Earlier this month we talked about how being a mom is hard. We also talked about how to cure the Mommy Burn-out, and how to take time for yourself. These are all important topics because we all want to be better moms. We know no one is perfect, but we keep thinking someone else is doing it better, and we want to be as good as them. Why? Because we want our children to have all the best opportunities. We feel this comes from being the best parent. Ahh, good ol’ comparisons.
Sometimes comparisons are a good thing, sometimes they aren’t so great, but they can help us become our best. I know I’m not supposed to compare my children, and I know that every child develops differently, but I want them to be on target developmentally, academically, and socially. I want this because I don’t want my children to suffer unnecessarily. I took the obligatory mom guilt trip and told myself it was my fault my 18-month-old isn’t speaking sonnets, or doing one-handed cartwheels. (Honestly, he only has a couple of words he uses occasionally, and according to the pediatrician’s office he should be running more and walking up and down stairs, and feeding himself with a spoon.) After the road trip down guilt lane, I decided to be more proactive about both my sons’ learning and development. So, I decided to set some goals to help me focus and help them get and stay on track.
Just a review about setting goals.
- Look at the big picture. Get the final goal set in your mind, and then set the smaller goals that will help you on the path.
This step is important because it’s easy to skip the simple goals without thinking about the consequences. When you have the big picture in mind you realize how important the small goals are.
- Set definable, specific goals with a deadline.
Don’t go for the obvious here. For example, if your “big picture goal” is to have your child on grade level reading, don’t set the smaller goal as reading with them. That is a good idea, but it’s not concrete enough. Instead, make the goal to have your child read to you for 5 minutes as soon as they get home from school, and 5 minutes after dinner. When you have specific plans for the completion of the goals, it is easier to accomplish. The second part is to set a deadline, and realize you are working toward that goal, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work perfectly from the beginning. Monday morning is always a go-getter day, you can be perfect on Monday. Tuesday is a little harder, and you might slip up, which makes it even harder to get back on Wednesday. Don’t do this. Your goal is to read for 5 minutes as soon as they get home, and 5 minutes after dinner, 3 nights a week for the first week, and to improve from there.
- Be realistic in setting goals for each individual child.
My 18-month-old isn’t going to be speaking complete sentences any time soon, and I’m okay with that. My oldest didn’t talk in sentences until he was just over 2. My goal for my 18-month-old is to learn a new word each week. At the end of the week, I’ll reevaluate how we did and determine if one word a week is realistic for him. It will only frustrate both of us if I try to push him too hard too fast and we’ll both want to give up.
Back in December, Vanessa and Rachael posted about helping your children set “S.M.A.R.T.” goals. There were some great goals printables included in that post. Go ahead and print off these goal checklists for yourself to help you improve as a mom.
- Have baby become more independent.
- Feeding himself with a spoon for breakfast without too much mess, at the end of the week.
- Drinking from a sippy cup for all meals, by the end of the month.
- Walking up and down stairs, with assistance, by the end of the month.
- Learning a new word by the end of the week.
Here’s how I’m working towards these goals. I guide my son’s hand while he’s holding the spoon, from the bowl to his mouth. I relax the guidance after the fourth or fifth bite, and let him try on his own for a couple of bites. I hand him a sippy cup at each meal and throughout the day. I limit his bottles for naptime only. Instead of carrying him up and down the stairs, or letting him slide on his belly, I hold his hand and ensure he is next to the railing so he can hold the railing while we practice stepping up and down the stairs. Every time I am having one-on-one time with him I say the new word, hold the object (or picture) and repeat the word. I ask him to point to the object and repeat for as long as I have his attention.
- Teach oldest proper method of handling emotions.
- Avoid yelling at him to accomplish his chores, 3 days a week, for the whole day.
- Forego sighing in exasperation when he asks for something, 3 times a day, by the end of the week.
- Talk to him about his emotions when he becomes upset, as it occurs, by the end of the week.
- Help him set an action plan when he feels that way again, as it occurs, by the end of the week.
- Recognize his triggers and remind him of the action plan, as it occurs, by the end of the week.
These goals are a little harder to define, and a little harder to set a time frame, but they are still important goals, and I set them because they are an area of improvement we need to work on. I need to model better behavior so he can understand acceptable reactions to stressors. I need to help him understand his emotions and that works best by talking to him right after he has calmed down from the outburst. I need to recognize what his triggers are and how I can prevent the outbursts from happening.
I could also set goals about being a better person, and a better parent. Obviously this list includes not yelling, spending quality time with my children, and the rest of my character flaws. I have set some of these goals and I need to be better about creating the action plan, because these goals are just as susceptible to the rules of goal setting as the others.
What are some goals you have set to become a better parent? How are you accomplishing those goals? Please share!
Today’s Mother’s May Highlight is: Jade.
Jade was nominated by her friend Vivian Cook. Here’s what Vivian said about her friend:
My beautiful friend Jade was due with her third baby boy at the end of May. After several follow ups with her doctor in late April, they discovered Jade’s blood was Rh negative and her baby was antibody c positive. She was forced to make the difficult decision to induce a month early to make sure no harm came to the baby. On May 7th, her beautiful, tiny, little Ronan was born. Weighing 4 lbs 14 oz, there was concern for his size, but he seemed overall healthy. Jade and her husband, Caleb, were able to take Ronan home.
Things changed the following day, though, when they went for Ronan’s first follow up. Due to his size, he had developed a severe case of jaundice and he was immediately admitted to the NICU and placed on IV fluids and heat lamp therapy. Jade and Caleb later found out his case was so extreme that he could have possibly been transferred to the children’s hospital for a full blood transfusion. Jade remained strong through the entire process. It was so hard to see her baby hooked up to all the monitors and IV, but we all knew it was for the best. Ronan was a fighter for sure! After almost a week, he had regained the levels he needed to go home!!
The entire family is together and so happy now, Ronan is doing great! He has 2 AWESOME big brothers helping out now and mommy and daddy are very happy