Family life

The "Caillou's mom" myth

A little visit at the perfect family’s house

One morning, Caillou’s parents overslept because the alarm didn’t ring. Without uttering a single bad word, Caillou’s mom gets up quickly, wakes everyone up and nicely tells them to hurry up. Caillou isn’t in any kind of a hurry... While mommy gets ready, he steals her makeup and puts it all over his sister’s face, who, surprisingly, doesn’t scream. When mommy finds her daughter covered in makeup, she keeps her calm and nicely says to her son: “Caillou, you know that you’re not allowed to take mommy’s makeup! Come, we’ll wash your sister’s face...”.

When everybody is finally ready, Caillou stubbornly refuses to get dressed. His ever-smiling parents gently scold him, without raising their voices or threatening to punish him. In the end, daddy decides to take the day off to show Caillou all the people that are working in the neighbourhood... Amazing parenting, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, I meet more and more such well-intentioned parents (mostly mothers), who would do anything to become the perfect mother or father and make the whole family happy. A few years later, they’re often disappointed by the results. Faced with their brood’s bad behaviour, they wonder: “But where did I go wrong? I gave them all I had...” Well, that’s exactly the point!

And what if that mom had been a little too nice? What if, by her attitude, she had precisely taught her children to treat her like a slave? What if, wishing to please her children more than anything, she had undermined both their long-term happiness and her relationship with them?

5 myths about the "good mom"

According to popular belief, a good mom:

… is entirely devoted to her kids : FALSE! By sacrificing herself, the slave mother teaches her children to either sacrifice themselves for the pleasure of others, or hope that everyone will sacrifice themselves for them.

This mother will be disappointed when her children are not appreciative and could make them feel guilty : “After all that I’ve done for you!”.

How can she hope that her kids will not treat her as a slave if she behaves like a servant?

… does everything for her children's happiness: FALSE! By raising her children too gently, the too-good mother may not prepare them well for adulthood. A happy child does not necessarily become a well-adjusted adult... Life is full of pitfalls, disappointments, efforts, successes and failures. Preparing a child to adulthood also means teaching him from an early age that he has to make efforts to get what he wants, deal with frustrations and disappointments and enjoy simple pleasures.

… never gets angry. She’s always calm and patient: FALSE! Mothers who try to never get angry all fall into the same trap: they smile, explain, repeat, negotiate, argue, repeat again ... and eventually explode, and then feel guilty. Moreover, mothers who are too patient raise children who don’t know where the limit of acceptable is and make a habit of not following the rules. They are used to having many chances and react badly to stricter supervision.

And anyway, a child with a mother who has infinite patience and is gentle in all circumstances might be traumatized when his kindergarten teacher, a little less perfect, loses patience.

… always knows what to do: FALSE! We all ask ourselves questions, no one has all the answers, and those who think they know what to do in all kinds of situations always end up realizing the mistakes they made down the line. The best parents don’t necessarily make the best children. Whatever you do, your children still have their "free will", meaning that each child can read his parents’ intervention in his own way and react to it as he sees fit.

… is always available : true and false… Although the choice of becoming a parent requires you to waive some of your freedom to be present for your children (not working 70 hours per week, for example), it is not necessary to put a cross on your career aspirations and leisure. In fact, letting your kids experience some delays in their requests for attention, having to wait for you to be available to them and dealing with your own desires and needs will only make them more tolerant and respectful of others.

So, what is a good mother?

In my opinion, a good mother is first and foremost a happy mother! Because beyond anything you can say or do, what you project will always be the best representative of the values ​​you wish to convey to your offspring. Therefore, I think a good mother:

… has some fun! She has fun in her role as a mother, takes the time to laugh with her kids and spend quality time with them. She does activities that she enjoys with her children and doesn’t settle for being everyone’s taxi driver. She allows herself to let go of her educational role and duties from time to time to simply breathe, enjoy being with her loved ones and share a good laugh.

She has fun at work and comes home with a smile. She also has fun with her friends and spouse, even if it sometimes means not being available to her kids for a few hours...

… has passions : A good mother allows herself, outside of her family responsibilities, to unleash her passions : reading, arts, sports, travel, history, etc. In fact, she also shares them with her children and encourages them to discover what makes them tick.

… is assertive : because she feels and believes that she has value, because she respects herself and is respected by others, the good mother can give her opinion to anyone who will listen, takes the risk of disappointing the ones she loves and say "no" from time to time, doesn’t let anyone hurt her and does everything she can to change a situation that is making her unhappy.

She will also accept to deal with her children’s disappointment and anger by enforcing rules and sanctions if necessary, because she knows that teaching them respect is guiding them toward happiness.

… looks for balance : through reading, through consultations or through reflection, a good mother is always trying to evolve and move towards happiness. And if her life gets hard one day, if she falls down and is filled with despair, she will seek the support and tools she needs to teach her kids how to get back on their feet even when it's hard.

… is indulgent towards herself and others: Since it’s impossible to be perfect, since mistakes and frustrations are inevitable, she will be able to forgive herself just as she hopes to see her kids forgive themselves their own mistakes and weaknesses. She will also be able to apologize with humility but with her head held high.

… stays positive : she forces her eyes and her heart to see her children’s progress, she remembers and tells them everything she likes about them, she cuddles and encourages more than she blames. Even if she implements rules, even if she sometimes has to do discipline, even if her children are not always well-behaved, she doesn’t worry about it too much and remembers that she has 20 years to raise them and that “it will eventually sink in!".

… listens more than she talks : because by being interested in her children’s opinions, she’s developing their judgement and making them feel important. Because by listening to them, she can know and understand them better, make them want to behave responsibly and allow them to develop their own set of values.

In my opinion, a good mother thereby seeks to improve without feeling guilty about her imperfections, allows her children to be imperfect and make mistakes, but makes sure that they bear the consequences of their choices. A good mother does not seek to please or control her children, but rather allows them to blossom in a clear setting, surrounded by love and joy. And these principles also go for dads who dream of being the perfect father.

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