10/6/08

If you don't mind me asking

If you're here from 5 Minutes for Parenting, Welcome! Please feel free to answer the two questions in this post in the comments. I'm looking for as much input as possible and I really would appreciate your time! Thank you.

I'm about to ask two questions I've asked before. (I know, so boring.) But I thought it might be possible that there are more people out there to ask than when I first posted these questions about six months ago. And my inquiring mind not only wants to know, but also needs to know. For a little project I'm doing with a friend. So answer away! (If you want to.)

If you happen to be a mom, please pour your heart out over these two nosey questions. (Unless you already answered them six months ago, of course.) Oh, and feel free to email me instead of leaving a comment, if you'd like. (fullcircle_doula@yahoo.com)

1. What is one thing you feel like you are doing really well as a mother? You know. Like if it was the only category, you would totally win Mother of the Year?

And now the dreaded opposite question,

2. What is one area in which you feel you are struggling to do well as a mom? Something that you feel like you keep trying to improve, but you think you might be totally failing?

I know. Question #2 is gross. But let's face it. We all have at least one problem area, right? Or is that just me?

Answering these two questions really does serve a purpose. I'll post something about that purpose soonly. I really appreciate your help! Thank you!

41 clicked right here to comment:

Sara@ Butterville said...

What I feel I do well. Being present,affectionate, giving praise instead of negative. Interested in their likes. Keeping them on a schedule. We eat dinner as a family every night. Loving them so that they FEEL it. What I struggle with keeping the house picked up and not cluttered. I'm terrible about putting stuff away so I'm not hard on the kids with that. Me don't make beds. Sometimes I just don't care if we eat healthy or I don't feel like cooking at all. I'm lousy at exercise and we watch a lot of TV. I struggle with the boredom that comes with being a stay-at-home Mom. Does that help? Now I feel like I should go make my bed.

Erin said...

I think I may have answered this last time you asked, but I can't remember. Anyway, it's probably good for me to remember these things.

What I do well: read to my kids. Teach them stuff. When they want to learn, I am happy to expound on their questions and explain the world around them.

What I desperately need help with/fail at: put them off when I am doing other things..."One more minute" turns into 10, and then I feel like a terrible mother because my son asked me to sit by him at lunch and now he's done and I'm still at the computer/reading a book/talking on the phone.

I hope you can help!!!

a Tonggu Momma said...

What I do well: accepting my daughter for exactly who she is... meeting her needs (and with special needs, that can be a tall order sometimes)... showing affection and just plain lovin' her... teaching her... being a role model in terms of being a Christian (in public and private)...

What I don't do well: teaching my daughter modesty (kidding, I'm kidding, y'all - it was an ACCIDENT, Heather)... being completely present with a child who craves attention and stimulation 110% of the time, especially since I am such an introvert - like Erin, I often put her off and ten minutes turns into 25 easily

Jillene said...

I think that what I am doing well is showing them that I love them and how much I love them. They will NEVER have to question my love for them. They will always know that they are loved.

What I struggle with is patience. I have NONE. It is hard for me to be patient with them. I also have a temper and I yell a lot. I feel HORRIBLE after I yell at my kids but for some reason I can't not do it. I can't beleive I just admitted that but it actually felt good.

Jenn said...

I tried to comment, but realized I would do better posting... so feel free to read it here:

http://waldenschoolroom.blogspot.com/2008/10/to-be-or-not-to-be-great-mother.html


Jenn W
One House Schoolroom
www.OneHouseSchoolroom.com

Debbie said...

Wow. You certainly know how to ask some zingers, don't you? I spend lots and lots of time truly being with my kids. I could win nice little tiara for that. I fail with patience. So, rip that puppy off my head and hand it to the next mom.

Kazzy said...

First, there is one thing I feel like I always need to work on and that is patience. I am quick to get frustrated and often I don't hide it well. But I am really good at keeping the family on track with goals that are both spiritual and temporal. Good questions!

*MARY* said...

I am pretty dang amazing at playing and laughing and having fun.
But when it comes time to teach them and help expand their brain gunk I'm stumped. I have no cute, fun and creative ideas on how to teach them useful lessons.
Building forts and playing hide and seek won't get them very far in life.

Heidi Ashworth said...

This is going to sound totally weird but I feel like the thing I am doing right is how much time I spend with my kids and the thing I am doing wrong--how much time I spend with my kids--it's never enough. I try to make sure they have all that they need and I feel like I do that better than maybe some other moms around me (partly because I just have to what with all the special needs, etc.) but at the end of the day, again, I feel like I totally failed. There is no rhyme or reason to mommy-guilt.

