Being a Bully Parent: friendship with grown-ups and role modeling the right stuff.
Sometimes, I kill it as a parent. Those are the mornings when I get up early enough to shower, get dressed, make breakfast, pack lunches and have coffee before anyone else in the house is awake. In fact, I don't even have to wake them up--the smell of pancakes and coffee gently nudges them awake and they come downstairs eager to start the day. We have vibrant conversation around what we are going to do at work and school. We talk about the possibilities the weekend brings and what playdate or sport is next on the calendar. Everyone has a relaxing and delicious breakfast--then gets dressed quickly (in reasonable outfits) so we can get to school and work on time (gasp! sometimes early!). As I grab my bag and shut the door behind me, all I can hear in my mind is DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win". It is glorious.
There are the other mornings--they are scored to the instrumental that you hear at the circus. On these mornings, we are in a rush. Everyone scrambles to get dressed quickly, grab some toast and a coffee or milk. We quickly list the things that we're doing or expecting to do over the next couple of days. The likelihood that someone has misplaced a shoe, library book or jacket is quite high on one of these mornings. We still leave the house on time--and we feel good.
On occasion, my mornings are accompanied by the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage". We are running late. These mornings offer cereal for breakfast and rapid fire recall of what needs to get done just for that day. We still kiss goodbye and tell each other "I love you"--but DJ Khaled is nowhere to be found. It's okay--I love the Beastie Boys--and although everyone gets what they need to start the day...these are the mornings when I sometimes feel like I didn't knock it out of the park. These are the mornings when I reach out to my "village" to get some inspiration.
For me, "winning" as a parent isn't an individual sport--it's a team sport. I am lucky enough to have a group of 9 awesome fellow moms in my life. They are a blend of working moms (part time, full time) and stay at home moms...and they are immensely talented, insightful, and supportive. They have equally awesome husbands. They've helped me evolve my definition of a successful morning. It's not about reveling in the regret that I didn't have a proper omelette station at breakfast...it's about being thankful that we all had breakfast together and I modeled the right behavior for being an engaged and loving parent (even though it was super rushed). We are all passionate about giving our kids the skills they need to be socially confident--and that healthy behavior starts with us. Having the kids see that friendship is important all the way through adulthood is key.
Regardless of what kind of morning the kids have--I love asking them about their day. This isn't always easy. "How was your day?" can often be met with "good' or "fine" and little else. Our group of parents has a go to list of questions that can quickly determine how the rest of the day went. Kids are super smart. If you ever have the chance to do something as a unified force with other parents, we strongly recommend. Our kids know that the entire village asks the questions below after a long day:
- What games did you play at recess?
- Who did you sit with at lunch?
- Who made you smile today?
- What was the easiest work you did in class?
- What was the funniest thing that happened today?
- What is the coolest thing you learned today?
- Who were you nice to today? (and why?)
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate today?
- Tell me something new you learned about a friend or teacher today?
- What was the hardest part of today?
I love the discussion that these questions inspire. Great connection and dialogue with your kids? I call that a win.
Successful mornings come in all shapes and sizes. The same can be said about friendships. Having them is great, celebrating them is Bully.