There is nothing more satisfying than having the Internet tell you that you are scientifically proven to be awesome. I personally enjoyed reading that my red wine consumption was equivalent to going to the gym and my coffee habit was reducing my chances of skin cancer.
In my attempts at reassuring myself that I’m the best parent ever, I turn again to the Internet to prove that Team Science chooses ME as their Mother of the Year.
1- I leave the grandparents in charge.
If my parents lived in Calgary, my kids would be hanging out with Popo and Pop Pops as often as possible. Instead, we invaded their home in BC for ONE MONTH over Christmas. As it turns out, my willingness to pawn my children off on my parents is simply my way of caring for their mental health.
In the Alzheimer’s study, women between the ages of 57 and 68 were given various tests of cognition. Those who scored highest were the ones watching their grandbabies once a week. (Source)
2- I don’t clean up the toys every day.
The reason I don’t bother enforcing a “clean up your toys before bed” policy is not because I don’t love a tidy house. I love tidy. But, by bedtime, I have the energy and patience left for teeth brushing, stories and the oft-demanded, last-minute glass of water. I do not have the energy to negotiate a three year old into picking up his toys. And once the kids are down, I have one bazillion things to do, so the toys are not often put away then, either. If you struggle with this, too, I have AMAZING news:
When we [let our children leave their toys out], when we allow our child to preserve his “work,” we are sending a strong message of respect and appreciation for the time and effort he put into his project.(Source)
3- I totally believe in Santa.
In a recent post, I explained why I don’t consider Santa Claus a lie. One thing I failed to mention was how happy I was to have the extra bargaining chip on my side during tense negotiations with my threenager. There are days when playing the “Santa Claus is watching you!” card is the only trick I’ve got up my sleeve, and I play it with gusto. Next year, I shall play it with gusto and without guilt!
Allowing young children to believe in fantastical figures like Santa Claus, North Pole elves and magical reindeer can boost certain skills, according to social psychologist Dr. Lynda Breen. She stressed that letting young children embrace fantasy may be “valuable in theircognitive and social development.” Namely, the magical idea of Santa Claus is also “A symbol of hope and belief in him teaches children the values of role models, family bonding and sharing, as well as promoting cognitive benefits.” (Source)
4- I don’t force my children to hug people.
Making a three-year old do something he doesn’t want to do takes a lot of effort. I try to reserve my energy for the critical things, like breathing, eating, pooping and sleeping. When I suggest he give a high five or fist bump to relatives asking for a hug, I’d never really thought about it as anything but a solution to a problem: he doesn’t want to give a hug, but the relative is expecting some kind of greeting, and he loves high fives and fist bumps, so, problem solved. Being the intensely obedient child that my son is not, I know I gave a lot of hugs as a child that I didn’t much feel like giving, but I hadn’t given it much consideration beyond that. Lately I’ve read some articles about the value of letting children choose if and when to hug and kiss friends and family, and I am once again pleased to learn that my path of least resistance is also a very healthy one!
Emmerson believes that learning about consent starts from age zero. “Much is learned by young children from everyday experiences about whether or not their opinion is valued, and if they have any control over physical contact with others.” (Source)
5- I let the kids out of my sight on play dates.
Let’s not kid ourselves that play dates are just for the children. If all goes according to plan, play dates are a chance for my child to be entertained while playing with another child, and now that he’s three, I absolutely want that happening in another room. Preferably, a basement.
‘When adults are present, children in our culture look to the adults to solve their problems rather than figure out how to solve them themselves.
‘If an adult can’t literally leave, then she or he should be very busy with adult things – too busy to be interrupted, and should not allow interruption.
Want more reasons you are rocking at this whole parenting thing? Read more of my Team Science posts!