RosyRose said...

I think I do well at asking lots of questions to enter into their world. Trying to affirm them often for their gifts and what I see them doing well. I Think I tend to be to protective of them. Hard balance sometimes for me. I want to wee-zel into my 7th graders head and just try to figure it all out! she's not really going for that!

Melanie J said...

1. My boys absolutely know that I love them and they are happy children.

2. I suck beyond sucking at keeping my house neat. Really suck.

Amy said...

1. I am an amazingly laid-back mom who rarely (if ever) gets worked up or over reacts to anything having to do with my child. Seriously, I think I'm greatest mother in the universe with that.

2. I rarely, if ever, play with my child one on one. 95% of the time, "Mom, can you pway wit me?" is met with an excuse/reason why I can't. That is sucky and disgraceful. Ugh.

Kimberly said...

#1 I rock at answering tough questions in a way my daughter can understand.

#2 I don't spend enough time with my kids. I have my own pursuits and I often get my priorities out of whack.

Abra said...

I'm really good at encouraging and supporting my kids. I have a rule in our house; "There is no such word as can't." AS soon as you tell yourself you can't do something, you won't be able to because you've already decided that you're unable.
Want to be a doctor "OKAY!"
What? You want to sing and dance on stage? "SURE!"

What I'm not very good at:
I am not a patient person. When I have to tell Piper things more than five times, I get irritated. At the end of the day, when Kai has had one fit more than I can stand, I freak out. When Deklan, who is usually so mild, lashes out with a tiny bit of defiance, I get annoyed.
Maybe for Christmas, Santa will give me a store like on TV where I can buy some...
Or maybe I could just suck it up and take big breaths...

Lisa said...

My kids love music because of my influence. We love to sing and dance together. We also read books together.

I am not good at giving undivided attention. I always feel like I should be doing more than one thing at a time. I also do the "just a minute" thing too often.

Me said...

Here goes...

I had to go to the experts (my kids). They said:

You're good at everything.

Okay... that's not true. I was kidding. What they seriously said was that the thing I'm worst about is breaking promises. They don't like it when I tell them we're going to do something in 10 minutes and an hour later I still haven't followed through. Apparently, I need to unglue my eyes from the computer / book / magazine more often & really be PRESENT and quit procrastinating.

They were also sweet and said that what I did best was "take care of them". I had to push a little harder for a more specific definition of "take care of". They listed off making them special / traditional foods (we have a lot of little traditions to celebrate the otherwise boring day to day stuff- like pumpkin cookies for October 1st and popcorn during family movie night on Tuesdays.) I volunteer in all of their classes and do Cub Scouts. Russell said he didn't like that I made him get in trouble sometimes but admitted that he likes that my rules help keep him safe.

I always feel bad because no matter what there are never enough hours in the day (or I don't use them effeciently enough) so our house is often messy and homework assignments occassionally get lost. I feel like I'm always neglecting something / someone. I like that I'm creative about ways to have semi-educational fun together though and it's easy for me to answer tough questions & keep my cool under pressure.

Even though I'm an imperfect mother of imperfect kids, I feel really proud of how my kids are turning out so far.

Lara said...

I've been thinking about this all day since I read your post this morning. Still not sure if I do anything well, but I gotta pat myself on the back somehow.

Anyway...what I think I do well is allowing my children to be themselves. If that means that they do their own hair in Kindergarten, okay. I'll pick my battles. I try to say Yes, especially if my reason for wanting to say no is only because it will inconvenience me. i try to be there for them. If they have a question or want to learn something, I try to drop everything and give an answer.

The thing I don't do well? Lots. But the one I really want to work on the most is my impatience and tendency to raise my voice (Clean your room!) when I would accomplish a lot more if I would just stay calm and patient. :)

Not the Norm said...

If I could win mother of the year I'm sure it would be for focusing on taking her places, keeping her in all types of activities and never having an empty weekend. I love to take her to parties, museums, movies, shopping. Lot of mommy daughter time.

On the other hand, I have little patience for misbehavior. I often feel like I yell to quickly and feel like I hurt her feelings often with my harsh tone. I have spanked her a few times and don't know why I let it get that far.

She claims that I am the best mom in the world but I just hope she remembers all the many many good days and that they make the bad days fuzzy.

Rachel said...

