Are You the Trash Can of Your Family?

I was running on lack of sleep, so perhaps that would explain my laughing outburst. But this story I’m going to share, while it made me laugh, also made me think.

Getting up at 4am in the morning is not my idea of fun.  I am soooo not a morning person. But as a parent sometimes you do those things that you don’t want to do because you love your kids, right? My daughter was going on a trip for her school band and I volunteered to be a chaperone. It was an all day event where her school band would do a competition and then get to go to a theme park afterward.  Luckily in my tired stupor I was not driving, we were taking the trip on a bus.  As the bus started to take off I was zoning out looking out the window and overheard a conversation between a father and son.

son: “Hey Dad”

dad: “What?”

son: “Here’s my trash.”

dad: “I don’t want it. What am I going to do with it?”

son: “Where should I put it then?”

dad: “I don’t know, put it in your pocket until we stop”

It was when I heard the,”I don’t want it. What am I going to do with it?” comment that I just started cracking up laughing.  As a mom I just expected the dad to put his hand out to get the trash (mid-conversation and without missing a beat of course).  As I was laughing, the dad quickly figured the reason for my giggles and said “Yeah, my wife probably would have held his trash, but I’m not a trash can” (or something like that).  This made me laugh even harder.  My laughter was because he did something I didn’t expect.  He didn’t do what I and many moms would do…automatically hold something for his kid.

This made me think,  “Why don’t I say no when my kids ask me to hold something?” They are no longer toddlers who can’t hold something without putting it in their mouths or dropping it. What was stopping me from saying, “No, you can hold it.”?

My "Mommy Purse"

This lead to the question, “How often do I automatically hold something for my kids that they could hold themselves?”  Now this is a farther reaching question than just trash.  Really the question could be, “How often do I do something for my kids that they could just as easily do themselves?” Examples of this might be related to holding trash but also  helping them clean their rooms, getting their breakfast ready, clearing the table or simply holding things for them when we are traveling. In fact, I have even been known to buy huge purses in the past ( dubbing each with the name “mommy purse”) so I could hold all the things my kids may need or may give to me.

http://acobox.com/node/4861Really as parents it is not our job to do everything for our kids, it’s our job to teach them to do things.   Of course sometimes it’s just easier to “do it ourselves”.   But this “just do it ourselves” behavior unfortunately then perpetuates the habit of being the “martyr mom” who does everything, which doesn’t help mom or the kids.   Just take a look to the left of the picture of a mom who is doing everything. How happy does she look? How do you think that burnt out mood would affect her family? Maybe if the kids helped, mom would be happier and the kids would learn some important skills.

I made a pact with myself that day to become more aware of this habit I have of holding trash and other things for my kids.  I did ok to start.  However,  the other day we went to the playground and we all brought water bottles.  My older daughter automatically gave me her bottle and the younger one whined, “Who’s gonna hold mine?”. I put my hand out and started to carry them to a picnic table.  I stopped mid-way as I struggled not to drop the bottles and the camera I was holding. Then I realized, I’m doing it again! I could have easily told them to run their water bottles over to the picnic table. Instead I let them dump their stuff on me.  So I asked my husband to take a picture of me with all the water bottles. I wanted a visual reminder of how I hold things!

So, yes, it takes awhile to break old habits.

But you know what? I am changing slowly. In fact, I decided to make it harder for myself to say “yes” when they ask me to hold something in my purse. I bought a smaller purse so I wouldn’t have room for so much stuff! Now when they ask  me to hold something I can honestly say, “I don’t have room in my purse!”  Ok, sometimes I still say, ‘Yes” but at least it’s now a conscious “Yes” so I am not always unconsciously being a dumping ground.

And by the way, when I told my daughter (who was also on the bus) about the dad who wouldn’t take his son’s trash, she laughed too. The kids know what they are doing.  They just need to break the habit too. I want my kids to grow up learning to take responsibility for themselves and their things. My trying to not be their habitual “trash can” is a step in that direction.

I said in the beginning of this article that “As a parent sometimes you do those things that you don’t want to do because you love your kids, right?”.  This doesn’t mean that we always need to do things we don’t want to do just because we love our kids. Sometimes because we love our kids we let them do some things for themselves they may not want to do.

renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.netAre you the “trash can” of your family too?  What are you holding or doing for your kids that they could do themselves?

picture credit:  trash can- luigi diamanti /FreeDigitalPhotos.net, “A Busy Mom”- http://acobox.com/node/4861 , question mark renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Some Inspiration, Some Girl Time, Some Networking AND a Discount

 

There’s something about the experience of being in a room full of women.  Nothing against men, but you have to admit there is a different energy. Women need one another for the support and laughter that gets us by and adds joy to our daily lives.

