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14 Signs That You Have An Unconventional Mom

14 Signs That You Have An Unconventional Mom

Unconventional moms break the traditional roles of motherhood, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make excellent mothers. My own mom dabbled on the side of the unconventional mostly because she was ahead of her time. I didn’t realize this until I got older and became a mother myself, which is probably why I turned out the way I did. I became “that mom” — the one who wears the weird shirts and the cool shoes, the one the kids want to talk to, and the one “who let her daughter dye her hair pink.”

Being unconventional doesn’t mean you break with all tradition. In fact, we grew up with several traditions, especially around holiday time. My mom and I still appreciate and pass along things like etiquette and good manners to our children. We insist on thank-you notes and shaking hands and giving up seats for elderly. My parenting is unconventional in part due to my upbringing, my reaction to the cards I’ve been dealt, and the choices my husband and I have made because both of our children have congenital and chronic illnesses. We want to give our children ample opportunities to make choices, to make mistakes, and to make their lives great — which is the goal of every parent. I know I’m unconventional in my parenting, but I’m okay with being a bit outside the box.

Wondering if your mom is unconventional? Here’s a list of qualities to look for.

1. She doesn’t expect perfection.

This is a big deal. We live in a world where everyone has to win and everything has to be the best. Of course she hopes you’ll succeed and she’ll be your biggest cheerleader, she just won’t push you to win, win, win at any cost. You don’t have to be the best. You just have to be you, and that’s good enough for her.

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2. She lets you experiment.

Life is an adventure. You have to stick your neck out a little. You have to experiment. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes not so good. Like the time you poured dish soap in the jacuzzi to make bubbles and ended up with a foamy disaster. Or the time you thought you’d test your independence that first time your parents went out of town and, well, you know the rest. But experimenting also gave you the courage, skills, and knowledge you still use to this day. You can thank your unconventional mom for that freedom.

3. She looks pretty in party dresses, but can still rock graphic tee’s and Chuck Taylor’s.

Her sense of style may not fit the usual “Mom” mold, and maybe she teeters on the embarrassing side, but like it or not, her unconventional fashion is no statement at all. It’s just her being her, and that in itself is a statement you should be proud of. What’s she’s doing is raising you to like yourself and be proud of yourself (to borrow a phrase from Bridget Jones’s Diary) “just as you are.” I’m proud of my collection of high-tops and retro t-shirts, but love to put on the fancy stuff too.

4. She’ll never be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Or maybe she will, simply because it’s hot outside and you’re both hungry.

The point I’m trying to make is that she’s no stereotype. If she’s doing anything that fits a mold, it’s probably an accident or because she’s choosing it for another reason — that reason is usually you. She loves you and no matter what she does, against the grain or not, you’re her priority.

5. She’s not afraid to pursue her passion.

Yes, you’re her priority, but she’s not afraid to go for an opportunity in life. She’s just really good at making it all work out. Though your schedule may look like someone dropped ink on a checkerboard, be sure your mom’s got it (or at least, really good at pretending to have it) under control. My mom was a registered nurse who did the night shift to make it work for us. With three kids, our calendar looked like the cat threw up on it.

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6. She lets you dye your hair, get piercings, or dress differently.

Though this isn’t always the case, unconventional moms are usually way more lenient in the “get your freak on” department. This is especially good for teens exploring their inner selves. My mom didn’t love it, but she didn’t ground me for life when I graduated high school with purple hair.

7. She talks to you about the taboo stuff.

That’s right — I mean the stuff other parents don’t want to talk about. Sex, drugs, alcohol, STDs, birth-control, whatever. She’s so willing to talk about it that your friends come to her for advice. It’s almost embarrassing, but it’s also cool at the same time. It’s better to talk to Mom than to Google. Trust me, you get all kinds of weird YouTube videos and then viruses and it’s all downhill from there.

8. She not only listens to you, she hears you.

It’s great that you and your friends can talk to your unconventional mom about the taboo stuff, but what’s better is that she’ll actually listen to you. She doesn’t try to force her opinion down your throat. She doesn’t instantly judge you or try to change your mind. She hears you and then helps you figure out what you need from her.

9. She wants you to fail.

Read carefully: She wants you to fail. She doesn’t want you to be a failure. Failing is okay because you can learn from it. She wants you to use that moment as a tool. She wants you to improve and grow from that situation. Like the time I failed organic chemistry in college. Mom was right — I learned from that experience and even changed my direction in life thanks to that one failure.

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10. She doesn’t believe in doing things “by the book.”

That’s because she wants to frustrate the hell out of you. Because doing it the normal way is boring. Because you need to figure it out for yourself. Yada yada. Whatever her reasoning is, you’ll appreciate it in the long run. Especially when you get to college and get thrown into group projects and have to use your own brain to think outside the box. All that experience fending for yourself will come in handy.

11. She doesn’t gossip.

She won’t sit around the coffee shop talking about other moms or kids.

12. She doesn’t need money.

We’ve been rich, we’ve been poor. Mom found ways to make life cool either way.

13. She loves you differently from your siblings.

Say what you will, but it’s true. Unconventional moms have different relationships with each child and aren’t afraid to admit it. It’s not that they love one more than the other, it’s that they’re comfortable loving each child in his or her own unique way. Just because my brother gets a day with my mom doesn’t mean I have to get a day with her. Her gift to me might be something else.

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14. She loves you unconditionally.

No matter what you say or do, unconventional moms love their children… to Venus and back. (You didn’t expect me to go all traditional now, did you?)

Featured photo credit: anton petukhov via flickr.com

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Missy Mitchell

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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