The Top 3 “Mom” Mistakes: And How to Avoid Them
Moms typically make the same mistakes. How do I know this? I am a mom and I’ve definitely done all three of these. I know that these mistakes created a whole new set of problems for me, and it didn’t serve my daughter in any way. After counseling and listening to thousands of moms, I realized I’m not the only one; many moms have fallen into these same traps. Here’s one huge lesson I’ve learned from this. Sometimes what feels natural to moms doesn’t really serve our daughters or us.
1. Become a Mother Machine
A mother machine pushes hard to get things done. She is organized and she attends to everyone’s needs in her family.
“So what’s wrong with that?”
A Mother Machine pays attention to everyone else’s agenda but at her expense. She sacrifices for her family, which can sound noble, but in reality, no one wins if you become a mother machine.
Here’s why. You don’t feel like yourself anymore. You sacrifice your mental, physical, and spiritual health. You don’t get enough sleep, exercise, or downtime. You miss out on seeing your friends. You don’t feel like you are growing or learning anything new. Actually, underneath that forced smile, you are resentful at your partner or kids that they are enjoying their life and you are not.
When you are not paying attention to yourself, you are not aware of how tired you are, or stressed you are. You’re not aware that you’ve lost your zest for life.
The worst part of it is, that after all you’ve sacrificed, you still don’t feel appreciated or respected by your husband or daughter.
See Mother Machines have feelings that need to be attended to. If not the “mother machine” will break down and take it out on their family.
The truth is that you are so much more than a mother machine. Your family benefits when you take care of the wonderful facets that make up you.
This really is a win-win. This means when you get the sleep you need your family gets a rested you. This also applies to taking that girl’s trip, learning a new skill, taking dance lessons, or having a long lunch with a good friend. When you are enjoying your life you have much more patience with your family.
2. Give the Big Mother Lecture
Has your daughter ever made you mad resulting in you giving her the big, long, loud (sometimes repetitive) mother lecture?
Here’s another question. Did that give you the results you were looking for? In other words, after your lecture did your daughter say?
“Mom, thank you so much for showing me the error of my ways. I will change that behavior right now. You are the best mom ever.”
Now, I get why we give long mother lectures. We are tired of our daughters not cleaning their rooms, procrastinating, or blowing off curfews. We don’t want to ever deal with that behavior again, so we give a very strong, and something threatening lecture that was done with their behavior once and for all. If it seems you’re not getting the reaction you are hoping for, you amp it up. You raise your voice. You point out every single time she did this annoying behavior. You predict how it will ruin her life in the future. And if she still doesn’t seem to get the picture, you amp it up again with the big guns of labeling, shaming, and belittling.
See mother lectures escalate the drama between you and your daughter. One reason is that moms typically use the “mother lecture” at the worst possible time when her daughter is angry, stressed, upset, drunk, or high. Your daughter 99.99% of the time is going to be defensive, angry, shut down while you’re giving one. I know as a teen when I got the mother lecture, I left the planet. In other words, I didn’t hear a word my mom said.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t guide and protect your daughter–far from it. What I am saying is that the Mother Lecture is oftentimes not effective.
You have 365 days a year to guide, protect, and nurture your daughter. The timing of your conversation is crucial. You want to pick times that both you and your daughter are calm. Instead of a mother lecture, it should be a learning conversation. I teach about this in my book Dial Down the Drama.
Also, less is more. Don’t hit her with a hundred things to change. You want to address one point at a time. That’s about all she can process.
3. Lose Connection
Having a healthy connection with your daughter is foundational to parenting. This means that you have moments with your daughter every day that you have a positive experience with her. (If this is not your experience read Chapter 6: How to Like Your Daughter Again in my book Dial Down the Drama.)
The mistake that I see moms make is that their relationship with their daughters becomes one-dimensional. They become the 24/7 monitor of their daughter. “Eat your breakfast. Start your homework. Turn down your music. Change that shirt. Take off that eyeliner. Go to bed.”
This is not the connection I’m talking about. You want to stay connected to her heart. You want to stay connected to things that mean something to her. Sometimes that might seem frivolous like the cat YouTube video. Keeping a daily connection with your daughter buffers the relationship when things are hard and challenging.
Another mistake I see moms make is that when you feel your daughter has betrayed you or your values, you cut off the relationship. You back off and punish her by being emotionally unavailable. This can feel like a natural consequence, but many times this is when your daughter really needs you. If you caught your daughter sneaking out to see her boyfriend, you want to pull her in close, not cut her off. You are her lifeline when she gets in trouble. You want her to be able to come home where she is safe and protected.
If you have made some of these mistakes, don’t worry you’re not alone. It’s not too late to turn this around. This is why I wrote Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter—A Guide to Mother’s Everywhere that you can order on Amazon or pick up at Barnes and Noble.