another dust cloth.