As parents, advice on raising children is as common as air.
Friends have sent you articles on how to be a better mom. Your mother-in-law offered you unsolicited advice on the best way to get a baby to sleep. Or the lady in front of you at the grocery store check-out line lectured you on how to properly dress your children in the cold weather.
To make parenting even more complicated, on top of the influx of invited and unwanted advice, are the constant contradictions you have to swim through.
Just when I finish reading one article explaining why it is crucial that I let my baby cry it out, I am confronted with another article telling me that co-sleeping is the best approach.
Honestly, it is enough to make any mom feel like they are dropping the “motherhood” ball, in overtime, during the championship match.
Additionally, experts will always adjust their recommendations as new studies emerge, and trendsetters will always have shiny, new trends.
8,000 Ways to Be a Better Parent
After reading (and writing) a ton of insightful articles on things such as “1,000 Ways to Create Happy Children” and “7,000 Ways to be a Good Mom”, I realized one huge thing:
No one can remember to do 8,000 things. Especially when you are in the throws of a toddler temper tantrum or deep in a battle with your children at the end of an exhausting day.
Since my life goal was to simplify everything in life, including parenting, I knew there had to be an easier way to approach parenting – yet, I couldn’t out my finger on it.
That is, until I heard one phrase that changed my life.
The Mic-Drop of Parenting Advice
Toni Morrison, an American Novelist, was on the Oprah show. At the time I didn’t know who she was, but she said something so incredibly simple, yet so powerful.
“When your child enters the room, does your face light up?”
Morrison explains that when kids come into a room, parents tend to observe things such as if their hair is brushed, and if their shoes are tied. We assume that our children feel our love and affection, but they do not.
They see the critical expression on your face, and they feel the judgement.
In the interview, Morrison continues “let your face speak what’s in your heart.”
See full interview here:
Is it Really That Simple?
Prior to hearing the quote from Morrison, I was always trying to remember to follow the advice I had heard or read:
- “What 5 questions did that article say I should I ask my kids at the dinner table?”
- “My friend told me the best way to raise successful kids, I can’t recall…”
- “Do my kids have too many toys, or not enough toys?”
- “What were those 10 kid-friendly recipes I saw last week on Facebook?”
Although family and articles had great advice, I had a hard time sifting through them in real life. My mind was in so many places that my face didn’t always display how I truly felt for my kids. I only wanted to raise emotionally stable and happy kids with a strong core of love.
I thought about my own childhood.
I have only the warmest memories of my own mother.
I don’t remember my mother sitting and playing Barbies with my four sisters and I. She didn’t have time to “connect” with each of us for an hour a day.
However, she made me feel important and special every single moment I was around her. She greeted me with an excited smile and warm embrace even if I just left the room for a quick minute.
As simple as it is, that loving expression built my confidence, made me feel wanted, and gave me a strong sense of family.
I started to make myself aware of my facial expressions when my children walked in the room. Whether they just woke up, came home from school, or even just approached me to talk.
My mom guilt started to fade when I felt my kids positively react to my warm greeting.
And just like that, it all fell into place.
As parents, you are flooded with parenting advice. Sometimes it is contradicting and sometimes it changes. One thing remains timeless: your children will look to you for signs of love.
Every time your child enters the room, ask yourself if your expression is displaying the love you have for them.
And that, my friend, is how Toni Morrison dropped the mic on parenting advice.
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