Well, I have a toddler and a baby so at this stage in the motherhood experience I feel I do a really good job keeping a watchful eye on my kids (as far as safety issues go and trying to do everything by the book with naps, nutrition, providing a stable environment and sense of consistency with schedule, etc). I also try to spend quality time with each child and am big on affection, praise, kisses and hugs.
On the down side...I have had to have the t.v. on more than I thought I would because of breastfeeding and during times when the baby is just too fussy to handle both children at once. My toddler will sit and watch a whole program without moving so when things get overwhelming I am quick to rely on Elmo or Dora.
I also grew up in a house full of yellers and, sadly, I tend to raise my voice more than I should. Oh-and I get stressed really easily.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Heather, I am working on figuring out the justjohnna comment thing. No doubt it is something I did wrong in an attempt to do something right. Story of my life . . .

Johnna said...

I'm really good at not losing my temper. I don't yell. I don't get irritated. I'm either really patient, or I just don't mind. My kids know I really like them, really like spending time with them. And I do.

I'm really bad at getting us to where we need to be on time, with all appropriate supplies, and dressed like middle-class people. I forget appointments. I make meals and school arrivals happen, but with great struggling effort, and often then uncombed, or with me running back home to get the forgotten lunch. At least once a month I completely forget some doctor appointment, some playdate, some important errand.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

Something I'm doing well---hmmm, hard one--- I provide a stable, peaceful home for my kids in the sense that I keep order in the house and I'm not a drama-queen yeller of a mother. My daughter once told me that she loves coming home because it's always peaceful in our house, not chaotic and/or drama prone like her friends'. It's her refuge from the big, bad world. I'm kinda proud of that.

I'm very bad at being my kids' friend. I even tell them I'm your Mom not your best friend. Sometimes when they make mistakes they just need someone to understand instead of lecture and ask "what lesson have you learned?" I often tell them that my job is to teach them how to navigate life,not to tell them what they want to hear. But sometimes a Mom who is a sympathetic friend is all they need, and I'm bad at that. trying to be better but presently bad.

Peanut said...

I had the hardest time with #1. I guess I'm a little too hard on myself. I wouldn't win mommy of the year for this, but I'd say I'm doing a pretty good job at being in tune with my kids. When a new behaviour arises, or a sleep issue, or any other kind of change, I can usually figure out the cause of it pretty quick. It seems to be pretty important for being able to guide and discipline my kids...
And for number 2: I have the hardest time being present with my kids. Even when I'm playing with them, I find my mind drifting off to what I need to do next, or worries I have. I really wish I could just BE with them.
Good questions. I'm eager to hear what they are for!

LilySea said...

1. I don't think I'd win Mother of the Year in any category, but my strengths are helping my kids grow emotionally--helping them understand and express their feelings in productive ways for them and for family/community health. I feed my kids really well and help them learn healthy eating habits without, I think, being overly uptight or controlling about it. My children have good manners for their age and I teach them to respect others.

2. My most difficult challenge is a short temper which is worse, the less sleep I get and the more physical pain I am in, and both of those are difficult to manage with small children in tow. I sometimes think that all the work I do to help my kids have stable emotional lives is over and against the work I do to destabalize them when I lose my temper. I I also try to cut myself slack about this and think about how much this issue has improved for me over years of working hard on it.

Muthering Heights said...

1) I think I'm doing well with keeping my girls on a schedule. They can be flexible (and so can I), but they are learning that there is an appropriate time for various activities, and that they are part of a family unit, and that we work together, not pander to their every desire.

2) My babes are still young, but I'm working very hard at teaching them about God EVERY DAY. I'm working to be a living lesson to them, in addition to actual structured teachings. Sometimes I worry that I'm laying a strong foundation!

Domestic Spaz said...

I completely win at honesty with my kids. I try never ever ever to lie to them about anything. That's proven to be very difficult with kids. Even make believe things that most parents play along with, we make sure the kids understand that it is make believe and that it is fun to play along and that's okay, but we want them to always know the truth. I see so many parents just giving the easy answer to children about things even when it's not the most truthful answer. Sometimes it takes a little time to explain it, but I never lie to my kids.

I'm not doing so well with keeping them on a good schedule. I can't seem to get myself together and the kids suffer for it. I'm really struggling with organization and timing.

...sensible of shoe said...

It's too soon to know.

Mommy Madness said...

I think one of the things I've tried to do the best for my children is to instill the love of learning and reading. They know that I love them but at times I am not very patient with them. I expect high standards in ALL they do. That is just one of my downfalls as a mother.

Becky said...

Let's see... I think I answered these before, too, but here's the updated version.

