After my last couple posts you might think I've got this parenting thing all figured out. Well not today. At least I don't feel that way. I feel discouraged and weak under the responsibilities that face me in life right now. Parenting being just one of those many responsibilities....but the most important of course.
My kids are good right now, no major behavior issues to report. They are generally respectful, obedient and fun to be around....even the two year old. (not that they don't make my ears hurt and my head ache once in a while!) . I am actually thoroughly enjoying each one of them at the moment. So why do I feel so inadequate? Its easy to feel that way when one of them is in a major funk...but I don't know why I feel that way right now. Why do I question myself so much? Is it just the curse of being a mother? Its not that I fear they will turn out to be horrible dysfunctional people ( although, I did have pictures in my mind of visiting juvi hall when Roman was a two year old, but he eventually did outgrow his little anarchist streak).
I think fear is something that the enemy is using right now to paralyze me. I see it for what it is but I still feel its effects. As a parent fear is not productive or healthy...vigilance yes...caution you bet....but fear no. Fear -based parenting causes a lot of problems...especially in our Christian parenting circles. That's not what I want for my family. I want my parenting to be a reflection of the absolute certainty , confidence and victory I have in my Lord....there is no room for fear in that.
As parents we are our kids advocates. I am learning as I go how to do that....usually by necessity. I think some parents go overboard and swing the pendulum too far and misuse the word advocate . Some don't allow their kids to experience consequences of unwise choices or will shield them totally from life and its let downs. I am not that parent. I am not a parent who will ever argue with a teacher gasping "not my child".
But as a mom I know my children best...next to the one who created them of course.
I make it my job to really know them.
I have an active "mothers intuition" that lets me know when something just isn't right.
The trick is to know when to step in to protect them and give them a boost and when to stand back and let them figure it out on their own. Its a delicate balancing act. I think its often best not to jump in to the rescue too soon....as long as there isn't immediate danger of course. Its ok to let a toddler figure out how to get out of a situation he's got himself stuck in...but being ever ready to step in when they are in over their head. That's where our intuition comes in.
Being a mom is a tough job. We are assertive advocates, vigilant protectors, loyal confidants, regular taxi drivers, impeccable maids, gourmet cooks, compassionate nurses, and household CEO's just to name a few.
I suspect I'm not alone in my doubts and fears.
I have a feeling I'm not alone in trying to tame my inner "mama bear " while listening to my child describe being bullied. Why is it that "nice kids" are the ones that are always targeted? The ones that are loyal friends and care about the feelings of others? I guess they just don't know how to make it in the pecking order. I am disappointed and grieved that they experience this but I would be more grieved if my child were the one being cruel. I'm trying to teach assertiveness and sticking up for themselves...that's what my gut has been telling me. So I'm going to follow that intuition and try to give them the strength of character, self esteem and confidence they need to assertively tell the ring leaders to back off. I want my little girl to somehow wear her first "dental appliance" with pride...sigh. While at the same time watching vigilantly for them to be "in over their head"....taking more than their maturity and life skills can handle.
I have a feeling I'm not alone in my worries and "fear" that my child will slip through the cracks in his education. I worry that he will feel "dumb" that he will always struggle to keep up. That is not what I want for my bright, imaginative little boy. I feel guilty like somehow I have failed him. I am embarrassed by the meetings with his teacher, the assessments, the evaluations, and the suggestions of needing extra help. I am afraid of future diagnostic testing....at the same time very eager to get to the bottom of the problems and get something done about them. I have to remind myself that I know my kid, and can be his advocate to get him what he needs. But my heart still aches for him and the uphill challenges that lie ahead.
I am afraid that despite my vigilance and scrutiny my allergy baby will eat something that he shouldn't and have a reaction that I can't control. What if he reacts to something completely unexpected or has a reaction when I'm not around? What if despite carrying an epi-pen it won't be enough to stop him from going into anaphylactic shock and cardiac failure? Its not something I obsess about ...but that possibility is there. Just one more thing to fear.
Will I be enough for them? Will I be able to protect them? Will I know how to teach them?
I guess as a parent the list can go on and on. From the time they are conceived there is always a list... just when they move past one danger zone they are into the next.
I made a conscious effort when I knew each one of them were in existence to turn over those fears and refuse to let them take hold in my heart. If I didn't where would it end?
Fear of miscarriage, fear of birth defects, fear of SIDS, fear of choking, fear of running into traffic, fear of illness, fear of bullying, fear of rebellion, fear of a drivers license, fear of rejection.....the list would go on forever.
I remember the feelings of anxiousness that would creep in throughout my pregnancies or on occasion after they were born. I would consciously need to get on my knees and re- hand it over. I guess that's what I need to do again. I just wasn't prepared for those anxious feelings again...its been so long.
So much for mama warrior....shaking in her armour. Or maybe I forgot to put on my armour today...that happens on occasion too. I think this warrior mama needs to battle on her knees for a while.