I know Mother’s Day was last month (and boy did that month go by fast), but I was just looking at the lovely card my eldest son created for me which has been proudly displayed in the kitchen before it recently moved its way onto my dresser to give me a smile each morning whilst reaching for the days socks and undies. My son wrote a piece about why I should be Mother of Year which was just so humbling (and ironic considering I forgot the tooth fairy twice in a row this week…eek). It really made me realise how much my children have been watching what I’m doing in my day to day life just when I had no idea they were taking much notice at all.
In my role as an Early Childhood Educator, I am very aware of the influence I’m having on the young humans around me and we are constantly demonstrating and encouraging role modelling behaviour as educators and staff and I do the same within my businesses also however, I underestimated that my own children are actually interested in what I’m doing, despite sometimes getting nothing but grunts and “I’m hungry” as the main forms of communication from them. They see me walking around with head phones in listening to PD whilst hanging the washing out, they come with me to do the shopping with a great big list of healthy living ingredients, they listen in to business meetings and phone calls (even when you’ve asked them not to), they know I love exercise and see me interacting with people as I help them develop their goals and all the while they’re taking in the language I use, the motivation levels and watching how a little bit of hard work can go a long way. They also see me at my most vulnerable when life can get a bit too crazy sometimes and know when to give me a squeezy hug and tell me, “I love you Mum” and make me feel better. Sometimes we need them to do that as much as they need us to. They also see me hiding in the pantry occasionally trying to sneak in a piece of chocolate liquorice unnoticed or using my phone or computer too much when I should be switching off and being present. Technology is one of the most common influences around now, be it positive or negative and just like unhealthy food, it has it’s time and place but we need to realise how often we’re using it when human interaction is needed most. The language we use to our children and in front of our children when interacting with others is also being taken in like a sponge and you can guarantee they’ll remember the word “shit” instead of “global financial crisis” from a conversation. I’m also pleased that my children have seen my own personal growth and are following on from it. They are learning to set goals for themselves and are supported whether they achieve them or not, they fill a gratitude jar with notes when they are thankful for things, be they big or small, material or otherwise and I hope this continues into their teenage years when times get a bit tougher.
It’s a big scary world out there and it’s important to set the standard for our kids and know that they are watching our habits, always listening, picking up our vibe be it positive or negative, and they are influenced by our values and motivation. Just remember that they will one day pick your nursing home so it pays to teach them good financial habits, moral values and don’t forget to praise them when they are doing well, not just ticking them off for the negative things, it’s equally as, if not more so important.