Having kids is, without a doubt, the hardest job in the world. It’s also the most rewarding, but we’re pulling no punches here — it can feel like a constant struggle to overcome the nagging fear you aren’t doing enough to show your kids they have your full support.
You shower them with affection and love them with every fiber of your being, but the world can be harsh. As the mother of a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old, I often (read: all the time) worry my sweet babies will be swallowed up in some ugliness I’m not privy to and they’ll feel unappreciated. Or unaccepted. Or worse still, unloved.
So what are some of the ways we as moms can reinforce our support every day? Fortunately, it’s a lot easier than we make it out to be in our heads. Here are a few ideas.
1. Write them a note
Scribble some words of encouragement on a scrap of paper and leave it in their lunchbox or stick it under their pillow. Discovering your loving words could be the very thing that makes their day and gives them the confidence boost they needed.
2. Share a special code
No matter how many friends your kid has, it’s invaluable for them to know that when all is said and done, it’s you two against the world in the sense that you’re a unit. Your little team will always be intact, regardless of the comings and goings of daily life. If you create a special code word for your kid that only the two of you know the meaning to, it’ll be a secret that underscores that bond.
3. Let them pick their passions
While you may have taken piano lessons for five years, your child’s interests may be… different. By letting them decide what passions they pursue, you’re sending the message that you value their choices and accept them for who they are. Every kid has their own thing that they’re into — and it’s our job to make them feel good about it. Which leads us to…
4. Embrace their passions
It’s one thing to let your kid pick their “thing.” It’s taking it a step further to embrace that passion too. Your child is unique, and that deserves to be celebrated. What better way to show them support than to join them in the passions that make them unique? Not only will it make your child feel validated in their differences, but it will also provide priceless mama-kiddo bonding time.
5. Listen to them
Like, really listen to them. Trust me, I know how hard that can be at times — we are fairly certain our 6-year-old daughter tries to reach some imaginary and astronomically high word quota every single day. But when we take the time to truly listen to our kids, they know we don’t just feel obligated to hear them out, but we actually want to hear them out.
6. Indulge their quirks
For a while, my 4-year-old son had a habit of collecting little skeletons of any and everything, ahem, expired that he found in the yard. A beetle that had a fatal encounter with an ant bed? Score. The hollowed-out (and very stinky, mind you) shell of an old horseshoe crab on the beach? Score. I kid you not; we had the skeleton of a lizard in a little pink Ziploc bag hanging on our fridge for a month once. It’s weird to us, but we want our son to know we love how his brain works. We want him to know he can always be himself around us.
7. Tell them you love them
Sometimes it really is this simple. Just tell them you love them, and tell them often. Tell them more than you think they need to hear it. Tell them all of the things you love about them and how you love that all those things make them into the one-of-a-kind kid you were lucky enough to get.
This post was sponsored by Fruit Shoot®.