As moms, sometimes we wonder if we fulfill our children’s desire for a mother. Some moms may even ask their kids, “Do you think I am a good mom?” We want our kids to love us, respect us, and think they have the best mom in the world, but what kind of mom do kids really want?
Mary Poppins is one of our family’s favorite movies. We love the music, the message and the whimsy of it all. I couldn’t help but seriously consider what Jane and Michael Banks desired in a nanny. Yes, a nanny is not the actual mother, but sometimes she does most of the mothering! Even though this was a fictitious story, I couldn’t help but see some great parenting truths played out through the well-written script. Let’s consider the actual advertisement that Jane and Michael wrote themselves.
If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition.
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sorts!
You must be kind, you must be witty,
Very sweet and fairly pretty.
Take us on outings, give us treats,
Sing songs, bring sweets.
Never be cross or cruel.
Never give us castor oil or gruel.
Love us as a son and daughter,
And never smell of barley water.
If you won’t scold and dominate us,
We will never give you cause to hate us.
We won’t hide your spectacles
So you can’t see,
Put toads in your bed,
Or pepper in your tea.
Jane and Michael Banks
Most homes across America do not employ a nanny. Instead, the position is awarded to the mother, father, grandparents or family friend. Nevertheless, all caretakers can benefit from listening to the Banks kids’ famous advertisement and from imitating many admirable traits in the fictional character of Mary Poppins.
- Have a cheerful disposition. Children delight in viewing joy-filled smiles and hearing bubbly laughs. The little ones relish in greetings that are not flavored with irritable, “What do ya want now kid” looks. Dora the Explorer, Elmo and other kids’ favorites are always displaying welcoming tones of love and affection, and hence are loved by tiny tots all across the globe. We could gain our child’s affection if we welcomed our kids with the same warmth and kindness.
- Play games, all sorts. Big and little tykes alike can reconnect on the game board. Dust off Candyland and Twister and brace yourself for giggles and tickles. Add some mystery to the munchkins’ day with Guess Who? Grab some chalk and start a game of hopscotch. Take the kids outside for an egg toss!
- Take us on outings. Have you been to the park recently? Hop in the car and drive down to the nearest park. Grab a swing and start a swinging contest with the kids. Who care who’s watching? Locate your library card, and gather the munchkins up for a time of scouting out adventurous books and entertaining movies. Pack the stroller and go to the local zoo and learn about the exciting world of animals. Check out the nearest children’s museum and take part in the hands-on learning experiences. Wait for a windy day, and go fly a kite!
- Give us treats. Go ahead and give your kids some gummy bears! Enjoy an ice cream cone together.
- Sing songs. Your ability to sing doesn’t matter. The kids just enjoy hearing the happy sounds come out from their caretakers mouths and the smiles that follow. Mary Poppins always had a song to lift spirits or teach lessons. The rhyme and rhythm of songs also aids kids in remembering important values and educational items.
- Never be cross or cruel. Each instruction or constructive guidance should be bathed in patience and kindness. Different methods of accomplishing the task at hand can be offered to the child in a “let’s try it this way” manner. Moms should remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No one enjoys flashbacks of a sour-faced Mom breathing down their neck as they strive to perform daily tasks that meet her expectations.
- Never give us castor oil or gruel. Foods that tickle the taste buds tend to warm the hearts and provide a sense of security to many adolescents. Homemade meals that pack a lot of flavor speak volumes of the thought and preparation involved. Armed with the knowledge that a delicious meal is waiting to fill their tummy, children gain security and comfort.
- Love us like a son or daughter. Obviously, Jane and Michael Banks already knew that sons and daughters should be loved. Children need unconditional, consistent love, wrapped up in affection, laughs, hugs and undivided attention.
Mary Poppins fulfilled all their expectations—“rosy cheeks and everything,” noted Michael. She played games, took them on outings, gave them treats. But at the same time, she was firm. The children were expected to obey instructions. As a result of her example and thoughtful deeds, the kids happily followed suit. Jane and Michael were expected to obey promptly. “Spit-Spot!”
Just like Mary Poppins, moms should be consistent, firm and yet — loving. Even when it is heart-wrenching to do the best thing for the children, it needs to be done. Mary Poppins knew that a reconnected relationship with their father was exactly what Jane and Michael Banks needed the most. She was willing to relinquish her duties and relationship with the children in order for them to embark upon a new, renewed relationship with the patriarch of their home. Mary Poppins desire to give the Banks children a happy home.
Although this was a make-believe world, real-life anecdotes are weaved through this whimsical film. Happily ever after doesn’t have to be a fairy tale, it can be your family’s story! To find out how you can cultivate a happier home in just 25 Days, check out my new ebook that takes you through 25 Daily challenges that are woven into 100 plus pages of momspiration. I can’t wait for you to start on the happier home journey with me!