There are amazing, devoted, wonderful, deliberate mothers out there, and each week we’ll spotlight one of them here at The Power of Moms. Do you know a mom who deserves a little time in the spotlight? Email rachelle.price (at) powerofmoms.com. We can’t wait to meet her.
Introducing Tiffany Erickson
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have two girls and two boys, ages 9 to 2.
What have been your favorite parts of motherhood?
I love teaching my children–anything from manners to responsibility to how to make macaroni and cheese. I also love to answer their questions. My favorite reply is, “Do you really want to know or are you just asking?” If they really want to know, they get an earful. And hugs and kisses and snuggles of course.
What have been the hardest parts of motherhood for you?
The lack of control is hard for me. You can’t plan your night’s sleep, their moods, or your own schedule. There is also a lack of control in outcome and behavior. I used to think if I were the perfect mom I would have perfect kids. So I would work hard to be the perfect mom. I would get the kids enough sleep, provide a healthy breakfast, have an organized home, hold weekly family nights, etc and there was still chaos and meltdowns at times. I would think, What more can I do? I had to come to grips with the fact that sometimes it is their deal and not mine.
What has surprised you about motherhood?
I didn’t realize how grouchy I can get in the middle of the night and how much more I love my kids when they are sleeping. I am also surprised how individual and different each child is from the get-go. And how you have to teach, motivate, help, and discipline each one so differently.
What have you learned from motherhood? Please share a specific story or incident that really taught you something.
Motherhood has taught me so much about God’s character. I used to see Him as a bully in the sky inflicting His whims upon people. Then I had my first child and stuck a blue sucker thing up her nose and buckled her into a car seat against her will, and I knew in a moment that God is just a loving father who is doing what is best for us, but we don’t have the perspective to understand. Just like the blue sucky thing, life experiences seems painful and unnecessary at times, but they are for our good.
What coping strategies do you have for getting through hard times and hard days?
I go to time out–literally. I close my bedroom door and lay on my bed in the fetal position until I can face motherhood again. By this point I don’t care if the kids eat straight sugar, beat each other up, or watch violent movies. Just don’t bug mom for a minute.
My latest technique is what we call a “Sound Party”. The kids and I scream at the top of our lungs together. It lets out a lot of frustration and it is better to scream with your kids than at them, right? And then we laugh, cry, sigh and sing together during our “Sound Party”. We like to do this in the car. You’d be surprised how good it feels to get out so many emotions.
What would you say are the most important things a mom can do? What would you say are the most important things for a mom NOT to do?
My answer today is: The most important thing a mom can do is foster confidence in a child. A confident kid doesn’t do drugs, go out with the wrong boys/girls, bully or get bullied. The trick is how to get confident kids. And I am still not sure I have the answer. I don’t think confidence comes just from talents and praise. If confidence is about your talents, someone is always better than you. And if it is about praise, your confidence is based on other people thinking you are great. I think true confidence in oneself comes from unconditional love, doing hard things, learning skills, developing talents, making good choices, and understanding who you really are.
It is also important not give your kids too much stuff, especially when you can give them everything.
What are some unique and interesting aspects of your family or your approach to mothering?
I try not to be a helicopter mom. I don’t swoop in and save the day, like if they forget their homework or have lost all their shoes. I want them to learn to be responsible problem-solvers so I say, “You are competent and capable. What are you going to do about it?” My son wore his slippers to the dentist office last month because that was his solution to losing all his shoes.
Also, I think I praise a bit differently than most. For example, after the kids have a performance of some sort I don’t say right away, “You did such a great job.” Rather, I ask them how they felt about their performance: “How did you feel about that?” “Did you do your best?” “Do you feel good about it?” Then I give them a compliment. Because in the end it is what they think about themselves that is the most important.