By: Dr. Gwen Smith
Soon-to-be-released Book: Moms From Striving to Thriving: 101 Success Tips
This article is an excerpt from my upcoming book, shortly to be released. Having written this work for over three years now, I was finally moved to expand it into practical steps that moms can used to help them with parenting and their lives.
My journey first started as a ‘married single mom’, and later as a true single mom of three beautiful children, following my divorce. Throughout my first marriage, my husband was not available to address the emotional needs of our children.
Neither did he take an active role in anything around the home to relieve some of my responsibilities as a working mom. Every aspect of home-making was left up to me. When we finally divorced, it was more of a relief than pain for me because nothing much had changed, except for the absence of the burden I had felt from not having his support.
My children, now all grown, were the apple of my eye. I was determined that they would have everything they needed and more. I wanted to set them up for ultimate success.
I ensured that they had lots of enrichment activities to build their character and their flexibility. They participated in music lessons, visits to the theater, movies, aquarium and zoos. They also had sports and other educational and spiritual resources to keep them grounded. All this came at a tremendous sacrifice to some of my wants, but it was well worth it.
Being fully aware that I did not have all the answers to raise them on my own, I became a voracious reader on anything relating to raising positive, happy, responsible kids. I listened to those who had raised their children successfully, and gathered all the information I could to prepare me to the be the best mother I could possible be.
There were many challenges along the way, as I dealt with all areas of my children’s lives single-handedly, while also dealing with my own challenges. It was not easy, however, I can truly say it was well worth the efforts.
My years of experience as a school and district-level administrator working with parents and their children, listening to thousands of children’s stories of their parents, and the parents stories of their kids, provided rich vicarious data that served to provide a list of resources to fuel successful parenting on my part.
I absorbed and applied all that I could, and coupled with my psychology background learning about the developmental stages of children’s lives and strategies to reinforce behaviors, I was soon almost effortlessly performing my role as a mom.
I’ve made mistakes and learned from them. I’ve had conversations with other adult children, as well as my own, to find out what worked for them. I observed the interactions between adult children and their parents then interviewed both parents and their adult children to find out what worked.
Some of these tips resulted from those conversations and others from my decades of data gathering in school systems around the world, working with parents. Many are gathered from my own experiences of what worked very well for me.
The purpose of this soon-to-be-released book is to provide inspirational nuggets from all of these combined experiences. I am delighted to share these tips with you.
The book is divided into two Sections. Section I is arranged numerically and will allow you to pick a tip a day for 101 days. You can randomly or chronologically pick your tips each day.
In Section II, the same tips are categorized for your convenience to select any related category you may need to review. The areas are divided as follows: Parenting and Home Life, Romance and Relationships, Business and Work, Finances, Mind and Spirit, Physiological Needs and Networking and Supporting.
While this book does not promise well-balanced, successful adults (and nothing can), it will most certainly provide a much greater opportunity to raise your children so that they are able to function independently now and on their own.
Your children will always model your behavior before they listen to your words. This work provides tips and resulting opportunities to be a role model to effect a more positive life-long experience for their lives.
Some of the tips focus on events outside of the home: on the job and in your daily interactions with others. Much of the tips are about you and how you show up in the world.
Make no mistake, every part of your life is highly interwoven and consequently will also affect what you do at home. The emotions and feelings and habits created in one area have a way of creeping into other areas of your life. So, I’ve provided a sample tip below for you to begin to use as needed.
You will want to make a habit to review them often when you receive your copy of the book so they become a part of your daily experience.
Get in Your Child’s World
You may find yourself being a mom who creates every wonderful experience you can think of for your child to participate in. You buy memberships to the theme parks and aquarium. You visit movies you feel your child would love, and perhaps they do. I caution you to be sure you are in your child’s world by asking them what they want to participate in. Don’t assume you know what they are. Perhaps it may not be activities that cost you money. It may just be time with you. Play THEIR games, not the ones you think they would like. ASK their opinions on activities they’d like to do. Talk with them on lighter, jovial topics, not about work or other tasks to complete all the time. Later they will remember how you got into their world and how it made them feel. They will bond much closer to you later, as a result.
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