Hello to all my mom’s or mums as my daughter would say. I am graced yet again to be in front of your eyes. I intend on being transparent in this article, no shame, just un-avoiding avoided truths.
Parenting isn’t always easy. There are decisions, sacrifices, and lifestyle changes that come with the role. And yes, it is a role and you play that part until they are grown and you still play that part long after because as a mom, your work is never done. “Being a mother is learning strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” -Linda Wooten
If you have experienced childbirth or even adoption, was your feeling something like, “I’ll do everything in the world to protect you?” Sounds familiar? Well, it was something I said and even knowing that my kids would face their own challenges, me saying that was strictly from love. That feeling, that plunge of excitement to become that mother bird gets stronger and stronger day by day. The natural feeling to love, the natural feeling to protect, the natural feeling to become something greater and better than yourself, all because of tiny feet and a bundle of joy. These feelings carry on no matter the age of your child.
The New Mom
When I had my first child, I was cautious about seemingly everything. I was new. I was facing something that I never had before, something that books couldn’t teach me and something that people couldn’t tell me. I was faced with reality. As scary as that was, (I didn’t realize then what I realized later) but that fear motivated me to do as I had always done, persevere. I had to continue, go through the flow and find my way as a new mom. As things were swarming quickly around me, I didn’t have a chance to catch my breath and digest it all. There was another human that I just gave birth to and at that present moment those eyes, those big brown honey almond eyes was looking up to me, she was expecting something, something I didn’t know I even had and that was the strength of her mom.
Although I was shielding right out the gate, or out the canal 🙂 I didn’t realize that how I was feeling was a normal feeling as a new mother. The unfortunate part is that I had people around me that was judgmental and made me feel as though I was a bad person and inherently a bad mom because of how I felt. What I realized quickly was that it was the enemy. He knew that my husband and I would raise our children in the light of God and if he could discourage me, set doubt and fear in me at the very beginning, what was hoped to be my end was the start of a flourishing beginning. The good thing is that I did have family and friends by my side that was patient and understood that my reactions weren’t strange, they were natural. Many moms may have struggled with this, especially moms that weren’t sure of their support system. With my second child, I let off the pedal a little but not without caution. I would not be made to feel again how I was with my first child. I would not be made to feel indifferent when it was still so much I had to learn. By my third child, I was on cruise control and enjoying the ride. I had become more confident in not feeling condemned for rejecting those that did not mean my children or my family any good. I had become confident in embracing my weaknesses. My sense of blocking all else out that was irrelevant and impartial to me and my husband’s decision-making was very easy and necessary to do.
Trust the signs
I pray over my children daily. I thank God that he has kept them from harms way. Not every parent can say that there child has been without harm. I will tell you from one parent to another. Trust the signs that your child gives you when they are displaying unusual or silent behavior. Some kids are quiet and shy but outside of God, you know your child better than anyone else. You know that when they get around someone and they become a shadow that something isn’t right or that when they are told to hug or speak to someone and look at you first that something needs to be said. For the record, allow your child to want to express emotional sentiments, not telling them or making them. If they don’t reach out to the person naturally or excitedly, they have their own reasons and their own intuition. “When a child feels forced to show affection, he/she gets the message that they are not in control of their own body. And that’s a dangerous message for kids to receive.” -Amy Morin
If not already, have open communication with your children. Let them know consistently that you are there for them, that they can trust you, that they can talk to you. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Not the ordinary questions, like “how was you day?” or “how was school?” ask them more open-ended and precise questions like “what was the bet part of your day or the worst part?” Thankfully my kids are usually vocal, when they aren’t, it is always a clear sign that something is bothering them. Although no parent likes for their child to experience difficulties, it is a part of life but my daily prayer is that God covers my children and gives me wisdom on how to parent, and how to handle each situation according to his word and his way. If that can be done then you can’t go wrong.
