When I decided to start a blog over just a month ago, I never really expected that I’d be blogging about parenting. Although my niche is about motherhood, my mind was more inclined to talk about home décor, food ideas and other craft projects with my son Omer rather than parenting. This may be partly because of my lack of confidence in myself about this field. As a first-time parent, I am always unsure if what I’m doing is right, and couldn’t figure out a way to confirm whether that was right. These thoughts will then be followed with fear that I may cause a bad effect on my son in the future. With where things are, I don’t really know if I could call myself a “good” parent. I mean, I know that I’m daily trying to be the best parent/buddy for Omer, but I often feel that I still fall short of some unknown qualifications to consider myself good.
When I read this blog post, however, I was struck so positively that I received the needed strength and assurance to say to myself that I may just be alright—that I may just be doing fine. Read the full excerpt of the beautiful blog post I was talking about by clicking here. The article was about Marjorie Teh, a single mother of 3 teenagers trying to balance her life as a provider and nurturer for her kids. I admire her strength and faith, and I believe the lessons that she learned while raising her 3 kids are just the right things that I could remind myself during times of uncertainty about the things that I do.
Although I’m only parenting a five-year-old son at the moment, I could say that I am having the hardest but also the happiest time of my life. I agree 100% to all that Marjorie said in her blog, and just would like to add some of my thoughts and experiences and share with you the lessons I’ve learned so far about being a parent to Omer.
Lesson 1: I SET THE TONE AT HOME.
I learned this lesson merely by observation. It seems that my husband Yuli and Omer react as sponges to my daily mood—they absorb what I throw at them, and throw it back at me, sometimes, with even twice or thrice the intensity. I realized that big chunks of our time are spent doing activities at home, and so no matter how hard I try to present myself and look good to other people while outside the house, Omer is still ultimately being trained by how I behave at home. As a result, it becomes critical for me to always set a tone of love and understanding, of forgiveness and faith, and of good character within our own walls. I realized how strong my influence could be at home, and if I wanted to create a home that’s surrounded with laughter and i-love-yous, I certainly could.
Lesson 2: REALLY LOOK WHEN HE TELLS YOU TO LOOK.
As a five-year-old kid, Omer likes doing new things. And when he does, he would always call and ask me to look at him. It may be an invention with his Lego, a newfound jumping hobby from our couch to the floor, or simply just a new expression. The simple act of looking may be considered a great appreciation of these discoveries on his part, and he only asked me to look. What valid reason do I have to deprive him of that?
At some future time, I know that this would also mean really listen when he tells me to listen. Quoting Elder M. Russel Ballard:
“Helping children learn how to make decisions requires that parents give them a measure of autonomy, dependent on the age and maturity of the child and the situation at hand. Parents need to give children choices and should be prepared to appropriately adjust some rules, thus preparing children for real-world situations”.
Listening to what Omer has to say would instill that we value his opinions and decisions and give him the proper autonomy that Elder Ballard was talking about.
Lesson 3: “IN FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS, LOVE IS REALLY SPELLED T-I-M-E.”
For Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as “Mormons”) like me, this quote from President Uchtdorf maybe cliché, but it perfectly captures what I learned about the importance of creating daily moments of love in our home. As a mother with a 9-5 job and a 3 hour daily commute to and from the office, I always find it a challenge to find time to bond with Omer without thinking about chores and other things to do. In catching up, what I did was to live by this mantra:
Whenever I have a quick availability between chores, I sneak a 30-second power hug or a tickling game with Omer, and I see how quickly it brightens him. Whenever we go to sleep, I make sure to do my 2-minute touch therapy. I would find some 20-30 minutes per night to make sure that he has completely told me everything that went about his day, from their new class songs to which classmate got a sad face from Teacher Hannah that day. I’m sure these habits help me nurture an environment of openness and sweetness. When he grows to be gentle and sweet, I could proudly say that he got that from me! 😊
No matter how far you are on your parenting journey, what lessons have you learned so far? Leave me a comment below.