Good Advice for Sons and for Moms

Good Advice for Sons and for Moms
One thing that I have learned about parenting is that, often, what is good advice for my son is good advice for me. When I say something to my son, I frequently find myself thinking that I really should heed my own words. Here are the most common things I tell my son that I find apply to me, too:

1. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I don’t know if it is just perfectionists, or if everyone falls victims to this one, but have you ever found yourself so self-critical that it takes your breath away? I have read before, and it makes perfect sense to me, that you should not treat yourself any differently than you would treat a good friend. If you wouldn’t say it to her, don’t say it to yourself.

2. We learn from our mistakes. They help to make us who we are. I firmly believe this one, but it is so hard for me to accept it for myself. Perhaps it’s the perfectionist rearing its ugly head again. Perhaps it is that the older one gets, the less acceptable mistakes seem. Either way, it is true! We can’t castigate ourselves for mistakes. Just like I would say to my son: learn from it and move on.

3. Closely related to number 2: Don’t dwell on the past. For kids, this often takes the form of lamenting what was or could have been to the point of not being able to see the good that is in the present or the future (in my house, that would take the form of bemoaning the loss of dessert or video games as a punishment). For the rest of us, the dwelling on the past can be much more serious. I give you two words: Facebook and exes. Of course, that example is extreme. In general, though, dwelling on the past means that you’re not living in the future. One we can still impact; the other we can’t. Just as I tell my son, focus on what you can change!

4. Pay attention! While I don’t think that anyone can be as maddening as the ADHD son whose focus can be so unpredictable as to be bewildering, I am still amazed at how much I miss because my attention is divided. I know that all moms are busy. I truly do. Some things are worth not multitasking for, though. If you consider it important, paying attention will yield great rewards.

The old expression is “Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” I think an equally apt one could be “Good advice for the kids is good advice for Mom!”

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