Moms, you have permanently set up shop in your children’s heads. Make sure it will pass a mental health inspection.
Mother’s Day is approaching and we all look for ways to celebrate the wonderful memories and relationships we hold with all of the motherly figures in our lives. It’s one of, if not, the busiest time of year for florists, candy stores, and greeting card makers. Why is it that Mother’s Day causes us to search for the perfect gift of appreciation, or at least run to the flower store minutes before closing? It’s because the influence of our mothers lasts forever. We think of our mothers every day, whether we actually speak to them, look back on a fond memory or, let’s face it, talk about them in therapy.
Like any daughter, my relationship with my mom has had highs and lows. While the details may be different in your relationship, the experience is the same. When you’re little you love dressing up in your workout outfit, complete with leg warmers, and going to the step aerobics class your mom teaches. Oh, was that just me? When you’re a teenager you think your mom is the worst for many immature and shallow reasons. When you’re older, married, figuring out life, she’s a source of wisdom and support.
As life goes on you realize just how much of your daily life is influenced by the things your mom said, did and taught. There are four major areas of influence you have over your children. These are the things that follow your children and help shape who they will become. Moms, you have permanently set up shop in your children’s heads. Make sure it will pass a mental health inspection.
How you treat other people
This does not just include the people that are close to you. This means everyone. The way your child sees you interact with a total stranger will teach them what is acceptable. If they see you smile at people on the street, they will do the same. If they see you be rude to a sales clerk who is trying the best they can, they will see that sales clerk as beneath them. If they watch you give a dollar to someone in need, it will foster compassion. Your little one is always watching.
How you allow others to treat you
See yourself as valuable and don’t allow anyone to take that from you. What a valuable lesson for a teenager! If you let people walk all over you, your kids could feel that’s OK. Even worse, they could start to do it to you too. How we see ourselves is often the way others see us. How wonderful would it be if your children learned from you that they are special, talented and influential?
It’s heartbreaking to see an 8 year old concerned about her tummy being too big. It’s devastating to see a 5 year old step on the scale because that’s what determines if mom feels good about herself. Don’t talk about losing weight or being skinny. Go on hikes with your family. Go on a bike ride. Have fresh fruit available at all times. Just live a healthy life. There is no need to talk about it. Not only will you feel happier and healthier, you’ll have more patience and quality time with your children.
Never stop growing
It’s a wonderful feeling to learn. As you learn more about the world, new people or a new hobby, the more you learn about yourself. Instill in your children that there is always something to be passionate about. There is always room to gain more knowledge. Imagine if we lived in a world where everyone made it a point to never stop improving. The positivity would be outstanding. And the more your children learn, the bigger positive impact they can make on the world.
As you take time to celebrate motherhood, think about the mother you had, the mother you are and the mother you want to be. Remember the influence you have and make it a point to be the voice for good.
Janeen Diamond began her career with KUTV News, and hosts productions through her company, "Your TV Spot." She has authored, "Save Your Marriage in 30." Janeen is co-creator of "Teen Impact TV." She writes for HopeAfterDivorce.org and FamilyShare.com