The decision to become a mom is the choice to become the most powerful person in a child’s life and is beyond calculation. It’s carrying and caring for a life that’s completely relying on mom not only for survival, but to uplift them and to, among other things, teach them the hard rules of life. Being a mother is also the most challenging and rewarding relationship a woman will ever have. And so, I’m inspired by great moms and salute all of the extra efforts they make for the sake of their children.
Nowadays, though, it seems we figuratively pat moms on the head, buy them flowers and the perfect mushy cards on Mother’s Day. However, when all is said and done, we don’t really show them nearly as much respect as we would a doctor, a lawyer or a therapist despite their complicated role. In fact, women who choose to be stay-at-home moms are often referred to as “just a mom.” Even if they opt to work full-time while raising children or stay home with their little ones, we need to understand that any mom-shaming related to the decision to mother effectively undermines female empowerment considering all that moms are required to do.
Safety and Security
Mostly it is mom’s job to be a protector, providing a healthy and safe environment in her womb while her baby develops. This responsibility continues once her baby enters the world, whether it’s guaranteeing her babe-in-arms has a sturdy roof over its head or keeping the Boogeyman away at night and everything else in between.
Some of you may feel as if I am forgetting about fathers and other influential relationships between children and close family members and teachers. After all they say it takes a village to raise a child, right? Although that is true, I am sure we all can agree that it’s not “a village” that a young child cries for when he or she is distressed. You, mom, are usually the dependable person your baby can run to with all of their problems. If you can’t make everything better, then who else can?
If a child has been holding it together all day, in an unpleasant and difficult situation, usually the minute their teary eyes land on your face, they know they can finally relax and release their bottled feelings on you, as a mom is an emotional blankie for a child to have permission to keep their emotions 100% real. Plus, most moms can usually sense when their child is feeling troubled. Often lending an open ear and just letting him or her talk freely about the worry can help a child move quickly beyond it. When mom reduces her child’s risks and stress, this helps to firmly support their spiritual, mental and emotional development and physical health. When a child isn’t constantly worried that something devastating is going to happen, he or she learns to have faith. Their nervous system is calm and relaxed, and they can sleep more soundly and their mind can heal their body in a natural way as well, whereas a child who does not feel safe typically becomes withdrawn, has difficulty concentrating and/or overreacts to inconsequential problems.
Unconditional Love and Affection
On top, a child’s self-image is greatly influenced by their emotional relationship to mom. The first instances of self-awareness are experienced through seeing themselves in the mirror of their mom’s eyes and through her words and actions— how she touches and holds her child. If this is coupled with love and affection, her child feels on cloud nine as the earliest seeds of healthy self-esteem are being sowed. Early attachments also form a child’s mental pictures of how relationships function in the world. A lack of maternal warmth and validation distorts their sense of self, making them lack trust in, or be wary of, close emotional connections. That’s because a child’s need for its mother’s love is a primal driving force, and that need does not lessen with unavailability. Actually it exists side by side with the understanding that the one woman who is supposed to love you without condition doesn’t. The work it takes to heal and deal with that reality is hard to say the least. It has an effect on many parts of the self but mostly in the area of relationships.
Life Coach and Mentor
A mom also has the power to instill in her child a sense of right and wrong, and when he or she internalizes that, mom almost becomes her child’s conscience. If your conscience is always your playmate and never tells you when you are in the wrong, you’ll most likely going grow up with little, if any, respect for authority. Too, being a mom means developing and perfecting “the mom look” that paralyzes misbehavior–that uncompromising glare that says, “one more time and …. ” Certainly you want your child to love you and have fun and be open with you and not live in fear of you. To live in fear is to not live at all. However, you also want to encourage ethical values and set boundaries. More often than not, it’s just what they need and want.
Of course, there are days that are terrible and certainly test your patience, and then there are those great days where you pass with honors. That’s why, like any top level job, you have to bring all your own gifts, qualities, research and experiences to the role of mother to reap the rewards that go beyond changing diapers and washing dishes and that can truly change your life for the better. Your actions must also be in unison with what you desire, believe and value as a mother because the world can only value mothering to the degree good moms affirm that it should be so. You moms out there hold the keys to the doors that open up the perception of motherhood. As we support you, and as you remind those around you to hold you in high regard, you honor and reverence both the moms whose shoulders you have stood on and the daughters who will in the future stand steady on yours.
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