Recently I had a major Mom light bulb moment. It was one of those things where in a split second a curtain was lifted just for that very brief moment, and I saw the raw reality of how family, especially our children, often view us. Maybe it’s because I never slow down enough to really look around me and see with outside eyes what’s going on.
One day though, as I watched the reactions of children to a sudden change in plans brought about because of a real and raw moment their mother had, I was hit hard with a realization. Our children don’t often see us as humans like them, we are “MOM” (said with a thundering, ominous voice) which takes on a whole different meaning than that of a mere human.
The very definition of the word mother should quite honestly be “sacrifices everything for her family”. Please don’t interpret this as negative. It isn’t, but I am going to point out a few basic realities that go along with this title that I have never fully accepted until now.
Keep in mind that the culture of parenting has changed beyond drastically from my oldest son (almost 20) to my youngest sons (9). It’s much more lenient, much less strict and life overall has changed and become very tech heavy. So I can say that there are some definite issues with what I see now, as opposed to 20 years ago.
More than ever, moms need to demand respect and consideration from their families. We cannot fall into the rut that allows them to see us only as the mother. If we remove respect and consideration from our relationships with our children especially, we have lost our very humanness in their eyes.
It’s that simple. They have to understand that although we are there for them, that even though much of our life does circle around them, we absolutely are separate individuals just like them, humans who have real stuff we deal with too.
Honestly, it’s for their sake that we need to accept this and deal with ourselves. If I dedicate every waking moment to my children and never ever pay attention to me, I’m not only creating a terrible situation for myself (it will build up, it will spill over, it will be devastating), but even worse I’m setting a terrible example for them on how to be a responsible and respectable adult.
So I encourage other parents to take a good hard look at what’s going on in the home around you. How does the atmosphere feel? Do you feel like it’s a two-way street with your kids (within reason, of course) or do you feel like a stranger just trying to keep up or manage or barely hold it all together?
Let me start by saying that either way you are not a failure. We will never achieve perfect parenthood status… not one person will… EVER! So, yeah… do your best but be reasonable here people.
Bottom line, if you aren’t feeling comfortable in your own family, with your own status as a parent, or even just with the direction of any one (or more) of your children and their attitude, etc. then step up, take a stand and remind them that moms are people too.
It’s ok for your kids to know you aren’t perfect. It’s good for them to hear that you are learning as you go and simply doing your best. Most importantly though it is essential to develop respect as a mom and as a person from our children. To let them learn about compassion through caring for even the adults in their lives.
Sure, there are plenty of things that are unhealthy to expose kids to. I’m definitely not a fan of any sort of drama and work pretty hard to keep that down to a minimum. But if my kids see me in a rough moment, or understand that things can be hard for me sometimes, honestly it’s kind of healthy for them to witness that. To see my reaction or to even reach out and try to help.
Too much would definitely be unhealthy for a child, yes. They need us to be the grown up and to help them see the way to handle things. But they also occasionally need to see us just be human.