Little Miss Know It All? Give Her a Break!
Every once in a while I notice that my children have fallen into the trap of thinking that I am the family expert. I have to admit, it’s kind of nice for awhile.
No one questions me. I do things the way I want to do them and the kids are impressed by my knowledge. They don’t know that half the time I am doing the best I can with the limited information I have at hand and in some cases, I have no information at all – that is “wing and a prayer” time.
The children think it’s amazing that I can easily drive around our city without a map, make perfect braids, talk to doctors and teachers without feeling intimidated and know when they are not telling me the “whole” truth about something.
You and I know that so much of being a working mom is about doing our best, making it up as we go along, fixing mistakes as quickly as possible and allowing ourselves to be imperfect at times. If they only knew!
Let go of Being the Expert:
But what is the cost of having your children expect you to be the expert? Do you take on more than you can handle? Do you create more stress than is needed? Do you leave your spouse or mate feeling like they can’t jump in and take over?
When the kids run past their father who is reading the paper to ask you to help with their homework while you are making dinner, emptying the dishwasher, giving the dog his medicine, putting clothes in the dryer and trying to get to your yoga class, you have led them to believe TOO much in your expertise.
In my house, I have declared my husband as Dr. Daddy. All ailments go to him – he knows best what to do, he stays calm and the kids now see him as the go-to-guy for boo boos. In fact, until the age of 6, each one of our children thought he was a REAL doctor.
I also promote the expertise of the children to each other. They are all great at many things (much better than me, in fact) and I like them to use their siblings as resources.
Share Your Expertise:
There is a lot of knowledge that you have to share with your children without being the expert on every subject. I was raised by a single mother who knew a lot, but didn’t set herself up as a “know it all.” She left me with very practical tips based on her expertise. Here are just a few that I remember to this day and will serve me well throughout my lifetime.
1. Always have an up-to-date passport. You never know when you will have an opportunity to travel.
2. Whatever moisturizing regimen you have for your face, include your neck (I wish I had started this one sooner.)
3. Wear neutral shoes so that your outfit stands out. Your feet should “fade away.” (I break this one occasionally, but like the concept.)
4. Everyone should learn how to drive a stick shift (again, you never know when you might need this skill!)
Coach Me Quick Tips for Letting Go of Stress and Sharing Your Expertise:
1. Who can you nominate as an expert in your family? Maybe a teenager who knows how to use the remote?
2. The next time your kids ask you a question, have them figure out the answer without your help.
3. Identify a few pieces of information that you want to be sure you pass on to your children and then, pass them on (more than once.)
4. Let your kids and spouse bask in the glory of being the expert sometimes. After all, it’s fun right?