Imagine this picture representing a human mother caring for her young. Image from the Internet.
Lesson: If a woman is open to it, motherhood carries with it blessed joys and tremendous responsibilities.
How are you coping with such responsibilities? In the first place, what are these responsibilities?
Having raised a son, who is now a well-adjusted and capable individual, I have a good handle about the responsibilities of motherhood–along with the tremendous joys that one feels in raising an innocent being of the Creator into a responsible and worthwhile citizen of the Universe. I have written previously in this blog about motherhood. Please refer to http://www.drbethhealing.com/ten-dos-and-donts-of-effective-motherhood.
Now about the responsibilities of motherhood. Some of the following may be repeating some of the ideas reflected in the above post. So much the better. As I always say, repetition is one of the keys to learning. Please note that I will be writing in accordance with the stream of consciousness that I am in, right now.
So what are the responsibilities of motherhood? Of course, many of these are responsibilities of both parents.
1. Of primary importance, of course, is that the child be well fed, well clothed, and well housed. Meaning, there needs to be food on the table, clothes on her/his back, and roof over his/her head. According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, basic needs have to be fulfilled before one goes up the ladder of self-fulfillment or what he calls “self-actualization.”
Growing up in the Philippines surrounded by couples with several children whom they found challenging to raise, I said that when I got married, I would have only one child, order that I can give my child not only life’s basic necessities but also make it possible for him/her to get good education. The Universe heard my dream. I only have one child. I was able to give him what he needed. Today, this child is now a well-adjusted individual and an accomplished professional.
2. When the physical needs are adequately met, then there needs to be time for fun. If possible, fun for the whole family.
No. 1 is an obligation; No. 2, a choice. Do you know that when the children grow up, what they remember are not the times you fed them but the fun times you spent with them? Why? Because such times feed their souls. Whatever is in their souls stays there for a very long time.
Some of you may say that you do not have adequate funds for fun. But having fun does not mean spending money. Maybe, just inexpensive games or toys that all can have fun with. How about shared activity like exercising or taking walks? Or any activity that does not involve money? Something that appeals to the child and to the child in you.
3. What about their hearts? How do you feed their hearts? Not only by showing them you you love them but also by telling them, as often as you can: “I love you.” Better yet, hug them as you say these words.
The Filipino culture is not into practising the above. Sure, the people in your circle show you how they value and love you by what they do for you, but no words accompany such actions. Thus, when I migrated to America, I was not used to hugging people and telling anyone these words of endearment. I remember having been in a retreat and when the minister said that it was time to hug everyone, I broke down and sat on the ground. Many participants picked me up and hugged me and told me endearing words. It was a big learning experience for me. Now, I am a hugger, oftentimes telling people in my circle that I love them. I notice that many Filipinos in my circle are learning to do the same. Ah! How liberating this is!
4. To help them develop their self-worth, feed it!
How? Words of endearment like: “I love you;” “I value you;” “I appreciate you;” “You are a great blessing to me;” will greatly help in boosting the child’s self-worth. When you focus on the love and on the strengths and good attributes of the child, the child will learn to value him/herself and will focus on what he can do, instead of lamenting on what he/she cannot do. When I was raising my child, there was a time when he said, “Mommy, all you say is ‘Don’t do this; don’t do that.’ “ This woke up. Is this all I did? Focusing on the negative? So from then on, I started focusing on the positive–on what he did well. When he forgot his assigned chore, I did not remind him or nagged him. I merely gave him the space to do it at the time he deemed appropriate. (Hey! It was hard. It was a good test on my patience!) Then when he did it, I made a big deal of it–noticing how well it was done and how grateful I was he did it. This was one of the tricks that did it. My son grew up to be a dependable and responsible individual.
5. Set Limits.
No. 4 above does not mean giving the child free rein on what he wants to do. No! Let him/her know what is expected of him/her. Let him/her know the consequences of his/her not attending to your requirements. Do this as a matter of fact, without labels or threats.
As the reader will notice in listing these responsibilities, I have been basing this list on my experiences as a mother. This is the best way I know how. No. 5 is one of these. When my child was a teenager and I was a single mother, I told him of the house rules about curfews–that he needed to be home at a certain time. He was then a teenager who wanted to party with his friends till the wee hours of the morning. Thus, my setting of the curfews bothered him a lot. While everyone was still having fun, he had to go home. Later on, he said in one of his high school papers that my strictness, which he disliked when he was younger, he was now grateful for. It taught him how to be responsible and dependable.
There you have the first five. Next will be the last two. See you on the next post.