I attended MomCon over the weekend. What’s MomCon? You may ask. Exactly what it sounds like. A convention for moms. Young moms, specifically. Mothers of preschoolers and younger children. It’s put on by MOPS, which stands for Mothers of PreSchoolerS, and is a huge international Christian organization, with chapters all over the US and other countries. We’re getting ready to start a chapter at Greenwood Christian Church.
The main thing I can say about MomCon was that it was INTENSE. Three solid days – dawn to dusk and beyond – of sessions and workshops, where we listened to a variety of speakers talk about all thing MOM. It was great, though. Very helpful stuff. It was nice to come together with other moms and talk about issues that affect us, be uplifted, and hear some practical tips for handling our tiny humans.
It can be lonely, being a mom. And we often feel judged. I mentioned that to one of my non-mom friends and was surprised by the response – total bewilderment. I tend to forget that you non-moms out there are unfamiliar with all the mom-shaming that goes on within mom circles. Don’t turn your child’s carseat around. Don’t switch to formula. Don’t use disposable diapers. Don’t feed them non-organic snacks. For God’s sake, don’t feed them McDonald’s. Don’t throw a party that’s not Pinterest-worthy. Don’t yell at your kids. Don’t work outside the home. Just to name a few.
All of these are things I’ve done and therefore felt judged for by other moms. And here’s the thing: IT’S OK.
We all have our different opinions and styles for raising these little monsters, and IT’S OK.
That was the message I received at MomCon, and it was a great reminder. I think I learn that same lesson every couple of months, but I’ll probably never stop needing to learn it. So, it was great to go to a three-day conference and have that message shared again and again, in different ways. The whole experience was uplifting and encouraging.
And again, I did actually learn some practical tips as well. For example, the two most powerful sessions I attended were “Celebrating the Season” (as in, this Season of my life – raising little ones) and “What to Do When Your Anger Scares You” (gasp!).
It’s funny, when I was choosing workshops, and I came across the Anger one, I marked it in my book, but I thought, “I’ll just sneak off and go there, without telling anyone.” I didn’t want to admit to my friends that I have an anger problem at home. It feels so shameful. How can anyone lose their temper with their little angels?
Needless to say, I did admit that I would be attending the anger class, and one of my friends immediately agreed to attend with me. When we walked into the class, it was standing room only! There were probably 1000 women in that classroom! The place was packed. I quickly realized, I’m not the only one!
So after attending that workshop as well as the others, I’ve made a decision: I’m going to be a kind mom. No more yelling. When I lose my patience, I’m just not going to yell. I’m making a list of things I’m never going to say to my kids again, and then just not say them. I won’t be perfect right away – in fact, it’s only been a few days and I’ve already messed up numerous times, but I’m committed to this. One of the tips the lady gave us is to tell your kids what they’re going to do/what they’re going to be. Just tell them. Kindly. I didn’t really get that at first, but already it’s coming together a little bit:
Yesterday afternoon, it was time for Gwen’s nap. These days, if she’s been good, we’ll let her have “quiet time,” instead of an actual nap. “Quiet time” means she still has to go to bed, but she gets to have a bunch of books in there with her, and her light on. When I told her it was time to go upstairs, she started a full-blown tantrum. Screaming, crying, kicking. Then she started yelling, “I want quiet time!” Normally I would probably yell back at her. Instead, I stayed calm, gently took her face in my hands, and quietly said, “Next time, you’ll remember to ask nicely for quiet time, and say please, instead of throwing a fit.” That was it. I simply told her what she was going to do. No, “and if you don’t,…[insert various threat]…” Just told her. Then she stopped crying and asked nicely, but I told her it was too late. “Next time,” I said.
And you know what? It worked. When she got up from her nap, she told me that next time she was going to say please and ask for quiet time. And that night at bedtime, she did it! And again today!
Suffice to say I was pretty pleased with myself on that one. Of course, that was until she was getting ready today and taking FOR-FREAKING-EVER and my patience went bye-bye. But that’s ok. I’m trying! Baby steps to being a kind mom.