Wow – no one said that being a MOTHER is an easy job. I’ve often wondered why God didn’t hand us a blueprint to our child’s life at birth; if we DID have the blueprint, we’d probably want to bargain for another version. I have five young adult children and a 5 yr. old that will enter Kindergarten in the Fall. Letting go of some desires to protect and hover over my children has not come easily, but through MANY years of parenting, tears, and tons of prayer.
When one of my daughters turned 8, she admired another girl in her class. Day after day we heard of high hopes that the two would become friends. The day they did become friends was a really good one!. They shared secrets, homework, meals…her friend was a pleasant little girl to be around…at first. Then IT came. After school time became a time of tears and tales of how her friend had become…”the mean girl.” I fought back tears along with her, although mine were from holding back a phone call to another parent to resolve my own child’s problems.
I refused to become…”that MOM.” The Mom who always walks into the teacher’s room to discuss this or that problem. The MOM who is always TOO available and TOO pushy about what is going on at school or even at school-related events. The MOM who cannot imagine that HER child would cause harm to another. The MOM who walks into the office everyday with some form of complaint, rather than encouragement.
Being THAT MOM was built into me – I blame it on God’s feminine design.:) The need to protect my child is always this strange and overpowering emotion. I held back knowing how dangerous it is to steal the abilities for conflict resolution from our children; to take away those steps toward independence that parents need to allow. My daughter and I role-played different options of how to ask her “friend” to STOP calling names and excluding her from “the group” at recess. We talked about the qualities of true friendship and how to decide who we share important things with.
I let the problem go on for several months. It began as verbal attacks, but then resulted in pulling hair and scratching. It was time for parent involvement; I did sit down with the teacher and principal to help resolve this particular conflict.
I don’t have the blueprint for those difficult years for my 5 yr. old. What I do know now….1) I cannot micro-manage every problem or aspect of my young child’s life or even “fix” choices for adult children, 2) It is up to us, as MOMS, to allow our children to grow and to offer tools that may help resolve conflicts and move them toward independence, 3) when it is clear that our children NEED our help, we “go to bat” with them on tough issues, and 4) to allow God to work through us in the MANY prayers we ALL offer for the joy, happiness, and success of our children.
Wishing YOU this Mother’s Day….and the days that follow: wisdom, grace, hope, and LOVE!