I had a lot of plans when I learnt that I was pregnant with my first little girl. I wanted to read her classic literature every night and take her out to play outside every day; I did not want her to sit in front of the television as I caught up on work and I wanted to make time to teach her how to do crafts.
This was, of course, before I was running around in my sustainable maternity wear, trying to keep the whole household together, raising the healthiest child I possibly could and trying to remember who I was. Things did not turn out as I had planned in my naïve and idealist way. I don’t have time to take her to play outside every day and despite my insistence, she still wants me to read her Sleeping Beauty rather than Dickens.
These last five years have been a reality check, as to how much I cannot control certain things when children are involved. What I do say to my child is something that I can control however, and I do. Words are pillars to strengthening or breaking down a child’s inner self. Some things I have said to scare her with the best intentions, while other things I have said to reassure her that no matter what happens in the world, I will always be there.
1. “You are loved”- In the oddest places and at the oddest times, I like to stop whatever I am doing, hug her tightly and remind her that she is loved.
2. “I need your help”- Like any other parent, I like to guide my children but even more than that, I love to make them feel like they are needed.
3. “Tell me a story”- Triggering her imagination is important for me to see as a mother and I often ask her to tell me a story about anything she wishes.
4. “Don’t make me see the red dot”- I have told my daughter that whenever she lies, a red dot appears on her forehead, which helps in keeping her in check.
5. “How are you?”- I like asking my five-year-old this question to understand if there is anything troubling her.
6. “You look beautiful”- I do make sure that I tell my child that she is beautiful and show her how her differences make her a beauty in her own right.
7. “I believe in you”- If I don’t say these words, who will?
8. “I am here”- While encouraging her to take risks even at a young age, I want her to know in the back of her mind that I will always be there.
9. “You did your best”- As much as I want to push my child, I do say these words as I know she can be as hard on herself as any other person.
10. “I missed you”- Everyday – when she is back from school or I am back from work.
I think we all believe that our child deserves the best compliments. No matter how busy our day can be as moms (and working moms), we can be certain that this amount of words would mean the world to them.