Before I became a mom, I had some pretty solid ideas about the expectations I would hold for my child. In my (inexperienced) mind, I thought I knew all the mom battles to come and how I would never budge on any of them. I knew the clothes he would wear, the books he would love, the things he would be passionate about. It was all figured out.
Eleven years in and things haven’t gone exactly as planned. That’s not to say I’ve failed. I mean, I’m not a perfect mom by any means, but a change of plan isn’t a lack of success. I’ve rolled with the punches and figured out that some things are more important than my preconceived ideals. There are five things I believe will help my child be a productive member of society, as well as a good human, and that’s where I draw my line.
Above all else, I expect our son to be respectful to others and to himself. We have taught him manners and etiquette and he knows the proper way to act. This includes being honest and having integrity as well. There is a time and place for being silly and playing around, but when it’s time to be serious, I expect that switch to flip. This is of utmost importance on my list of mom battles, and demonstrating disrespect gets shut down swiftly. There’s just no excuse for disrespect.
Give It Your All
Not every kid is going to be good at everything. They’re not all straight-A students, or first chair flutes, or star pitchers. And that is perfectly ok. We all have our strengths, and kids are no different. However, another of the mom battles I fight is that our son must always give it his best effort. If he’s trying, pushing, and really doing his best, then we are happy to reward and celebrate his efforts. There is no shame in not being the best at something, but we always have to try our best.
Be Part of Our Team
Since we are a small family, we don’t really have to rely on strict chore charts, but your mileage may vary. The point is that our family unit is a team, and we all have to pitch in to make it work. We started young and kept it going. When I remind our son to complete an assigned household task or ask for help with something outside the norm, I expect it to be done. Families run most efficiently when everyone does his part, and so that’s my expectation. PS. In our home, allowance is based less on the day-to-day needs, and more on the above and beyond efforts, but again, different systems for different families.
Always Be Grateful
We tried very hard to raise our son with a sense of appreciation and gratitude. We expect him to take care of his belongings and other’s possessions, and be grateful for what he has. In many ways, he’s very fortunate, but privileges get revoked fairly quickly if he’s not taking care of his things for grumbling about what he perceives as things not being fair or the like. I don’t have much tolerance for lack of appreciation.
My son definitely does not agree with my style choices for him, and I’ve learned to let that go. What I won’t let go is personal hygiene. Daily showers are not optional, especially at this age, and he doesn’t leave the house without brushed teeth and clean clothes. We always try for tidy hair, but he’s “blessed” with a head full of cowlicks, so he does what he can. The goal is neat and presentable, not necessarily photoshoot-ready, and he knows the drill.