Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thoughts on Mothering from Sarah Mae

I think I've mentioned that I'm rereading Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae.  She has a long chapter on mothering and there are a few thoughts I'd like to share from that.

I'm at the beginning of this thing called being a mom. Most of the time, I love it, but there are seconds, minutes, hours, etc that I'm not a big fan of it. I mean, I love my little girl, don't get me wrong, but some days are hard. It's me and her All. Day. Long and sometimes All. Evening. Long too.

I have this horrible fear of messing up, of being a bad mom, of ruining my child. What if I don't give her enough sensory stimulation? What if I don't talk to her enough? What if I talk too much? What if I don't engage with her in profitable activities enough times in a week?

One of my goals for this year was to spend 15 minutes a day playing with Amber, sitting on the floor without my phone or computer and playing with her. Do you know how hard that is? I confess, I've not done well at keeping that goal. I sit down and play with her for a few minutes and then she is off doing her thing perfectly happy, as long as I am on the floor. I have decided some of that time can be split up. I can spend five minutes and then let her play and then come back and reorient and re-entertain for another five minutes.

And then why can she eat her piece of toast perfectly fine all week long and the one breakfast out of the whole week that her dad is there, she gags on too big of a mouthful? Talk about feeling like a failure. It ruined my morning for awhile because to my fragile mom brain I was a bad mom. I was incompetent and D would never trust me with our child. That's not how it is, but it is how it feels. I find I am very sensitive in this thing called mothering.

Anyway, back to what Sarah has to say. She talk about investing in her children, about nurturing their souls. She says if we want to nurture their souls then we must be intentional about filling their minds with good things. And this is so true, I believe. I used to not like the "Christian" story books because they had a hard time telling the story in a good way. They were too interested in bringing God into the story. And I still think there are books like that out there. I mean, do children really say to their dad after being punished, "Thank you so much for punishing me." I'm sure I never did and I sure don't expect A to say that. But I have become a fan of books that promote a good moral, that talk about God, and that teach children good things. I want my children to love the Bible Stories, to love biographies of saints, to love the old classic books. I want them to love beauty and good food and rich relationships. How are they going to do this? I'm going to have to model this for them. Wow, I have so much to learn.

I want my children to be kind and intentional and nonjudgmental. I do? I better get started acting that way myself.

Sarah talks about going for one week without turning the TV on because the thought had struck her of what would the world be like if Beethoven and the other great composers and artists from years gone by had had access to a TV screen. Is talent being lost and unexplored because kids are too busy watching talent instead of learning it. And some of that stuff? Is it really even worth being called talent?

Yes, I know there are studies out there on the harmful effects of a child getting screen time before they are two and it terrifies me, but yes A does get some screen time. Her and her dad will sit on the couch in the evening and watch music videos of Jesus Loves Me and other songs. Is it going to hurt her in the long-term? I have no idea, but it is cute to watch her snuggle in and hang out with her dad.

So I don't know about this mothering journey. I'm just struggling along. What I need to remember is to do the best I can, leave the results with God and remember that as they get older, I can't force them to make the right choices, but I can do my best to guide them and most of all to love them regardless.

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