Could it be that we make parenting a little too complicated? With a plethora of parenting advice at our finger tips, being a great mom should be easy – right? Well, perhaps more information doesn’t equal better parenting. In fact, a deluge of social media and parenting articles can tend to increase our anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and our need to overly hover when it comes to our kid’s activities.
In the quest to do this single-parenting thing right, we may make parenting more complicated than it needs to be. The thing is, there are no nice, neat, cookie-cutter formulas to good parenting because life is not tidy and perfect. Life is messy. People are messy. Kids are messy, and we ourselves are no spitting image of Ms. Got-it-all-together.
Perhaps in our super-connected culture, we are missing the one simple way to be a great mom – engaging with our kids. What if it is as uncomplicated as that?
A listening ear
Just being present in the moment
We don’t need books, blogs or facebook to tell us to employ this fundamental principle of nurturing and being attentive when we are with our kids. I’ve often written about the importance of passing down our values to our children, as well as being a good example and using teachable moments to relay life lessons. All of this happens when we are engaged with our kids and not distracted by reading the latest post (which is slightly ironic because this is a post).
A recent Harvard study of 5,000 people revealed that adults spend only about 50% of their time living in the present. Although our kids may be away from us for a good portion of the day, we can be intentional when we are together. Dr. Emma Seppala, author of the Happiness Track writes that the ability to be fully present is not so much a gift, as it is a learned skill.
It’s easier than you may think. Studies show that simply engaging in conversation around the dinner table offers many lasting benefits. When you are in the car, listen to your kids. When you are doing chores or cooking, invite the kids to join you in the process. Certainly, we can’t be engaged with our kids 100% of the time, but we can make a deliberate decision to focus and be attentive as much as possible. Great parenting is often discovered in the simple choices we make, so let’s choose to be mentally present with our kids.
Known as “the Positive Lady,” Karol Ladd inspires men and women around the world with a message of lasting hope and Biblical truth. Karol is open, honest and real in both her speaking and her writing. Formerly a teacher, Karol is the best-selling author of over 35 books including The Power of a Positive Mom, Positive Leadership Principles for Women and her newest book, Becoming a Woman of the Word. As a gifted communicator and dynamic leader, Karol is a popular speaker to women’s organizations, church groups and corporate events and is a frequent guest on radio and television programs and teaches a monthly Bible study called Positive Woman Connection. Recently, she started the Engage Positive Parenting Initiative which reaches men and women in communities affected by poverty (www.EngageParenting.com). Her most valued role is that of wife to Curt and mother to two grown daughters, Grace and Joy. Find out more at www.PositiveLifePrinciples.com.
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com