Seven Steps to Bonding with Your Baby
Your little bundle of joy has finally arrived! You look at him, lovingly, as he snoozes in his little bassinette, oblivious to the world around him. You notice his sweet breathing patterns, the little baby noises he makes, his cute little cheeks, adorable little dimples, perfect little lips. Your heart swells with love.
But you can’t help but wonder….
I remember that very same feeling, when my husband and I brought our oldest home from the hospital. He was asleep, wrapped in a blanket on the living room floor. My husband was stretched out in front of him, face propped in his hands, just admiring his brand new son. He looks over at me with a goofy smile on his face and says “Now what?”
Now what indeed!
Parenting starts the same way nearly every adventure begins….by building a relationship.
I was at the Lake, walking back from the beach with my kids, when it happened.
Another Mom Judged Me.
How do I know?
Because I got the evil stink eye.
You know, the look that says “You are not fit to be a mother!”
Yep, that one.
You’ve gotten it too, I know you have. I can feel your head bobbing up and down as I write this.
We don’t know how it happens.
But somehow, our bouncy little boys or sweet little princesses grow up.
And grow away.
How do we go from being their whole wide world one minute, to barely being allowed in to it the next?
It’s a hard pill to swallow. But it is normal and natural; in fact, we want our kids to move away from us and create lives of their own. It is what they are supposed to do. (If you are still their whole wide world at age 17, then Houston, we have a problem…)
Still, we need to stay involved in their lives, not only for supervision and guidance, but also because we love our children, and want a (gulp!) adult relationship with them in a year or two.
So how do we step back in to their worlds, after being gone for so long?
Technology, particularly computers, cell phones and social media, has taken the “personal” out of inter-personal relationships.
It makes listening, particularly listening to your child, hard.
It’s hardly arguable that folks are more comfortable posting their thoughts on FaceBook or Twitter than they are in holding an actual conversation with another person, face to face. It is far easier to quick send a text, tweet or message than it is to carve out time for coffee and a personal visit. It can be argued that in today’s culture, people are losing the ability to be social.
As parents, we may have seen evidence of this in today’s teens. How many times do we hear “Teenagers today! They have no respect!”
In fact, you can take the phrase ‘teenagers today’ and end it with almost anything –
‘they have no boundaries!’ ‘
they don’t know what hard work is!’
‘they have no idea!’
Here is a letter I wrote, last summer, while potty-training the twins. Please remember, I live in a rural area, where the family bathrooms are few and far between. Who ever invented family bathrooms should be kissed!
A Letter to Public Restroom Owners
(the names have been changed, to protect the innocent….)
My Dearest Restaurant, Gas Station and Store Owners,
We hear it time and time again…..”Mommy, plaaaay with meeee……”
I can give you seven reasons to play with your child.
But it’s hard to remember those reasons while you are washing the dishes, doing the laundry, making supper or scrubbing toilets.
It’s hard to remember seven reasons to play with your child while you are helping another child with homework or preparing to leave the house.
And it is especially hard to remember seven reasons to play with your child when you first come home, after a long day of work.
There is always a million other things – grown-up things – that need to get done. The chore list never ends. In this crazy, busy lifestyle we all have, there is little precious time to pay the bills or change the oil on the car. So when we hear those four innocent little words, “Mommy play with me,” we cringe.
We’ve all done it – screamed at our child in a moment of frustration. Even if we weren’t yelling, we’ve said some damaging things, such as “Because I told you so, that’s why!”, and “Well, when you are the dad then you get to make the rules!”, or my personal favorite, “Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!”
These statements are more harmful than good. They do nothing to help a child work through whatever was the issue in the first place, but instead, they give an ultimatum: I am right, you are wrong, end of story. They also undermine any discipline you will provide down the road.
It is almost painfully obvious that the best style of parenting is authoritative parenting.
But what if we are a long way from being an authoritative parent? What if our parenting style mimics permissive parenting? What if we relate to authoritarian parenting, and bark orders at our children like a drill-sergeant, rather than a loving momma?
It is not easy to parent. It is self-sacrificing. It is time-consuming. It is repetitive. It is exhausting. Continue reading
It’s the first week of a new year – 2017. This is the time when we often find ourselves making goals or resolutions….we look for ways to make this year even better than the last. So how about improving your parenting style?
Your parenting style affects your relationship with your child.
To make good goals or resolutions in your parenting, you first have to know how you have parented in the past. What did you do well? What do you need to do better? And how can you get from where you are at to where you want to be, as a parent?
The best thing a person can do to be a better parent is to focus on personal development.
Lisa Firestone, Ph.D, explains in Psychology Today, “So much of the information out there about how to be a better parent focuses on techniques for modifying your child’s behavior. But it is missing the mark. Research has shown that the one thing a person can do to be a better parent is to focus on developing him or herself. This is where a person has to start in order to be a nurturing, attuned mother or father. When it comes to parenting, there are many reasons for us to look inward and understand ourselves as people if our goal is to become a better parent.”
If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging. – Diane Loomans
Developing a Strong Parent-Child Relationship
A mother hears her newborn baby cry, and responds immediately. She knows his cries, and knows this cry means he’s hungry. She changes his wet diaper and settles in to nurse him.
A father hears his four-year-old daughter crying in another room and finds her snuggling a stuffed animal her mother had given her. Mom is away on a business trip. Dad scoops his daughter up in his arms and strokes her head, while patiently listening to her concerns. He validates each of her feelings with words like “Oh I know, honey, I miss mommy too”, and “Mommy is so special, isn’t she?”
What do these two scenarios have in common? They help build the parent-child relationship.
Making Mommas dedicates 2017 to the Parent-Child Bond
For the last 18 years, sometimes to the dismay of my husband, my life has been all about my children. I have always put everything I had in to that parent-child relationship. Everything in my day-to-day has always revolved around them, even before I was a stay-at-home mom. Especially then.
It’s always tough, to balance work and family. Any mom can tell you that. Even stay-at-home moms have work they have to do, unless they have house cleaners, grounds keepers and cooks. To balance all of those household responsibilities with your children’s needs is not easy. Continue reading