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Not long ago, I chanced upon the feminist website “Vagenda”, where one woman anonymously wrote she regrets having children and the fact that having children has negatively affected her physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.
Even though she went on further to state that she loves her children, she wished she had not had them! All over the internet and on various mother’s support groups platforms one can find multiple threads with women mourning the loss of their old lives and battling with the daily reality of motherhood.
In my opinion motherhood is a huge blessing and its blessings outweighs the challenges which sometimes makes it feels like a burden. I have an eight-year old boy who is easy going and a high maintenance, assertive 6-year-old girl and their different personalities sometimes drive me to the wall. It is no secret that every child is different and unique. Despite one’s best efforts, sometimes as mothers we do question ourselves as whether we are good mothers or if we are bringing up our children in the right way.
Nowadays children are exposed to so much thanks to modern technology, parenting has therefore become more challenging and complicated. I think our parents got a better deal with us! I must always give my children further explanation as to why I need them to do something or when I said no to them, the phrase “because mummy says so” does not work anymore! How do I bring up my children in a way, so they exhibit good behaviour and manners when am not around? How do I ensure they become God fearing, responsible, upright adults in the future?
The first “ammunition” I believe to combat parenting challenges is to Pray for one’s children. Praying for your children for God’s guidance should be a daily affair. At a very tender age, friends can influence the behaviour of their peers easily, so praying for their friends is also a must. As mothers we need to pray for our children as they journey through life, whether be it examinations, career choices, relationships etc. I remember around the age of ten my elder brother was writing his examinations. I recall my mum praying the whole day for him. At some point she invited me to join her to pray for him. I have a personal testimony, my son, does not like to do any form of reading, I have tried everything from forcing him, pampering him, nothing was working. A couple of weeks I decided to pray constantly about it. He has now developed a keen interest in reading and will now and come to me with a story book asking to read to me! Just imagine the expression on my face when that happened the first time!
As mothers we need to engage our children in conversations and it is important to show interest in what is happening in their lives. A good way to start is by asking about their day at school. My daughter will recount everything that happened in school to the tiniest detail of even how many times she used the bathroom! However, with my son I will just get three words “school was fine”. A good trick that I have adopted is to ask him about his friends. As soon as I ask him about his friends, he begins to talk and tell me about his day. By engaging them in these conversations I get to know whether they have been good at school or otherwise or if they encountered any problems that need my urgent attention.
Discipline is also very important in parenting. Do not be scared to discipline your children for the fear they will not love you. Discipline should start from when they are toddlers. Children are smart and always want to push the boundaries to test how far they can get away with being naughty. Discipline should not be left to fathers alone! The nature of my husband work demands he travels sometimes. He sometimes goes away for 6 months. During this period, I must be both the mum and dad, I was not going to put disciplining on hold for 6 months until he returns! Children need to understand from an early age that every action has consequences.
As mothers we need to have fun with our children, motherhood is not all about cooking and making sure the children have been fed and have clean clothes on. I must admit my husband is the more entertaining parent. I am starting to make a conscious effort to have fun and play with them. My daughter will bring her dolls and we will have a role play. Even though initially I found it really boring I have discovered through the role play I can teach her some life values. In the similar way my son loves video games.! When playing together I use the opportunity to ask him all manner of questions which he will never give me an answer if I asked in a different environment.
As mothers we need to love our children and make the children experience that love. Never stop loving your children, even when they make the wrong choices in life. The love and support must continue through their teenage and adult and even married lives. The greatest gift a mother can give to her son or daughter is to love their spouse. Successful mothers are not the ones who never struggled. They are the ones who never give up despite the struggles. We all have struggles but so do we also have an enormous strength!! I will describe motherhood in three words “a beautiful storm”!
Happy Mother’s Day to all.
By : Ellen Mimi Owusu