I have heard it said that a woman does not become a mother until she gives birth. The moment a little child enters the world, that woman who waited for up to 9 months and labored for a painful time is transformed into a mother.
I have also heard it said that giving birth does not naturally create a mom. Moms are pruned and sprouted over years of loving care and tenderness, time outs and many battles.
I am under the influence that a mother is made in both circumstances. The question remains in what kind of a mother that woman will be.
There have been many women in my life who I consider mother figures. My mom and mother in law, my moms’ friends, older church mentors, my friends’ moms, and my dear friends and family have all played part to influencing my positive and negative observations about motherhood. What have I concluded? No one is perfect! No one is doing it just right. Each woman in their own way disciplines and nurtures their children differently.
Some mothers do it wrong and are too strict and discipline minded to laugh and enjoy themselves or their little one growing up. These types of moms are focused on perfection and a well behaved child rather than a well rounded child. The mother does not allow the child to make mistakes. The child grows up believing in some sort of lofty standard that they must attain before gaining approval in the areas of work, love, or play. The mother has created a child who doesn’t like to deviate from the safe and the norm. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.
Every child needs direction and re balancing when harm is in sight. For instance, the proper emphasis should be placed on “Jimmy, we do not play near or in the street. Cars drive by and it is not safe. We play in front of the sidewalk closest to the house.” I think strict mothers are those who do not like to take risks themselves and are the types of moms you hear say “Jimmy, don’t walk in the kitchen. You could burn yourself on the stove,” or “Sally, stay away from the toilet. You could drown.” These are the mothers who, in wanting to protect their children, really hinder them from learning and respecting the world around them. I do not condone mothers who willingly allow their children to burn themselves on the stove or come into harms path for the sake of education–no. That would be abuse! If and when a child makes a simple mistake or error, it’s a learning tool. Growing up, I used to run and slide on our floors in my house. I didn’t think a thing of it even when mom said I’d get splinters or trip and fall. When we were remodeling the house, sure enough I ran and slid and got a splinter. I did not run and slide again. Sometimes learning from our mistakes is the most effective form of education.
In summary, mothers who hover over their children and are over protective or shielding of their children from learning experiences (good and bad) are hindering their children’s development.
On the other hand, some mothers are those who would rather play friend than mother. These types of moms are the ones who give into tantrums over lollipops and who let their children hit them or blow raspberries at them in retaliation. These moms do not want to harm their children by spanking, a time out, or stern correction (among other methods of discipline). I have seen moms who do nothing when their child repeatedly throws their food off the table, fail to correct the child when the child hits or sticks out his or her tongue in return to a ‘no’ response, and who ignore bad behavior.
These types of mom love their children, I know it. They however fail to use a variant form of love to teach the child respect and manners. A child must see frowns and smiles to be well rounded, I think, and the child must experience both frowns and smiles to understand.
Over the course of a child’s lifetime, a mother is refined. The mother is created at birth and is transformed into a guide, mentor, friend, and confidant. This responsibility is not to be taken lightly. Bringing a life into this world is easy compared to rearing a well mannered and well rounded adult. Both neglect and hovering can harm a child’s development and it is imperative for a new mom to consider the future effects of her current actions.
I have experienced neglect and hovering. Within me swirls a confusion about becoming a mother and the absolute seriousness of raising a healthy and happy child. As I mentioned before, no person is perfect and no parenting method is seal proof. I want to gather around me information and tools that will help me be the best mom I can be to my little one. I will continue to watch and learn from mothers around me. I will seek out advice when I am confused or lost or frustrated.
Becoming a mom is something that happens automatically. Becoming a great mom takes more.