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In the past few weeks I had really sweet experiences with friends’ paying lovely compliments to me via my kids.

Like last night when my neighbors came for dinner with their new baby, and over stew and winter salad Helena complained how her mom (that would be me) yelled at her in the mornings. “Well,” my friend said. “When I see how bright and funny and well-behaved you and your brother are, I think what a great mom you and Lucas have.” Which shut my kid up real quick-like.

Or a few weeks ago, my oldest friend Amanda visited from St. Louis. While she, the kids and I ate banana apple muffins in the living room on Saturday morning, Amanda told my daughter what a great mom she has, how she has an interesting career and takes them on cool trips and  some other stuff I forget because I was just so touched and grateful for her friendship, but also that there was someone other than me pointing out my finer points to my kids. Marketing experts know that promotion is far more powerful when coming from a credible third party — in this case, someone who is not naggingly demanding respect and gratitude all the live-long day (that would be me).

Which brings up a big question for single moms: For all you do for your kids, who do you have in your life to point out those things to your kid? In a perfect world, each of us might have a spouse or partner who genuinely adores you, and organically displays that adoration through myriad words and gestures. In the absence of such a partner, who puts into perspective for your kids what a great cook, or hard worker, or loving parent you are?

How do your kids learn to appreciate you?

Or do they?

Often, I feel like my kid’s really don’t appreciate me as much as I think they should (what can I say, I have an ego — it needs stroking from those I love most!). But then I realize that they are listening all the time. I hear Helena telling her friends or the parents I’m meeting for the first time at soccer practice: “My mom is a VERY GOOD writer! And she has a radio show and is on TV!” I realize that she listens when my friends come over and we talk business, and she pays attention when I tell her about my day.

And Lucas goes beyond in his over-exaggerated way to be positive, will say: “Mommy, those muffins are looking GOOD!” or “Thank you for making movie night.” Maybe it his naturally sunny disposition, or my nightly drilling of gratitude practices or constant “What do you say …?” (Acceptable answers: a) Please, b) Thank-you). Or maybe I have nagged my kid into a gratitude stupor that extends to his mother.

 

 

Share in the comments:  Without a spouse, who in your life helps your kids appreciate you?

The post Who tells single moms’ kids nice things about their mom? appeared first on Emma Johnson.

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Moms and money! In this episode I interview two amazing women:

Mandi Woodruff, 28, is personal finance correspondent at Yahoo! and podcaster at Brown Ambition (with recent Like a Mother guest Tiffany ‘The Budgetnista’ Aliche). She also has an awesome boyfriend (they live in my neighborhood and have had dinner with my kids and me. Two words: A. Dorbs.) Why is she having such an existential crisis about when to have a baby? Mandi and talk through this very common challenge of women her age — the pressure to have your career, finances and love life in perfect shape before bringing a little person into the world.

I also interview Laura Vanderkam, mom of 4, and author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, and I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most of Their Time (in which she quotes moi). Laura is a student of America’s time use– especially families with professional mothers. She breaks down the myths about how much time we all think we spend with our kids, how much time we actually spend with our kids, and how much time our children actually need us. You’ll be shocked and liberated to go live a better life!

Loving this podcast? Follow on RSS or  iTunes:

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The post Se. 1, Ep. 8 When’s the PERFECT time to have a baby? And why moms are so so stressed out (but don’t have to be) appeared first on Emma Johnson.

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I often hear from moms who complain:

“My boyfriend doesn’t like how I discipline my teenagers. That is so messed up — what does he know about teenagers! His kids are in GRADE SCHOOL!”

or

“My boyfriend and I fight all the time about how I raise my kids. Makes me crazy — they are my kids, he needs to mind his own business.”

Both of these are wrong. Here’s why:

  1. Kids are not Smurfs or Northern hairy-nosed wombats. Kids are human children. There are billions of them. Your boyfriend was a kid, and he knows other human kids. He is familiar with their habits and species, and because he, too, is a human he has opinions about their behavior and rearing.
  2. If you tell your significant other: “You do not get a say in my family,” you are telling him: “You are not part of my family.” You are telling him that he does not matter and you will never fully commit to him.
  3. His relationship with your kids is limited. Part of an adult-child relationship is the grown-up laying down rules and issuing consequences for the kid. Restrict that, and the bond between your boyfriend and kids is restricted.
  4. You’re a control freak. Disciplining kids is just one more goddamned thing you have to do. Why would you turn down an opportunity to outsource that to a willing volunteer?
  5. You’re unwilling to compromise. Yes, at the end of the day, you are the parent and he is not. You get final say. But if you are to have a future with this guy, he must also have a say in how things go down in your house. If you draw a hard line in the sand he is never allowed to cross, nothing good can ever come of that.
  6. Telling others that you are the only person qualified to discipline your kids is a symptom of the canonization of motherhood that oppresses women. In other words: Yes, being a mother is important and fulfilling work. But there is not a whole lot that you can offer your kids that someone else can’t do every once in a while. And if you buy into the notion that you and only you can nurture your kid, then you buy into the culture that tells women that they are bad moms for working outside the home and having sex with men who are not their fathers — just like that nice guy who wants to give your bratty toddler a time out.

 

Are you listening to my podcast? Check it on iTunes:

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The post Why your boyfriend gets a say about how your kids are disciplined appeared first on Emma Johnson.

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