I'm good at explaining things. I like my kids to know all the whys and hows.

I'm not great at rejuvenating. If I'm frustrated with the kids, I feel like I should be trying harder, which leads to more frustration. It's a vicious cycle. I need to understand my limits, and when I hit them, I need to give myself a time out.

Carla said...

I am a good listener and very affectionate and love to make my children laugh.

I yell more than I want to admit.

Iota said...

I have loved reading these comments. For a start, it makes me realise that I'm not the only mom who yells, who finds it hard to be present to her kids, who sucks at keeping her house neat and tidy, who says "I'll be there in one minutes" and then it's 10, who feels mommy guilt, whose kids watch too much tv etc etc. Also it makes me realise how different we all are. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and that is just how it is. I'm not the same as that mommy down the road, or that one outside the school gate, or my sister-in-law, I'm just me.

As for my own answers, on #1, I'm good at being patient (mostly), and I really love answering those questions that lots of moms hate "why? why? why?" the whole time from a curious preschooler. It doesn't drive me crazy at all - I love those conversations. On #2, I'm really with those moms who say "I'll be with you in a minute" and then it's 10 (or 15 or 20). And I find it hard to be consistently on the case with an issue - reward charts on the refrigerator door are really not my thing - I just can't be bothered enough to keep track of the details like that.

Lisa~Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I have a few things I'm prett proud of, for the first question. I'm pretty proud of my patience. I've worked really hard on it, having lived in a high stress environment in NY to come to the south and learn to not be so uptight anymore, and so much more patient. A lot of people compliment me on it. I often get told by my husband how he wished he were as patient as me, and knew as much as I did about parenting to not 'blow up' as he does sometimes. Because I'm patient, I'm able to multitask things for the kids - do homework, cook, while doing dishes and laundry simultaneously kind of thing. Might not be any special talent, but I work really hard for my kids. I'm also really good at knowing my kids. I know when they're telling the truth or faking it. I know what they want before they ask. I can almost read their mind (sometimes, not all the time lol). But I just know them SO well.

With that said, I suck at time. I need more hours in the day or to be able to multitask more time into the day or something. I have six kids and just need more time to be able spend good quality time with them AND do housework AND other things with them, AND blog/write, AND run errands AND practices, etc. Even with my husband sometimes we're strung out, especially with an almost 2 week old, we're struggling, hard. And i know, he's only almost 2 weeks old. And I know in the beginning is hard. But I really want the find enough time to do it all, to go to bed at night feeling like I did everything I wanted to do, and not have to put it off 'til tomorrow' in hopes I'll suddenly have time then to do it.

As I am said...

Wow .... those are questions that I don't want to hear the answers to. But in hearing what I think about my parenting maybe it will help me try to improve myself.

1. I think that I provide my children with a safe and loving home. With truth and guidance. Support and encouragement.

2. I feel that I sometimes don't pick my battles as I know I should. The other day I got upset because we were running late and my son has to go to the bathroom. Funny enough he does this quite often. This is frustrating to me and I know that he can't control something like that and for me to get upset about it seems trival now. So what if I was late for work. I feel that I yell too much and we don't ever have a nice family dinner at the table together.

prairiemama said...

I am good at playing with them, listening to them, reading to them and involving them in everyday activities (cooking, cleaning, etc.).
I am not so great at getting off the computer, stopping reading or knitting or sewing though. This is my great downfall. I need to set my time limits and stick to it, so I can do MORE of the above.

latisha said...

great questions.
1. engaging her and entertaining her. we have so much fun all the time.
2. letting her dad be her dad. i have a hard time letting go to trust he can do as good as me, though he does every day. im not sure this exactly fits into the category but i think part of being a good mom is letting other people parent her too, especially her dad. i totally fail at this.

Stacey said...

Good questions, though my answers might not be so good :(

What I think I do well: I provide a safe environment for my kids. Babywearing, cloth diapers, no nasty chemicals, good food to eat, etc.

What I KNOW I fail at: I'm another member of the 'no patience club'. And I tend to let my kids play on their own most of the time instead of using those teachable moments.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

First, let me say this: Bloglines was not picking you up for the last few days, a fact I just discovered in shock and horror. HORROR, I tell you. So I apologize for my less-than-timely response.

But since you asked, here you go.

What I do well? I'm an energetic, happy, laid-back Mom. I don't lose my temper. I'm always looking for new ways to have fun with my kids. I generally have a good attitude about life, and I try to instill that value in them.

