My mornings start like this: I turn on my 9 year old’s lamp, rub his back softly, “Good morning my sweet boy…time to get up.”
William responds with, “Ahhh, Mommmm. I was having the best dream, whyyyy?”
In my soft voice, “Come on Boo Boo, I let you sleep late, time to get up now.”
His response is just mumbles.
I go back 10 minutes later, and he’s still under the covers. My soft voice has become more like a possessed animal, “Child, get up!”
By 8 a.m. I’m rushing him out and he’s all cranky, but he’s so cute and sweet with his cuddly face!
It seems like this is just my life with William for everything.
“William, I’m going to sign you up for basketball!”
“Mom, nooo, my legs hurt already just thinking about that.”
“Let’s go for a walk and spend some quality time together.”
“Mom, I’m watching something and I did enough walking today.”
Then there’s his sudden interest in things:
“Mom, I want to be a chef!”
“OMG that’s precious, let’s get him a chef’s coat and some kid cookbooks and supplies,” and then he cooks with said cookbook ONCE!
“I want to play baseball when I grow up!”
“Oh honey, he actually wants to be outside! Let’s sign him up!” But he only thinks about it when it’s time to sign up again.
“Mom, I want to play the violin!”
We rent a violin, and he plays at school. We’re still hopeful that this one sticks.
I think back on my own life and all of the things I thought I wanted to do…and you know what? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So, how in the world do I motivate my kid to stick to something when I’m not sure I can do that for myself? Question of the year right? Well, at least for all my fellow ADD/ADHD parents, this may be a constant struggle for us.
I decided to ask William what helps to motivate him as we were walking on one of those forced walks. His answers surprised me, “Well, Mom, you motivate me by always letting me know how special I am and telling me I can do anything. When you hug me and help me do the things I want, I’m motivated to keep doing it. Dad motivates me, too, when he fusses. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it helps sometimes.”
I was so surprised to hear this. All this time I was worried that I wasn’t doing enough to help him reach his goals. I doubted my parenting, and here he is telling me that everything we already do is enough. In these moments of parenting, I feel validated, I feel good, and I feel motivated.
So, the moral of the story is, ask them what helps, talk things out, let them try everything they show interest in. They will be motivated by your actions and words, and you will be motivated by their love and growth.