I wrote the post below for this kidspot.com.au recently… I thought I would share it here too.
Nothing motivates me more to be the best version of myself then being a mother.
When I became a mum I had no idea how much I would want to be everything I could be for this perfect little person. The reality is that I fail my kids regularly.
I realized pretty early on that my kids often reflect aspects of my behavior back to me! They were picking up on the little hang-ups I had and saying things the way I did. From that point I started to really analyze what I was saying and doing.
One thing I noticed that they had picked up from me is that I have a tendency, or a natural inkling, to looooooong… Long for a big house by the beach; loooong to be taller and prettier and have curly hair; loooong to have the latest fashions and wear them while travelling in France; long for natural wavy hair that bounced carelessly around my shoulders; loooong for the latest camera; looooooooooong for travel… or time… or just more! The thing is, I worked out that this kind of thinking was making me miserable! Really miserable!
So I started to focus on what I had and what I loved about my life…. and lo-and-behold, I felt better!
Unfortunately for my kids, they had been well and truly absorbing all my looonging way before I realized it wasn’t good for me or for them! When our girls were 3 and 6yrs old, I was so struck by how much they LOOOOONGED for everything. They wanted so-and-so’s skirt, and this, and this, and THIS! at the shops and wished they had long hair (when they had short) and short (when they had long). (Hmmm, I think that might be me, not them!)
Even when they got what they wanted, there was always something else they wanted! Anyways it was catching and they had a bad case sadly inherited from ME! So I had to fix this and make things better!
I had worked out for myself that being grateful and enjoying what I had, and noticing the small things, was making me happy – but how on earth was I going to illustrate this to my two small kids?
This desire to communicate with my kids – that feeling of being heavy with longing – was where my idea for Ruby Who? came from.
I wanted to show my daughters that all that longing for things was making us heavy. I had been making a few little films and was rather obsessed, so I got a couple of good friends on board – Worked with amazing Natala Stutez on the film and for the book the VERY talented illustrator Alarna Zinn – and made a film and a gorgeous illustrated book called Ruby Who? We now sell these to schools, councilors and parents who, like me, want to help their kids see how loooonging ruins the fun!
Because of the book, my kids now really understood the concept. All I would have to say was…. “man you sound like “Ruby Who!” and they would know exactly what I was talking about. However, more often than not, when I was openly wishing for something I would get the same from my little ladies: “Mum, you sound like Ruby Who!’ And yes, inevitably I did!
My kids are now 10 and 13 yrs old. In no way do I think I am a poster-child for teaching good self-esteem and happiness within yourself. However, I do know that I am a major influence on my kids. Not so much in what I SAY, but in what I DO and how I behave. So for me, changing and learning and being ok with who I am, and not spending all my time on Facebook or Instagram wishing I was so-and-so who’s traveling Europe – but really being with my kids and delighting in the life I am living – I think this is the greatest way I have learnt to help establish the same in my children.
If you like the sound of our little book and film please do spread the word. You can check out the site for our film and book called ‘Ruby Who?’ if you haven’t seen it.
Happy Friday everyone!