The little signs that seem so small, may not be nothing or it could be something. It does not mean a life-affecting situation has happened; it means you need to be aware. No, it’s not you being paranoid, and yes, it could be something there. Either way, create a safe zone for your child and create an environment where they can speak to you without fear. All moms/mother figures worry about their children in some capacity. It may not be the ecstatic worry of sitting by the door waiting for them to come home (unless they are in trouble, yikes!) or it could be when you lay down at night and recount the many ways you screwed up that day as a parent (that’s me, sometimes, hands raised high) that you worry. I do like to give myself credit and pats on the back. My children give me credit, they tell me that I’m the best mom ever on most occasions-I wonder how long that will last, hmmm but I’ll take it. However, what they don’t see is that when all is quiet and settled down, I am recounting my day and going over what I could have done better or said better. How to be a better mother than the day before. Did I listen? Did I give the right advice? Oh Lord, did I quote the right scripture when trying to give spiritual guidance? (I need a handy dandy pocket bible) 🙂 The list could go on and on, really. This is what stops the list for me “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7. Wow, just quoting that made me breathe a sigh of relief and I do have to meditate on God’s word so that I can have relief. I don’t have to carry all of that and neither do you. Anxiety creeps in from time to time but it has definitely gotten better. Trusting in God’s word makes it better; he has removed all worry. He has removed all fear.
Right or Wrong
Sometimes, well usually, the best response is a silent one. Don’t feel the need to always have to explain the choices you make for you and your family, especially if they are good moral ones. No one is perfect and no parenting skill is perfect. Hopefully it’s agreed that as parents we are all just trying to do the best that we can with what we have and the knowledge that’s in us. Although it doesn’t stop there, it’s always good to educate yourself on parenting styles and research resources that can benefit you and your family. Don’t beat yourself up; no matter how much we do, even with all of that, we will still drop the ball and guess what, that’s okay.
Speaking about morals earlier. What are they? To basically describe morals, it’s the understanding of what’s right and wrong. This seems so immense for some and yet it is a critical factor in our everyday choices. Moral development is influenced usually by those that are around us, being family, friends, peers, co-workers, etc.. This influence can also be a factor in provoking you to make the right or wrong decisions but in the end, it is your own choice that you ultimately make and “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 KJV
Mind what you say, mind what they see
We have heard that kids are like sponges, that they hear and see everything. Well, I can almost tell you that as a mother of three, that’s an understatement. They become the sponge, that absorb the words, and if the wrong thing is absorbed enough then they react the words in their actions and there behavior. Now, its not always a bad thing that they absorb because depending on what it is there is a principle in it. Your kids watching you pray, read your bible, clean the house, wash clothes, cook meals, encourage others, volunteer, promote good relationships are all great things but sometimes as parents we can do things in front of our children that are not so great. For example, if you are upset with someone and speak badly about them, (near your kids) they are most likely going to become agreeable with you (keep in mind, as there parents, you are one of the most influential people that they see everyday) and then they can develop a negative opinion of that person you were talking badly about. Why wouldn’t they? You are mom or dad after all and they trust you, which means that they trust what you say. What’s so bad about it? At the time you were angry and said all those unpleasant things, you could have possibly been in the wrong and decided that you needed to apologize to that person. Well the damage has been done, to the other person but to your child as well. Now they have the negative perception of a person that they could lose disrespect for. What if it’s a close relative, neighbor, or church member? What if it’s someone you care for and really admire but was caught in the heat of a disagreement? That damage has been seen or heard by little ears and is one you would have to repair. Kids may not always understand the reason behind the things that grown-ups do, after all they are kids. We don’t expect kids to be in the business of adults, so how could we expect them to know when an adult conversation was right or wrong. They may not understand the aftermath of the apology that you gave and the wrong part you played, all they hear are the words and see the action. Although this example may resound with many, the great thing is at the end of the day we will still be called mom and open arms with be waiting for you with a big smile at bed time.
Because I’m a mom, too, I understand as a parent that our job isn’t easy. It may be hard to admit that you are struggling with parenting with fear of judgement or just not knowing how to express that or who to talk to. That was the purpose of this article and hopefully you can open up to those who care around you and talk about your feelings. It makes a difference to hear a similar narrative and to know that what you’ve gone through you were not alone. Just like I need to hear, sometimes you need to hear you are doing the right thing or to hear that you need to be more wary or to hear that you need to pump the brakes a little. On today I want you to also hear that “mom, you are the best ever.”
Until next time my friends, from one mom to the next, be blessed