This post has to start with a disclaimer. I am not a parenting expert. I’ve only been a parent for two years. I’ve only ever been a parent to my two girls. Anything I’m about to share is simply what I’ve learned so far. I share because I hope it might be a help to you on your journey.
Being a mom is weird sometimes. You give birth to a tiny bundle of baby squishiness.
A tiny bundle with big cheeks.
After a day or two, you get sent home with this baby, and you’re in charge. The learning curve on motherhood is intense. I know I learned to do all kinds of things I’d never done before—change a diaper in the dark, nurse a baby, or get a poopy onesie off a squirming baby without getting poo everywhere.
I also learned to narrate my every move for Joanna. You know, to help with language acquisition…and to fill the silence of my house.
“We’re going to the grocery now. Let’s get our coats on. One arm in. Two arms in. Yay! Now we need shoes. Mommy has her shoes on. It’s your turn now. Let’s put those shoes on. One, two buckle my shoe…”
So many one-sided conversations.
And then a weird thing happened. Joanna started talking back. Not in a sassy way, but she started responding. We started to actually have conversations. Now, she frequently makes me laugh with her responses. So not only does she reply, but she’s funny too.
But anyway, when Joanna was about two, I realized I was still doing a lot of one-sided conversations. I was giving her directions, and just not expecting a response. Even though she was fully capable of responding and obeying.
For example, I would tell her it’s time to clean up, but then I wouldn’t expect her to do what I had just asked. Just like when she was 3 months old, I’d tell her it was time to put a coat on, but never expected her to actually do it (because she couldn’t).
In doing this, I was weakening the power of my words. She was learning that she didn’t need to do what I said. And I could tell that I needed to say what I mean and mean what I say.
Sounds simple, right? In theory, it is. But in actuality, it is hard to make sure that I am only saying what I am willing to follow through on. Yet talking to my girls this way has be so beneficial. I feel like it has helped them to be more obedient and responsive to me.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have plenty of times when I say something to the girls, and they totally ignore me, and I don’t follow through to make sure they listen. Generally, though, I am careful to say what I mean and follow through on it.
I still narrate my every move (even when I’m alone at the grocery store…it’s a hard habit to break). But I am also much more deliberate with my words and requests.
Don’t miss a day!