To understand the role of a parent, one must first understand the importance of being a parent. Being present in a child’s life is one thing, being active in it is another. In today’s MomViews segment, Janeth Paez, writer and blogger at Motherhood full of Dreams shares her thoughts on how she instills confidence in her son and daughter.
MomViews: Family seems to be a huge part of your blog’s lifeline. Most of your posts offer great how-to guides and more. How did your family inspire you to blog?
Janeth Paez: My family is my heartbeat, they are the reason why I do almost everything I do. My son and daughter make me want to be the best I can be. They, along with my husband inspired me to start my blog. I wanted to capture the moments of my experience in motherhood, a place that can be scary sometimes yet so beautiful and inspiring. I wanted to start writing again, something I gave up right before becoming a mom. Writing is my release, my euphoria. Having moved to Florida from New Jersey as a new mom, I felt alone for a long time. Six years after the move, I took a writing class, a friend mentioned blogging and voila, my blog, Motherhood Full of Dreams was born. Through my blog, I’ve been able to connect with other parents, mothers who could relate and I’ve made cyber friends. It’s been an amazing journey.
MV: You’ve spent almost two wonderful decades with your husband. I will be getting married this month and I have to know what is your secret to a successful, long-time marriage?
JP: Yes we’ve been together since 1999 and married 9 years. I have a few good tips for a successful marriage. Number one, for me, is always communicating your feelings, your needs, your thoughts and having your partner respond with care, not in a dismissive way. And it hasn’t always been that way. You know how they say sometimes you have to ask for what you want? Well over the years I’ve had to remind my husband that its important to me that he listens, not just hear me and understand my points of view. He almost had to learn to do this and it’s worked for us. The second thing for him, is that he needs to feel loved and wanted. We always hear that women need to feel this way but men do too. Throw kids into the mix and it’s easy to lose your one on one connection, kids sleeping in your bed, kids not allowing for quality time, but you have to carve that time out and give your husband some undivided attention sometimes as well.
MV: In your post, Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me, you mentioned how your daughter is going to be a super star. In what ways do you encourage your daughter to continue to dance and sing?
JP: She has this fearlessness, she’s not shy and I want to bottle that up and let her keep that forever. She loves to sing at home and dance, put on little shows and we give her the attention she asks for. I try not to shut her down because I can tell she loves doing these songs and dance. I play my music for her and teach her lyrics, kids pick up things so quickly, it’s a gift. I tell both of my children all the time that they can be whatever their little hearts desire, and to never give up on dreams. I’m excited for their future and what they will do and they know this.
MV: How does your husband help you build your children’s confidence?
JP: My husband is the opposite of me, I can be a worry wart mom, afraid of roller coasters and swimming without floaties while he is more easy going. While we both try to get the kids to understand that being confident is a feeling I think he sometimes does a better job of showing them. When it comes to swimming and trying new rides, or teaching them sports, he is the one to show them they can do it.
MV: What advice would you give a parent who wants to provide the right amount of confidence for their child(ren) without setting their expectations too high?
JP: I think there is a fine line between confidence and conceit. Tell your kids they are beautiful, teach them manners, teach them to reflect. When my daughter was 3, she had a bad habit of replying, “I know”, when people would say to her, “you are such a beautiful little girl.” She picked this up from her father who would ask her if she knew how beautiful she was. “Yes daddy, of course.” But it didn’t sound right for her to reply to people that way, so we worked on getting her to say Thank you instead. After a few weeks, she stopped replying, “I know.” We’ve had a harder time building up my son’s confidence. It’s made me realize that some children pick up confidence easier than others. I know it seems to him that I am harder on him than I am on his little sister. We focus more on his studies since he is going to second grade and she is just now entering VPK. We try to find balance in how much we ask of him with how often we praise him. Stop and listen to yourselves sometimes, pick out how often you say good job, nicely done, or just give a simple compliment to your children. Maybe you can do it a little more often. I would never tell my children that they are better than anyone else, but equally important, absolutely. And to me, they are my world.