Challenges? Mothers know all about it. Every day we’re fighting one battle or the other. As young girls, some of us don’t have it pleasant when the ‘visitor’ comes knocking, yet we live through it & wipe clean month after month. As mothers, we battle the burden of parenting (amongst many other responsibilities) yet we’re not broken. As elderly women, we battle the expectation society places on us to be the model grandmother and at the same time wife of our elderly husbands. Yet we manage to work through each day. Trust me all mothers are special.
Perhaps, the most challenging season in a woman’s life is motherhood. For some, the journey of pregnancy can be 40 long weeks. The process of child birth, another scary, scarry experience and then the days of nursing and nurturing this bundle of joy can be filled with mixed emotions of joy, fatigue, fulfilment and a sense of purposelessness. We’re a bag of emotions – a burden our husbands may sometimes find hard to bear and other women find hard to comprehend. We often get preached at or even chided with words like, ‘You’re after all not the first woman to go through this. And you won’t be the last.’ I salute you dear mothers. The world expects so much from you and you always manage to surpass these expectations.
Now, let me add to these expectations by offering one or two words of advice on parenting.
We should stop pouring old wine into new wineskins. Notice I used ‘we’. So I am sometimes complicit. The challenges to parenting today greatly trump those our parents faced when raising us. It’s harder to be a child now than it was 20 years ago. Back in the days, our parents fought hard to keep us indoors. Today, it’s quite hard to get children to play outdoors. Times have changed and we must be willing to change with time. The secret to getting it right, I believe is tucked inside the children themselves. If we’re willing to pay attention, our children can teach us how to parent them better. They can teach us to ‘calm down’ instead of stress, to help focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses. For example, today I see some parents stress their three-year-olds with academic performance expectations e.g. writing numbers and alphabets. While I think it’s rather too early to place these demands on such young children, I’d also like us to consider the future relevance of that fine-motor skill called handwriting in a future where most people communicate by typing on smartphones and computer systems. I’m not saying we should throw away handwriting, rather I’m saying we should update our thinking and be future-oriented.
Happy Mothering Sunday.