Hearts At Home has been one of my most favorite mom resource groups for years. In 2004 I was blessed to be able to attend a Mom’s Day Out in Portland, OR and hear the founder, Jill Savage, speak. It was there that Jill’s daughter told us about her family’s tradition of having “Surprise Drives.” Something we do to this day.
They’re having a contest here. They want to know in 50 words or less the best mom tip you’ve ever received. I took the “50 words or less” very seriously. I guess those who commented on the blog didn’t. LOL It’s HARD talking about mom stuff in 50 words or less. I can barely say my kids’ first names in 50 words or less (hence one of the main reasons I blog), much less the best parenting advice I’ve ever gotten.
Alas, I worked on it, revised it, wanted to give proper credit, counted over and over and ta-da . . . . here it is.
- From my mom: If your child dawdles a bit when you call them – it’s okay. They’re just busy exploring their world. And they need to explore their world. As long as they eventually come, let them be. Give them the gift of wonder.
Do you have ANY idea how hard that was? Let me highlight a few things I struggled with.
First, my mom got the advice from her aunt. I wanted to put that in there, but I only had 50 words.
Second, my mom was not talking about letting your kids disobey. If I called one of the kids and they said, “No!” I did NOT think, “Oh let me let them explore.” You all know what I mean about dawdling – I call it innocent dawdling. You’re in a park and it’s time to go and your 3 year old is caught up in watching an ant. Do you scream at him and demand immediate obedience? Or do you let him watch the wonder of the ant? I chose the latter. And I still do.
Third, I really wanted to share the result of the “let them explore” advice. My kids are almost 13 (gulp) and 10. My son had left a bunch of old chocolates on a board in the backyard last night. How the chihuahua missed them I’ll never know. Some were missing, but darling son realizing the telltale signs of his mother about to lose it, said, “I saw the scratch marks on the other chocolates, they were too small to be Belle’s. I’m sure it was the squirrels.” Oh. I felt so much better. Anyway, I told him to get his hiney out there and clean up the rest of the chocolates because the last thing I need is an already hyper chihuahua hopped up on chocolate and sugar.
He was out there for quite a while but I really didn’t think anything of it. I guess I could have barked at him to get them up quickly and get them in the garbage. A little while later he came in with his almost 13 year old eyes full of wonder. He had turned over the board the candy was on (why? I have NO clue) and saw a garter snake . He then went into great detail about the actions of the snake as he poked at it with a stick. And there was a roly-poly bug following the snake and he told me all about that, too.
So, that’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I guess it’s a take on “slow down and smell the roses.” Of course there are times when immediate obedience is the only option. Houses on fire, Godzilla rapidly approaching the village, Mom running late . . . . . But I know if I evaluate all the times I *think* that it’s the only option, I’m probably wrong and probably more worried about my schedule than giving my kids the gift of wonder.