If I were to describe myself as a mom it would be ill-tempered, impatient, irritable, prone to outburst, mean and demanding. Does that surprise you? I won't be surprise if some readers (I hope there is none) hold the opinion that I am patient & nurturing. There, I hope I've debunk any wrong ideas about me.
This side of me stems from juggling everything on my own & especially when things don't go my way. But I also realised I am most impatient & demanding whenever i Think Sonshine does not conform to as the society expects him to, I'll get stress, worried and therefore push & (angrily) demand him to measure up. If you don't, you'll be labelled as abnormal or even a weirdo, stupid and doom for failure. Like any parent, I fear that Sonshine will be out casted if I don't push him. I notice that the more I worry, the harder I push him. And this would result in the worst treatment he will get from me.
But that's so typical isn't it? We are all racing to get our children to be society's definition of a successful child. A child, the society says, is successful only if he scores well in school. An adult is considered successful when he owns private properties & flashy cars. And so, we are pushing our children to get those full marks and ourselves to get those costly materials under our belt. But, we all know that these are but shallow measurement of success. It is not necessarily true that a child with poor grades would never succeed. Neither does it mean a man with no properties and expensive cars is not successful. As long as he is healthy, happy & does not tie his joy with money, who's to say he's not successful?
While pursuing these definitions of success, we (well, at least I) lose sight of what is more important: our relationship with our children. It is very apparent to me that when i drop the pursuit, i drop the angsty nagging & I begin to enjoy my relationship with Sonshine. What is most odd is, during which, I will see more of his strengths than his weaknesses. Suddenly, he doesn't seem to be that bad after all. The thing is whenever we use yardstick set by the society, we will immediately see the shortfalls in our children. That's when we panic and start to push our kids to be and do beyond what they can. Oh, and how we fail to understand that whenever we use one-size-fits-it-all yardstick, there will surely be children who will fall short just 'cause every child is different. But once we throw away this yardstick and start to measure our child's success by his own abilities, we will instantly see that there will be a place in this earth for him & he will succeed in his own right. That takes alot off our shoulders and we begin to chill which results in better performance in our children since the pressure's off.
If you think this applies to the rat race in getting good grades, well it is not just that. How about those times when we push our kids out of their shells? When they are introverts, we hanker them to be extroverts because society says introverts are oddballs. When they prefer to play to learn, we push them to sit down in a rigid classroom instead because otherwise they are labelled as one with poor attention span. Oh! Isn't it tough to be our kids these days? Or even us women who strive to be thin & beautiful because, well society says they are more 'acceptable' and maybe even 'better'?
Yet, it is SO hard not to be suck into this rat race. Everyday, we are told either through television, commercials, newspapers, Facebook and even friends & relatives of what the society's measurement of success is. It takes a conscious effort to step out of this mindset and make a point to think & believe otherwise.
I then think it is important, we sit down and think about our own definitions of what success means to us. A friends asked me once, 'What is my measurement of success for my children'. Wow, that was a tough question that needed weeks to ponder over! I couldn't find my answer so I turn to myself. At this point, I think I am successful. Yes, I do not bring in the money, but I still feel that I am as successful, or even more, than that female CEO in that multinational company. Because, I get to change my kids' diapers, pick & send them from & to school, be the one to teach them the ABC & 123s- because I get to be hands on with my kids. That to me is success but another woman may deffer- but that's okay. God made us differently & gave each of us different dreams & talents. Which then, brings me back to my definition of success for my children. I think it would be that they live according to their own measurement of success, according to the gifts & desires that God has planted in them. Yes, even if it is a lowly executive, a cashier but if that makes them feel like a million dollars- then that is success.
What is your measurement of success for your children? Take time to think about it. And when you find yourself suck into the rat race, pushing your kids to measure up to the society, point yourself back to your own definition of success for your kids. Hopefully that helps you to get out the rat race, relax and have a more successful and meaningful relationship with your children. That reminder is also, if not, mostly for me. :)