February 23 Newsletter 

Hi there, it's Somer!

I wanted to step in and write this week’s newsletter for the team because I’ve learned something very important in my three short years as a mom, and I wanted to share it with you.

Some time ago I got tired of constantly trying to be the perfect role model for my son (and pushing my husband to be one at the same time).

Trying to flawlessly embody all of our stated personal and family values became completely exhausting. It happens to the best of us.

Some nights I just wanted to sit on the couch and scroll through my phone while eating ice cream for dinner with the TV on in the background, aware but uncaring of the teetering laundry pile and the appalling layer of dust on my shelves.

I always felt too guilty to do it, though. Don’t get me wrong, there is often a teetering pile of laundry and the dust is piling up on my shelves, but the rest of that scenario hasn’t played out for quite some time, at least in front of my son.

Last week I was having lunch with my mother, Elane, the co-founder of this whole Birth2Work group we’ve got going on, and she reminded me of something extremely important. So I went for it.

This past President’s Day when my son was off from school, I went the whole day ignoring my to-do list. I let my three-year-old decide everything we would do and eat for the entire day. It was an absolutely magical experience filled with waffles, finger paints, cartoons, books, and wearing pajamas in public (only our shirts, though, he insisted on proper pants for some reason).

And you know what? After every activity, he still put away his materials. He didn’t actually want to watch TV all day. He was polite to me and to the people who made our waffles at the restaurant. He was excited to go back to school the next day even though we had the “Best Mommy and Bub Day EVER!”

After that, I felt so refreshed and gained so much clarity on what being a parent and realistic role model is all about. My son had shown me that all my and my husband’s efforts to model the behaviors we wanted to see in him had in fact made a difference despite our unusual day of no rules.

The conversation with my mother helped me understand this ONE thing: trying to be a perfect model of anything is completely unrealistic, and frankly, pretty unhealthy.

No one needs that kind of pressure. Of course children are far more likely to "do as you do and not as you say," as the saying goes. But, feeling like you have to be 100% on top of it all the time or your children will become self-centered, lazy, slobs just isn’t right.

Our values and expectations are transferred to our children in many different ways, partly through our speech and partly through our behavior.

It’s important to both “talk the talk and walk the walk” when it comes to being a good role model. But those talks and walks must include:

  • realistic expectations (Sometimes you just don’t want to do all the things, and that’s OK!)
  • permission to indulge in some personal TLC (in whatever form works for you)
  • knowing that we do the best we can as often as we can (Failure to have even a near-perfect track record is in fact the most successful path to some pretty extraordinary off the wall cartoon-watching, messy-fingered, half-dressed, waffle-laden days.)

Those are things great memories are made of, right?

I hope that brings you some peace of mind. Do the best you can as often as you can and know that throwing all the rules out the window, on occasion, is part of being an amazing and perfectly realistic role model.

So go have some fun!

Cheers,

Somer and the whole Birth2Work Family

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P.S. Skipped to the bottom? Trying to be a perfect model of anything is completely unrealistic, and frankly, pretty unhealthy. Although it’s important to both "talk the talk and walk the walk" when it comes to being a good role model, you need to remember those talks and walks must include: realistic expectations, permission to indulge in some personal TLC, and knowing that we do the best we can as often as we can.

 

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