“There is no bond so strong as the one between a mother and her child. No love so encompassing as the love she freely shows them.” -Unknown
That about sums up how I feel about being a mama to my kings-in-training, Jackson and Sterling. It also leaves out the million and one reasons why I am happily exhausted, forever grateful and sporadically rational. Now that I am a mama, I couldn’t imagine not being one. I’ll tell you a secret though. I never planned to have children. Sure, I would randomly consider it and even picked out a few names but never, in my wildest dreams, did I think that I would be chasing a half naked little boy while trying to pull playdoh out of the other one’s hair. Go ahead and imagine me carrying one kid pulling at playdoh trying to head off the other. Yep, I felt just as silly as you’re imagining. And I love it. Knowing that I am making memories that will provide the foundation for their future manhood is such an honor. I don’t take lightly that this is a privilege that not every woman has (or wants).
Even though I consider it to be a privilege, there are so many things that I didn’t know before I became a mama. So many. And you know what? I’m glad. I’m glad that I get to discover new things on a daily basis about the little people God has entrusted to me. It reminds me of the scripture 1 Peter 1:6 and that there is wonderful [unknown] joy ahead. I’m ecstatic that I am given the opportunity to grow in areas that I didn’t realize needed a little more attention, which basically means that privilege is tough. Therefore, I have to consider that having a clear goal helps to put parenting into perspective. My goal has been, and will continue to be, to mother them well. I am not sure that I would be able to effectively do that if I didn’t make a few (trillion) mistakes. I have come to realize that there are no two identical mistakes and that is so helpful. You learn the nuances of what it means to love on your children and how they best respond to your technique of mothering. Let me be fair and say that “technique” is such a tricky word. I would probably be better off saying the floundering attempts at keeping your children alive, reasonably happy and respectably clean.
That requires grit. I can’t shirk from my responsibility or the demand that I set boundaries and enforce them. I have to push through the desire to bend to their whim when they look at me with their big, brown eyes brimming with tears. I have to maintain the role of “mama” before I nurture the role of “friend”. I have to stand up to the innate desire to shield them from all potential hurt. I have to have the grit to get up, try again and make it work, everyday. I think it is so important to show them that committing to working through certain emotions is vital. If you cannot dig your heels in and maintain the actual role required to establish a successful home, then you cannot maintain a sense of trust in your children that you will always fight for them and their needs. Not their wants, but, their needs. They aren’t going to always like the way that Mama holds her ground, but, they will be thankful when they look back and realize all that they avoided. Like rotten teeth because they were able to have the tenth pack of fruit snacks.
To mother them well requires stamina. I can’t allow my achy feet or throbbing headache to dictate the way that I communicate with them. I can’t be so worn out that they forget that Mama loves to jump on the trampoline with them or race on scooters to the end of the street. I have to pace myself, in such a way, that I have enough energy and attention to give them a sense of being more important than any obligation. I am required to train for long nights and even earlier mornings. I have to be on the front line for every game and tend to every cold. I have to keep up with the million questions of why and mentally store away the good answers. They deserve an opportunity to be heard as they develop their own opinions and desires. That requires the ability to keep going even when you believe you have already covered the matter at hand.
If I’m going to meet the goal of mothering well, I have to grow in patience. There is nothing like being asked to sit and endure a full bowel movement because your toddler HAS to talk to you as he “goes boo boo”. Did I mention that said toddler doesn’t like the exhaust fan? It still amazes me how important it is to him that someone is there to converse with him while he has a life changing moment with the commode. Patience is definitely required when having to explain why fruit snacks are not a real food group for the hundredth time. Have you noticed this is the second time I have mentioned the all powerful “fruit snack”? Good. They are totally important in the Pindar household! So, back to what I was saying earlier, it’s important that you answer and not ignore because that can be taken as an opportunity to sneak the candy because Mama won’t notice. Which is totally reasonable to assume, lol. A mama has to decide to breathe instead of holler when her munchkins decide to throw away her favorite handbag, on top of dirty diapers. They don’t understand your devastation over the bag loss but they still require your tempered love and care when you respond. Patience is key when growing with your children and allowing your relationship to evolve into a functioning lifestyle.
Mothering well means re-evaluating everything you thought being a mother means. There is no handbook. No set rules. Only hands on learning, which requires tons of mistakes, a few genius moments and a plethora of special memories. It’s okay if you don’t have a perfectly clean home. It’s totally acceptable if you have leftovers three nights in a row, instead of cooking every night. No one will laugh if you have to wear mismatched socks or you can’t perfectly comb Junior’s hair. What matters is the way you love your children. The way that you teach and guide them. The way that you make time to read to them and try the science experiment. What matters is how those small arms wrap around your neck and that sweet voice murmurs “I love you, Mama” before nodding off to sleep.There is nothing like watching my children sleep in peace knowing that I have done my best to prepare them for tomorrow. I can’t always piece together how we made it through the day but I can attest that we made it. And sometimes, that’s enough.
And finally, I pray over my children, but more importantly I have taught them the first steps to begin praying over themselves because I believe that is a testament to how serious I take my role of loving them. I am concerned about their souls AND their daily happiness. I also know that I can’t protect them from everything and it is my responsibility to cover them spiritually with the One who can. How sweet and totally overwhelming to have such an important role. I think that this is probably the area I feel most strongly about because I realize there is so much more to what it means to care for them…and I need HELP! And boy, does He help! It’s okay to ask for help and listen to guidance. We want our children to grow into the best version of themselves possible. It requires that we step up to the plate and step back to allow God to lead. Esther 4:14
It’s so important to know our role and constantly seek to perfect it for ourselves and not others. No one can determine what is best for our household but us. So, set your standard high and strive to exceed it! The best way to do that is to seek the direction of the Holy Spirit and glean from other mamas who keep Christ at the forefront and their children are thriving.
I’m so excited about the opportunity to hear the ways that you love on your children. I’m constantly looking for tips to increase my mama skills and improve my interactions with my precious boys.