Michaela S. Cox
My Manners in Motherhood
There are two saying that we have heard throughout our whole lives one being mind your manners and that manners matter. I think most people are in agreement that manners most definitely matter and enjoying seeing people who mind and use their manners. As a mother I have strived to teach my daughter that manners matter and she needs to mind her manners. I want my daughter to be polite, considerate, courteous, thoughtful, respectful and polite. My husband and I started this early on in her life and in our home and family. We wanted her to learn and instill in her the idea of saying please, thank you and your welcome, excuse me and God bless you. Also we ask for her to say yes and no mommy and daddy or Yes/No Ma’am and yes/no Sir. I would argue that the idea of manners goes beyond words and that there is an action component to the matter of manners.
Moreover and perhaps more importantly my husband and I want to also see our daughter do these through her conduct not just in words such as asking to be excused from the dinner table and eating but to wait patiently and politely to be excused for leaving the dinner table. Also for her to speak respectfully and not have any smart mouth, sass or back talk. Also in the manner in which she treats people, putting others first through sharing and caring and taking turns among others. In considering what I seek to teach my daughter it lead to me to wonder about what am I demonstrating before her about how I as her mommy mind my own manners. For its through our example that our babies learn and we teach them the most. As a mommy which manners are I demonstrating or showing or not demonstrating or showing my daughter. What does my mommy manners show and teach her about being considerate, kind, thoughtful, courteous, kind, gracious, thankful, respectful and polite.
The fact is that how can I as a mommy expect or ask something of my daughter if I myself do not even do so. That would be rather hypocritical of me and show her a double standard that would teach and demonstrate lessons of no value. It is true in this respect that I am so very far from perfect and in so many other areas that is equally true that I lack in perfection and there is always and forever much room for improvement. Although I can say what I have done, the ways that I have demonstrated the value and importance of manners and that manners matter and how I have tried to implement them into the daily minute to minute mommy moments. For better or worse I started with my daughter even before she could talk I started saying to her thank you for things. We make her say Mrs., Mr. or MS name of adults or her teachers and so forth. She says please, thank you, and excuse me. If not asked for properly I wait for the right way of asking for things that are requested are not given in response to I want or give me. Two of the big ones right now are fist knocking on doors before entering and checking to see if anyone is the bathroom before just walking. Secondly not interrupting peoples conversations and if it absolutely can’t wait then say please excuse me One of my new favorite mommyisms (things moms say to kids) I heard from my husband for the first time is ‘This is an A and B conversation and you need to C-see your way out of it’. I’m afraid my daughter will being hearing that a lot from now on out. Also a real big one for me is that the ways in which we chose and use our words and that words can be used to harm or help people and we use words that help and not harm. Examples of this would no name calling or using ugly or not nice words. We should use words that are encouraging, loving, sweet, kind and helpful.
As a mommy teaching my daughter about manners and that manners matter is just the first part of manners mattering. The second part is ensuring I demonstrate and practice what I preach and teach. Its also being aware and conscience of how I speak, interact and conduct myself with her, my family and people equally publicly and privately. The biggest part of me ensuring that I am demonstrating for my daughter what I want her to do and learn is for myself to do what I expect and ask of her. I as my daughter mommy I try not to interrupt her if all possible. I always try my very best to say please go do whatever it is at the time. Personally for me was an important and big thing to ensure that I asked my daughter respectfully to do things one it teaches her the same. Also have often thought or wonder how it makes kids feel when just being barked at to do things like does that make them feel as if they are dogs or servants and not being respected as the adults we are raising and hope they become.
Another immensely and profoundly big one for me is that I remember seeing parents growing up and talking to their kids in any manner they chose, how they spoke their words and which words they choose to speak. They would speak to their kids anyway they saw fit or at least not being careful in their word choices. Words have a most profound significance, influence and power on people’s lives and especially more so with children. Part of this is how and in what tone we use when speak to our babies. This is an area for me personally that I self admittedly need huge improvement most likely my tone or the amount of yelling or shouting and its probably one biggest reason for my mommy valley moments that I have experienced through my six years of motherhood. I know that can be a hard one because getting kids to listen is a struggle especially the first time and seems like, at least for me, that it seemed and seems to be the only way to get my daughter’s attention although I always did and do hate it. Hopefully I have made headway in this part of my own mommy manners. I know manners matter especially as a mommy and I know that my manners definitely matter to my sweet precious baby girl.
Another fundamental component to this is using our tongues carefully and choosing our words carefully. As a mommy I have worked really hard to be careful in my word choices in describing my daughter, her choices and her actions. I think it extremely hard for kids to tell and know the difference between you are acting like a spoiled brat, a brat, you are acting badly or whatever instead of you are a brat, you are spoiled brat or you are being bad. I have always, always tried my utmost and very best to stay far, far away form these types of expressions, sayings or word choices. I have usually said that makes me happy or unhappy never ever attached it to or associated with my love for my daughter. Also another example is that of when my daughter was behaving in a way I did not like or was not pleased with or was bad choice I would say her you are being interesting right. As she got older and was able to understand I would say and ask was that a green, yellow or red choice. I would always and do whenever possible praise and encourage constantly how may daughter is, her positive qualities and attributes and her good choices and behavior. We must be as mommies diligent in our word choice and choosing carefully what we say and guard our tongues for words have power and influence that lasts longer and way beyond the time it took say them. We could tell our babies 100 good, positive and wonderful things and it only takes one and that will be the one they remember for the rest of their lives. In all of these areas of being a mommy to me this is how I can mind my manners as a mommy and how I demonstrate to my daughter that manners matter.
For me as a mommy what I teach and demonstrate before my daughter regarding the profound importance of manners and that manner matter is a good meter for measuring how I am doing as her mommy. As a mommy is there much to be desired in my minding of my own manners and is there much perfection lacking absolutely. Although I can always strive to do better, keep improving, do my very best, strive to have more mountaintop mommy moments and turn the mommy valley moments into mountaintops moments by fixing and correcting my mistakes. Also it is in and through teaching the important value of manners and that manners matter I am giving my daughter a basis for building strong character. I as a mommy desire, hope and want to create a strong foundation of my house of cards of motherhood that is kind, courteous, thoughtful, considerate, polite, gracious, thankful and respectful of my daughter, my family and people. We as mothers will build and create such a foundation for our babies by minding our own manners and demonstrating graciousness, gratitude, kindness, respect, consideration, courteousness and thoughtfulness.