 

Women’s Club SWANS is having an event on May 19th where you have an opportunity to not only  connect with other women, but also be inspired.  Attendees will have the opportunity to chat with other women over dinner and also gain some insights from speaker, Patricia Raskin.

 

Patricia Raskin will be presenting on the topic “Staying Positive in Challenging Times”.  As president of Raskin Resources Productions, Inc, Patricia is an award-winning media producer, veteran radio broadcaster, speaker, media coach and author who focuses on the positive side of life. So she has a lot of experience staying positive and helping others do the same.

 

In her 25 years in radio she has interviewed many inspiring people including : Mariel Hemingway,  Jane Seymour, Joan Lunden, Debbie Ford, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Thomas Moore,  Dr Mehmet Oz and Dr John Gray (just to name a few).  She has a lot of insight to pull from not only her own experiences but also the experiences of others.

 

Women’s Club SWANS has hosted  these dinner events for the last 4 years to help women connect and be inspired. Women from in and around RI can benefit from this social and business club.    While networking is often only associated with business, women often network about other things than business as well.  What makes this club unique is that it is open to women of a variety of ages and backgrounds to “network” about whatever interests them or even to just to enjoy socializing. So women do not have to own a business to attend or be a member. However, those women who have businesses have opportunities to promote them.

 

On May 19th, women will meet at the Water Street Café 36 Water Street, Fall River, MA  from 6pm to 9pm to enjoy dinner, Patricia Raskin’s inspiring presentation, and have opportunities to connect with other women in the area.  Admission is $20.00 members/$30 non-members (additional fee may apply).  Pre-registration is required. Here’s more info about the club and the event.

 

As the director of Women’s Club SWANS I wanted to offer Amomknowsbest.com readers a special discount of $5.00 off a non-member admission. Just use discount code “momknows” or use this link to register. Discount is good until 5/15

 

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The Difference Between Nice and Good

My daughters are sweethearts. They are both thoughtful and kind to others. I am so proud of them.  One of the things I’ve tried to teach them is to be nice to others. A motto I say to them is “You don’t have to like everyone but you need to respect everyone.”  I truly believe in this motto, but I started wondering if it needed more clarification.

Both daughters have had trouble with difficult “friends.”  Both girls continued to deal with these “friend’s” behaviors without doing anything back. That’s what we’ve been taught, right? Turn the other cheek?  Well I think there needs to be a balance between “being nice” and “being a good person.”

To be nice to others seems to be at times a  pleasing behavior.  My girls didn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings (even though other kids were hurting theirs).  Somehow being nice meant –to my kids –that other people were first.  Is that really what I wanted to teach them? That the other persons feelings were more important that theirs? That they had to be “nice girls” no matter what?  No, I want them to believe that while it’s important to respect others, it’s also important to respect themselves.

A nice person will act a certain way in order to not hurt someone’s feelings or make them uncomfortable.  As a result, sometimes “nice people” can be fake because they are more concerned with appearances than the truth.  Additionally, sometimes people who “act” nice don’t always even have  good intentions.  So being “nice” maybe isn’t always so nice.

Now, being a good person means to me that your intentions are good.  You look for and act toward the greater good. Your intentions are to not only help yourself but also others in the process.   However, sometimes being good also means doing what is not popular.  Sometimes doing what is right is unsettling and upsetting to others. Hence, sometimes being good you can’t be “nice” and please everyone.

Sometimes you need to say “No” and sometimes you even need to raise your voice.  When my one daughter’s “friend” would cry when she didn’t get what she wanted, my daughter would give in and do what her friend wanted.  It seemed to me that my daughter was being emotionally blackmailed. My daughter just thought that letting her friend cry wasn’t nice.

I still want my girls to be nice, but not at the expense of doing what’s right.  We certainly should try doing and being good in a respectful way. However, I clarified with them that  our first priority should be to be good (do what’s right- including, at times, standing up for themselves) and our secondary goal should be to be nice (act in order to please others and not hurt their feelings).

So how about we say…It’s nice to be good and good to be nice, but sometimes being nice is not good and sometimes being good you need to not be nice.

Utimately I hope my girls learn that we can’t always gage what we should do by how we think others will respond.  We need to listen to our internal compass and be true to ourselves. That being said, I realize that no matter what I do I can’t always protect them from some things in this world. I  can guide them, but sometimes they need to explore the path on their own. Sometimes that means getting hurt.  Hopefully they will learn from each experience and grow from it.

What do you think? Do you think there is a difference between being good and being nice?

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