What I do poorly? I have a hard time just being present. I'm always multi-tasking, if not in real life, at least in my head. I'm also very guilty of putting my kids off (Just one more minute honey) when I'm working on something. I feel horrible when I realize my child has been patiently waiting at my elbow for an hour for me to finish my project.

Carolyn Duede said...

I feel like I have the opposite problem from a lot of people commenting. I feel like a great mom because I have found an amazing balance in my life. I know how to keep my house (minus the bathrooms) clean, my family fed, my son happy, and myself physically and spiritually refreshed. I am really good at making every moment count. I am efficient with housework and I know how to luxuriate in playtime. Everything in my life has a place and once they are prioritized correctly, there is room for all of them.

My greatest weakness as a mother is never thinking that I (or any other mother) is enough. There are, of course, things I struggle with. But they are far outweighed by the good things. And I don't need to dwell on them, because that's my weakness. Being overwhelmed, guilty, and self-deprecating are not states of being but states of mind. Choosing not to indulge myself in those paradigms, that's what I'm working on.

Sharon said...

I am so grateful you posted this. And equally grateful for everyone's participation.

What I do well as a mother?
I put my family first time and again. I go months without a hair trim, or clothes that are in fashion. I put them first. I can easily choose a new pair of shoes for my ds than myself. Or even his stickers to my underwear.
I read to them and do arts and crafts. I TRY to build their confidence well.

What I stink at is losing my temper easily, or being impatient. I raise my voice way more than I prefer. We also watch too much tv, and I find I don't always enjoy playing with my kids. I lose interest in Hotwheels and actually admit that to my 4yo. :( And of course, my two boys see way too much of momma on the computer. (but we can relax, since they're asleep now:)

Courtney said...

I could have written Jillene's comment verbatim. The positive, but especially the negative.

k4tog said...

Great Question!
I could have left many of the posts above.
A little history:
I was a great mother to my son after he was born. Attentive, on board, played with him, answered questions, very patient, etc.
15 months later I got pregnant and miscarried. I was blown away I didn't even consider that as a possibility. Don't know why.
I became depressed, over the next 4years I continued downward until I was so far at the bottom that I'm amazed I made it out. Only 7 months after I had my miscarriage though I got preganat again. My daughter is a little less than 3 years younger than my son. Obviously, with serious depression, I was no super Mom to either one of them. My husband was amazing! Without his support I would no longer be here and that's really scary. If I had been in his shoes I probably would have taken the kids and left.
Even through all of that I still did some really great and amazing things with my kids. I can see that more clearly now than I could then.
For the last 2 going on 3 years I have been 300% better than I was, but I still have my great days and my not so great days.
Some of my struggles have changed as my children have gotten older. For me, from the time a baby can crawl until 3 years old is really hard for me! My youngest is almost seven, that helps!
I am great at teaching my kids about things. Of course I'd rather turn something into a lesson than just play and be silly.
I try to teach my kids to go beyond tolerance to celebration of differences in others. (And yet I still hold grudges about things I really should let go.)
My husband and I are really on the same page as far as discipline. We are pretty strict and have really high expectations. But our kids will never question if we love them or not.
Sometimes I get really frustrated and yell, other days my patience are amazing.
My kids are always in car seats, it's a really big thing for me. My son is 9 and still in a booster and will be until he is 4'9" tall. OK since he's turned 9 we are a bit less strict about it, but we're still pretty strict about it.
Here's a BIG one. I was a stay at home Mom for 8 years. For 4 of those years my daughter went to daycare 3 days a week. Both of my kids still go 3 days a week in the summer.
I get my nails done every two weeks. ( I may not shower every day though.)
I now have a really part time job that probably costs me more to go to that I get paid. But it make me incredibly happy.
I have read a story to my son almost every night since I was 5 1/2 weeks pregant with him. My daughter got her stories while we read to our son until she was born then they both have gotten stories seperately. At bed time we each take a kid and read to them in their beds, we snuggle with them afterward and often fall asleep with them. Doesn't it ever get in the way? Yep!
OK ladies after all this rambling, I'm sure there are some things that you think are great and others where you may think I am nuts. But good comes with bad, mistakes happen and overall I'm doing OK. I am very far from perfect. You know what we are all good parents in our own ways. We're always going to feel guilty about something; because I work, becasue I don't work, because I fed my kids a not so healthy dinner, becasue I don't let them have enough treats, because because because. I think each one of you who has shared is brave, and just becasue you can say I do this well and I don't do this so well, you're kid/kids are lucky!

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