Friday, May 11, 2007

Mama Mia!

I was reading a book today that made me think of Motherhood.
I am reading a book on “Whining”, not for my 21 days of Reformation, but for my daughter Anne. She’s just started to be a bit whiny lately and I’ve needed some outside ammo to help me with the arising dilemma. As my friend Charmaine reminded me a while ago, “Parenting isn’t natural and it isn’t an instinct. Good parenting is a skill and it needs to be learned.” So, I’m learning via this book, and I got some great tips that I could use on myself to stop from whining!
At one part, I read an example of a woman who was at her wit’s end with her child. She started asking herself “why is my child this way?” And the usual suspects showed up: When she was first born you didn’t give her enough attention and now she lashing out at you, or you aren’t aware what her real needs are and she is whining to try and tell you that there is a deeper root than what meets the eye, etc. I read it thinking, “This woman is crazy. These reasons are ridiculous. Wait a minute. This woman is me!”
How many times have I questioned myself or found myself thinking, “I’m going to ruin my child! What have I done that has made my child act this way?” Admit it, Moms, you’ve done it too.
It’s so funny to me that, generally, men feel successful based on what they achieve and women feel successful based on how healthy the relationships are in their life. And doesn’t that describe our self-doubt as mothers? We doubt our parenting abilities when our child aren’t acting the way we think they should or they way they’ve been taught. Immediately, we see ourselves as unsuccessful. And after that, our whole universe goes tilted as our mind spirals down the road of everything else that isn’t perfect in our lives.
I know that I’m going to make mistakes as a parent. I know that I will do and say things that will hurt my child’s heart…I already have. And I take the risk that maybe they won’t understand that my heart motive has never been to hurt them, but only to love them and do the best for them.
I think back to my own childhood and teenage years-anything that I used to equate as “my mother screwed up my life” has now revealed itself to be “She did what she thought was best at the time with the knowledge and the resources she had.” Only age and becoming a parent has made me aware of this.
So, I take the same risk my Mom took. Loving your child, doing the best you can and hoping that sooner rather than later they will realize that the things that you did wrong were mistakes you made with the best of intentions and that the love you have for them will never change.
It’s a crazy thing…being a Mom. Right now, I am successful…barring no whining, no embarrassing incidents or messy catastrophes happen in the next ten minutes!

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