Life as a modern mom is a non-stop balancing act. To persevere, it takes optimism, firmness, time-management, patience, love, thoughtfulness, and a shot of wine every once in a while. (Just kidding about the wine. Remember that The Omni Diet eliminates alcohol!) If you are a parent, then you feel my sentiment. Regardless, it is not always easy to remain optimistic through the daily stresses of life. For one, I am not perfect; nonetheless, I strive to balance being a working mom, wife, and friend while maintaining my own personal passions. As parents the goal is to raise a happy, healthy, respectful and responsible adult. Approaching parenting from a place of balance has always been my goal. My life runs best when I purposely make time to be present in my parenting. I am constantly negotiating the balance involved in prioritizing parenting, the office, family and friends. This is why my parenting approach with Chloe is based on the foundation that she is going to make mistakes; frankly we both will. As the parent, I need to remember that those mistakes are opportunities for me to hold Chloe accountable to the natural consciences of life, while offering her love and patience as she accepts responsibility for her actions.
My husband, Dr. Daniel Amen, wrote a fantastic book entitled, “New Skills for Frazzled Parents,” 14 years ago. 14 years later, this book is still relevant for parents seeking balance in their life. In all the things discussed, he laid out 6 critical tips on how to be a balanced parent. These 6 tips have helped improve my parenting skills. (My 11-year old tween, Chloe, would agree).
Here are the 6 tips on how to be a balanced parent:
Being involved in your kid(s) life is more pertinent than anything else (besides taking care of your health). As a busy woman, it is tough to attend every event that Chloe has. Therefore, I make adjustments in my schedule ahead of time to accommodate her schedule. This lets her know that I will always be there for her. Being involved in your children’s life is essential towards their growth and development.
Open-mindedness separates good parenting from bad. As children get older, some may go through a rebellious stage (especially during their teenage years). Or they feel that their parents will not understand their inner feelings or thoughts. As a parent, it is your job to be open and let them know they can express whatever is on their mind. As my husband stated in the book, “Talk to them in such a way that will help them talk to you when they need to.”
Be firm/set limits
Have you ever heard of the expression, “The inmates are running the asylum?” Well that will be the case if you are not firm with your children. My husband mentions that kids need appropriate supervision and limits until they achieve their own moral values. I could not agree with him more. (I am sure he loves reading that!) You do not have to be as hard as a drill sergeant to your child. Simply, let them know who the parent is whenever they challenge your authority.
Be together (family time)
Being a busy woman who travels periodically, it can be difficult to establish family time. That is why I make myself available to spend quality time with my daughter and husband together. Whether at the movies or at home, I make sure the 3 of us do something together on a weekly basis. So regardless if you are married, divorced or separated, it is best for your children when you and your spouse (or ex-spouse) are willing to spend time together as a family.
Expressing kindness to your children as they grow will go a long way; especially when they reach adulthood. They will cherish the time you gave them vegetable soup when they became ill. As my husband mentioned, raise your children in such a manner that they will want to come visit you when they leave home.
Last, but certainly not least, have fun! You are not going to get any Parent of the Year awards being a grouch. By being able to joke, play, and clown around with your kids, this lets them know that you are not so bad. I am a modern, busy mom, but I always make sure to have fun times with Chloe. Having fun is essential for your physical and emotional well-being.
Being a modern mom these days is challenging but it is important to keep things in perspective. At the end of the day, being a parent is a privilege, not a right. My desire for Chloe is that she grows up to be an effective communicator who values our relationship and matures into a dignified and respectful young woman. Take note of the above mentioned six tips and invest in your children’s life. I guarantee the return on investment will be well worth it.