Today I reflect on the blessings of mothers… without the comfort and security of their wombs, we would not have the pleasure of being on this earth today. This world is comprised of so many different types of mothers… and whether I agree with their parenting choices and decisions, or not, I admit that each mother has a distinct effect on her child/children. I have learned that, as mothers, we must be CONCIOUS of the lessons we impart to our children, the role models we are for our children, and the image of womanhood and motherhood we emblazon within the fabric of our children’s beings.
I think about the mothers who give and give and give of themselves unselfishly and without reward because they know the value of a child’s life.
I think about the mothers who put themselves on the backburner in an effort to demonstrate unconditional love to their children.
I think about the mothers who work full time and still happily sit on the sidelines as a full time “Soccer Mom” as well, during football, cheerleader, gymnastics, and dance practice (or whatever other extracurricular activity their child wants to participate in).
I think about the mothers who allow their children to be children… not rushing them to grow up, enjoying their redundant questions, their playful nature, and their often annoying antics.
I also think about mothers who put so much effort and energy into making sure their children are well taken care of materially… making sure not a single hair is out of place… making sure their children are adorned in the latest designer threads… and making sure the world sees how “great” they are as mothers through the porcelain doll images their children portray.
I have learned that love which is only shown through material things is not enough. I have had friends over the years who sincerely wished for their parents to show their love through kind words, warm embraces, mushy kisses, and quality time even as they sat dressed to the nines in $250 sneakers and owned top of the line electronics. A child will remember quality time spent together over the years more than they will remember whether you ever brought them a pair of Jordans.
I think about mothers who choose men over their children subjecting them to molestation, depression, and abuse.
I think about mothers who fall victim to drug and alcohol addiction and subconciously choose these addictions over motherhood.
I think about whether these mothers feel like failures because of their inadequacies.
And in this reflection, I think about my own mother. I think about the type of mother I would have loved for her to be and how starkly contrasting that image is in comparison to the type of mother she ultimately became. The other day, I brought my mother a card for Mother’s Day. It usually takes me a while to pick out the perfect one because I cannot just choose a typical card dedicated to mothers on this day. The one I purchased was so accurate that it was scary… it said (loose translation) “Thank you for giving birth to me. Without you, I would not be the woman I am today”. Sounds general but it held so much meaning behind it.
Allow me to explain.
It is no secret that my mother has abused drugs for the better part of my life. My childhood is filled with negative memories in regards to my mother. So how has she helped shape me into the woman I am today? Simple. Her actions throughout her life have been the perfect example of how I do not want to be. It sounds worse than it is… but I think it is true for any parent. We desire for our children to be better and do better than we have done. My mother’s addiction to drugs has rendered the greatest lessons of my life.
I am writing this today as a 27 year old woman who has NEVER tried drugs… I have NEVER so much as smoked a cigarette. I have NEVER smoked marijuana or any other drug. No pills. No tobacco. Nothing. Seeing what drugs did (and are doing) to my mother, I made a conscious decision as a child to never put myself or my children through that pain.
My mother’s drug addiction defined who she was to me as a woman and as a parent. Her inability to fight her addiction produced her inability to care for her children correctly. I have no doubt in my mind that my mother loves me. As an adult, and as a parent, I have a greater understanding of the love she has for each of her 5 children. I know she would have been everything we desired of her, and deserved for her to be, IF she was not addicted to drugs. I know she would have protected us, IF she herself had been protected. I know she would have provided for us, IF she had not succumbed to her environment.
My children mean the world to me… everything I do is to ensure they will not experience the emotional damage I have had to overcome over the years. I love them extremely hard because I feel my mother didn’t love me hard enough. As parents, and especially mothers, we have a RESPONSIBILITY to provide a life for our children that equips them to be loving, positive, happy, and productive members of society and lovers of Christ.
We have a RESPONSIBILTY to take care of them, to nurture them, to love them unconditionally. We have a RESPONSIBILITY to teach our young boys how to be gentleman and our little girls how to be ladies.
We have a RESPONSIBILITY to make sure they don’t fall asleep crying for us. We have a RESPONSIBILITY to make sure they don’t go to bed with stomachs growling.
We have a RESPONSIBILITY to listen to their over-exaggerated stories and their corny jokes. We have a RESPONSIBILITY to tell them how much we love them every single day. We have a RESPONSIBILITY to back up those claims with actions.
We have a RESPONSIBILITY, regardless of what their fathers do, because we are their MOTHERS. Their natural connection to us started within our wombs and it is us they cry out for when all else fails them. We have a RESPONSIBILITY that we have to take seriously because their lives depend on it.
The type of mother you are WILL ultimately mold your children— negatively or positively. One way or another, your actions WILL shape your child into the woman/man they will become. What lessons are you teaching your child through your words and actions as a mother?!
My experiences as my mother’s child could have had a negative impact on my life— if it weren’t for my grandmother’s love, I probably would be a totally different woman. But I thank God for my mother and the lessons she learned the hard way so that I would never have to learn them for myself. I never thought I would say it but her addiction is the reason I am the mother I am today.
I am playful with my children because I want them to remember the joys of childhood. I am mushy with my children because I don’t ever want them to doubt mommy’s love. I am hard on my children because I know the choices they will have to make later on in their life. I teach my children about God because I know His Word will live on in their hearts over the years and provide comfort for them when I am unable to do so.
Today I pray for all mothers… good and not so good. My prayer is not that you become perfect but that you take on the responsibility God has blessed you with and that you embrace it and His gifts (your children). I pray that you shower them with love. I pray that you protect them. I pray that you encourage them. I pray that you remind them they are special. I pray that you love them and that you seek God to love them the right way.
Sometimes we can only be the parents we were taught to be. Sometimes we can only be the PEOPLE we were shown to be. A woman who wasn’t shown love may find it difficult to show love to her children. A little girl who was abandoned and neglected by her own mother may not feel that she is able to do any better for her own children. All things are possible through Christ… Anytime I feel inadequate I think about how much better I am doing than what my very own parents did and I find comfort in knowing my children have never felt the pain I felt at their age. I find comfort in knowing that they are well taken care of… they are loved by mommy and daddy… they are Honor Roll students who are respectful, playful, and genuinely happy with the lives we have created for them.
I am thankful to be their mother…
And I pray for His continued mercy to allow me to be alive to witness them grow up into the young man and woman they will soon become.
I can proudly attest I am the TYPE of mother I always dreamed I would be♥