Moms-do you feel guilty? Do you beat yourself up over being late for a pick-up or serving dinner from McD’s in the car on the way to yet another soccer game? Do you feel like less than a perfect specimen of motherhood than your friends and neighbors seem to be?
You might want to do 2 things, according to Dr. Sheila Shuller Coleman-one is to read her faith-based book, “Mommy Grace, Erasing the Mommy Guilt” and the other is to stop worrying so much that it takes the joy out of being a parent.
Dr. Coleman, 58, is the daughter of Rev. Robert H. Shuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. She is also a mom of 4 grown sons-ages 21, 25, 26 and 28. The author lives with her husband of 30 years, Jim, is the diverse community of Old Town Orange in California. An interesting lady, Coleman said she decided to write this book, which is filled with real life anecdotal from her life as a mom, teacher and as an administrator of a private Christian school to counteract all the advice books that have varying opinions on what today’s moms need to do while raising their kids.
“I didn’t write this as another advice book for moms, there are enough of those. What I did want is to show moms that they need to take it easy on themselves. In my job as principal, I hear everyday from moms of students, teachers and secretaries lamenting about their bad mornings-they woke up late, didn’t remember to make the kids lunches, all the little truly insignificant things that in the grand scheme mean nothing-yet they were beating themselves up about what awful mothers they were. “
“It’s the phenomenon of Mommy Guilt. Other mothers are doing the same trivial wrong-doings, yet they won’t admit it-so we all go on feeling that we’re the only ones who have scarred our children for life with our terrible parenting skills.”
“I decided to write this book to show moms that all of us have yelled at our kids inappropriately, used the television as a baby sitter instead of reading, sent them to school in a dirty shirt because we didn’t do the laundry in a timely manner and that the true “supermom” really DOES NOT have it all together. Just the opposite!”
“The true supermom is someone who is real and brave enough to admit her limits and asks God for help.”
Dr. Coleman says her biggest inspiration was her own mom. “She’s just so awesome. No one actually knew just how much a part of my dad’s ministry Mom was. She worked full time, ministered, raised us, motivated all those around her and she did it with a smile on her face.”
Other writers that are high on Coleman’s list of good reading for moms include the books by Dr. Phil (Phil McGraw, who also has a talk show) because he doesn’t mess around or skirt issues-he cuts to the chase and makes those he talks with take responsibility for their actions.
Another writer is Howard Gardner, who is actually a scholarly author who writes on the multiple intelligence theory. Coleman feels that most school systems only test and teach 2 areas of learning. Those that deal with the languages and the spatial arenas ( math and sciences).
“However, Gardner has discovered and written about 9 other areas of intelligence that are overlooked. Many children do not show how intelligent they are in the ones that are provided by the school districts and therefore never get to show the areas in which they shine.”
As for thoughts or fears for today’s moms and kids, Coleman says we should all be aware of all the technologies that are available today.
“When my kids were growing up, if someone was going to be a bully-it began and ended on the playground, now there are so many social websites that bullying is going global. There is a danger that parents and kids need to be aware of and learn how to use these tools to their benefit while acknowledging that there can be pitfalls.”
As a parent and a school administrator, Dr. Coleman suggests that parents turn off the television before dinner and leave it off. “I encourage parents to read to their kids, even when they’re in junior high. My husband and I would cuddle up with our boys and read out loud many books-including the Narnia series. They never missed the television.”
As for what moms should do that is important and that they may truly be missing?
“Be kind to yourself. Love yourself as much as you love your children. Moms neglect themselves way too much.”