Leading by Example: 5 Lessons in Parenting by Example May 02 2014

I find myself a normal, everyday woman and mother, trying to make do. But what does mean it to be a woman these days, anyway?

I try to juggle life as it comes, try to make plans, and try to make the best life possible for our family and for my children, our future. I have studied and seen first hand how early childhood is so critical in a child's development into a positive brimming, self-sufficient adult. I feel it especially true for my two girls.

My heart aches and I feel like I die a little on the inside when I hear a pop song these days, a hair product commercial, or even the rare occasion that Barbie is chosen for a cartoon. I try to be very mindful of what our little girls are exposed to during this very impressionable period of their lives. This is just one reason do not have cable and try to limit screen time on You Tube and Netflix, etc. I cringe at how common media has chosen to advertise so strongly to children and how women are portrayed in modern media and pop culture.

Growing up, I had strong, independent women to look up to and model myself after and I attribute my personality and any success that I have partially to those women who helped shape and mold me in MY impressionable years.

I try to show my girls that being a mother takes sacrifice and that there are more important things to life than, what others think,  and that it is more important for them to think for themselves yet compassionate and caring towards others. There is a fine balance in parenting and especially for mothers. This is my mission, and these are the conscious steps I take in that direction!

Conscious Decisions I Make:

1. Other than special occasions I don't wear makeup anymore. Partially for lack of time, which grew into a conscious decision for my daughters. They are beautiful as they are and I want to foster that feeling in them.

2. I don't "work out". I am physically active and enjoy plenty of exercise but I am not a slave to the gym or a chiseled body. I would call my body, that of a mother that has grown and nurtured two children. My favorite activities are intense dance parties in our living room, semi-regular walks with other mothers (walking, and talking and great discussion ALWAYS!)

3. I rarely shave anymore. If you find that gross, ask yourself why you find it gross. Really! It stems from some ideals you have about women and shaving or past experiences. In a recent discussion with my 3 year old she tried to tell me that I did not have hair on my legs. I assured her that I did and that it is just different and not the same as hair on our heads.

4. I try to practice active listening and good communication. Children have strong and often scary emotions and it is important to listen and affirm their feelings and then help them to cope and deal with feelings, emotions, and experiences. Ongoing process but effective communication is tough to teach and is definitely something to be modeled!

5. I practice patience. This is the toughest one of all but I try to always think before I speak and try to not speak or act out of anger or frustration. I also try consciously to avoid the word "NO".
Kids tend to get pushed around and I try my best to use the words "NO" sparingly. I definitely use the word for basic communication and in quick-response safety scenarios for an immediate response.
I also tend to explain more than anything when possible.
I also have learned to be a master of diversions and divert at times when lengthy explanations aren't worth it!

What are your parenting tips and tricks? What is your favorite method to divert a negative situation? Do your filter your children's influences? If so how do you do it?