I’m a little late in blogging about Mother’s Day, I know, but sometimes you have to wait for inspiration. Mine came today upon reading a blog a man wrote about the 7 things his mother did for him that no other mother has done. It got me thinking about what my mother has done that I believe all mothers should do as well when their children are young. Here are my top 5 things in no particular order.
Read to me– My mother read to me at a very young age. She also had me read to her. Both instilled a love of reading in me as well as developed strong reading and writing skills. She took me to the library too which I’m sure is a rarity these days as everyone seems to gravitate towards electronic devices for reading. Even if you do prefer your tablet or phone, for old school sake, take your child to the library this summer. There is just something thrilling for a young child in being able to go pick out a variety of books to take home and enjoy only to return them and take home another stack to tackle.
Didn’t make me clean my plate – I’ve never understood the concept of making a child “clean their plate”. The old notion of “There are starving kids in Africa who would want to eat that…” just seemed like force-feeding a child to me, and I’m sure it didn’t help in growing our obesity crisis in this country. My mother never made me do this, nor did she make me eat things I didn’t like. Some may say that was wrong of her, that I should’ve been forced to eat green vegetables, but last time I checked I was perfectly healthy so it seems as though her willingness to put both Tastykakes and Doritos in my school lunch didn’t harm me. I’m not advocating letting a child have candy for breakfast or anything, but realize that a picky eater will likely remain a picky eater regardless of whether or not you force feed them things they don’t like.
Gave me an allowance – Sometimes I got my allowance even without doing chores. Financial literacy is such a crucial life skill that seems to be so lacking in this day and age. Even if schools were to take on the task of teaching the basics, most children learn general saving and spending habits at home. By giving a child an allowance, even $1 a week, it will begin the process of teaching about money and open the door to answering questions about it. Also, don’t be afraid to let your child know your financial situation. I’m not saying to tell them what you make, or if there’s a major crisis like you may lose your house, but if you really can’t afford something they want, tell them that you don’t have the money right now for it. I always had a general sense of where my family was financially, and I think it helped develop the valuable money skills that I have now.
Reminded me of things – I know a lot of people believe that to develop responsibility in a child that they should allow the child to forget things and not remind them. My mom never did that. Whether it was a library book, homework or lunch money, my mom would always remind me and double check to make sure I had everything. In the off chance I would forget she would show up at school with it for me. I don’t consider this “catering” or “babying” – rather I grew up to be very responsible from the constant reminders. To this day I rarely forget things, and those that I do tend to not be of the highest importance anyway.
Let me talk and be weird – I talk A LOT. I’ve just always believed that there’s a lot to discuss in this world. While I can recall many times being told to talk quieter (the Sunday school teachers liked to say that my voice “carried” which I guess is the polite way of saying that I was loud) I never recall being told to stop talking. I believe this helped foster my imagination as a child, and given the technology-crazed world that kids are growing up in today, imagination is much needed. I did some weird things as a child. One of these was to sit with my mom’s old typewriter and one of my Bernstein Bear books and copy the book. I also recall doing this with pen and paper and magazines. I remember taking toys and food down into the basement and a blanket to sit on because I saw a tornado symbol on the news and thought one was coming. Of course our area was in no immediate danger, but my mom let me do this anyway. I’m sure my mom could probably come up with a lot of other weird things I did as a child, but I’m just grateful she didn’t stifle the creativity.
With that I say thank you mom, for the 5 things you did above, and for all the hundreds more things that would take a novel to list.