Tips From A Modern Renaissance Mom
Modern mothers often have their plates full with the myriad of different commitments that they have to meet. “While it’s not easy managing so many things, it can be done without putting yourself in a state of stress,” says Mona Maine de Biran, an activist entrepreneur who recently founded the disruptive NY-centric fine fragrance house, KIERIN NYC, following a successful career as a cover model, winner of the Star Search Spokesmodel 1995 and in several male-dominated technology Fortune 100 companies. Mona finds time to run a blog called ‘Manhattan Minds’ and is a socialite in NYC and French circles (she is a French Countess by marriage, as her husband is the male-line descendent of Count Arnaud de Gontier and the French philosopher Francois-Pierre Gontier de Biran.) A committed advocate for gender-equality, wellness, and conscious, urban living who plays the piano, gardens, writes poetry, Mona is a voracious reader who travels a lot and speaks French, Spanish, Italian, English, Japanese and Greek. And, as a mother of two, she has a few tips from her experience on how to manage the whole thing.
1. Set your priorities and proceed with optimism
Managing a plate full of things successfully requires consistency of practice, determination in the face of challenges, faith in possibilities and focus on priorities. Set an order of priority on things you are compelled or driven to do, must do as an obligation and would like to do given the time and chance. Mona recommends allocating time to each of these things, in their order of importance to you, and pursuing them with a can-do attitude.
2. Balance big picture perspective with living in the present moment
You cannot do it all in a day. Hold yourself responsible for doing only what you can, congratulate yourself for your efforts and find joy in the process. She recommends investing your heart in the present moment while keeping your eye on the big picture. “Tomorrow is a new day, but today is all there is,” she says.
3. Learn to say “no” without feeling guilty
Consenting to every desire your children have, giving them everything they want, may make you popular with them but only momentarily. A child who gets everything he asks for without investing effort becomes an adult who is unappreciative of what they have, does not tolerate negative responses, lacks passion to pursue goals and is discouraged when presented with challenges. Saying “no” with love or setting conditions establishes boundaries necessary for your sanity as a mother with a lot to manage. It is a way to help strengthen your children’s character and inspire an attitude of gratitude when they get a “yes.”
4. Give value to the affective dimension
It is very important to establish rules, a cadence and to guide your children on how you expect them to behave. But it is also essential to consider that a child does not see the world with your eyes and does not process everything the way you want.
In addition to discipline and rules, give space to affection, empathy, humor and playfulness. Learn not to take everything that you or your children do quite so serious.
5. Dethrone perfection as an ideal
No one is perfect nor do they have to be. Celebrate reality, force of will, integrity and character instead of perfection. Don’t be shy or create a stigma of failure- yours or theirs. Let your children see you fail and find inspiration in how you manage failure and rise to face challenges. You’ll have more authority and influence by showing your children you’re not perfect, than by pretending that you are. Teach your children that it’s ok for them to fail but that it’s not ok to fail to make an effort or try again.
6. Encourage curiosity, creativity and a thirst for knowledge
Introduce meditation, dancing, philosophy, creative expression, and logic into the games you play with your children and be varied in your solutions. Find one or two things in which your child excels and encourage them to stay the course through rewards that celebrate the effort, the process, and not just the awards. Set an example by personally valuing knowledge, gaining knowledge and admiring those who have knowledge. “I reward and treat knowledge as a prize superior to material or superficial gain,” she explains.
7. Indulge risk-taking and explore outside the comfort zone
Structure safe-zones in which they can operate, take safe risks, and make age appropriate decisions for themselves. Celebrate persistence and effort in addition to end-goals. By giving praise for overcoming the unknown, even if they have yet to arrive at the goal, you’re encouraging them to trust themselves to operate with confidence outside their comfort zone.
8. Value diversity and experimentation
Explore interests in physical, intellectual, artistic and social fields. Rather than push your child down just one path, perhaps one that you’ve predetermined independent of their interests and talents, invite them to explore themselves through a variety of things. Schedule time for and proactively seek out new experiences and adventures that are emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually challenging.
9. Listen and stand for what you believe in
A lot of people listen only for the purpose of responding. Listen for comprehension, not just argument, and teach your children to do the same. Standing against something, like hate, is often less constructive than standing for what you believe in — — love. By being the example, you often inspire more change than by simply being argumentative.
10. Be open to change and flexible
Being a Renaissance Mom requires a commitment to personal development, in yourself and with your children, in various aspects of life from the artistic to the scientific, the logical to the creative. Be a life-long learner, open to change, willing to do things differently and better than before. Teaching your children to be perseverant and adaptable is one of the most important lessons they will learn and carry with them as adults.