I have been a stay at home mother since my son was born. I am going on four years now and I openly admit that I have yet to master it. I am constantly trying to find new ways to entertain him, new methods of teaching him, searching for clever ways to expose him to the world from within the home. It is not easy. In fact, there are times when it is very wearisome. Just about every night before bed, I reflect on the day and doubts begin to arise then that small voice begins to whisper…Today was a bad day. Do you think so and so has bad days? Do you even know how to properly teach Elijah? Do you really believe that you’re disciplining in the most effective way? How do you know if you are doing everything right or making every mistake there is? In those moments, I must force myself to silence that voice because the answer to each and every one of those doubt filled questions is simple. I don’t know. And that is okay.
My father would constantly tell me that children don’t come with instructions; with each passing day I am finding that to be more and more true. Raising a child is a journey. A journey that comes with it’s own strengths and struggles. A journey that is distinct. But knowing all of this doesn’t keep the doubt filled questions from coming… How many times did I raise my voice at Elijah today? Does he know that I still love him even though he has been on time out over 4 times today? Does he understand that when Daddy leaves to work it’s not because he doesn’t want to spend time with him but because that’s how he provides for us? Does he know that I could live the rest of my life without making another grilled cheese sandwich for lunch? Does he know that I’m not purposely ignoring him when I’m cooking or doing an assignment? Does he understand that we don’t like to tell him no? The uncertainties seem continuous. And I’m sure that there are just as many questions that never seem to escape each of you.
As parents, we must take the time to remember that we are good mothers and good fathers. We need to remind ourselves that our children enjoy every moment that they are with us. Whether it is just 10 minutes in the morning or before bed, whether we are home with them all day, whether we are scolding them or giving them time out, whether we are reading to them or even just enjoying a movie together because the truth is, all children really care about is feeling loved (and of course getting their favorite snack and/or toy).
So even when you are filled with countless uncertainties, even when that small voice tries to convince you that you are inadequate, even if you cry yourself to sleep from feeling overwhelmed, even if you’re just about ready to give up…stop!
Stop for a moment.
Look at your child, hold them, tell him/her how much you love them.
Then watch their reaction and embrace that moment.
That’s the moment that matters.
That’s the moment you need.
That’s the reassurance to help you get through.
Now I don’t know about you, but I plan on smothering my son with tons of kisses right now.