I've been thinking a lot about courage and parenting. Courage and mothering.
When I thought of what mothering is to me, words poured into my mind, like: challenging, fulfilling, fun(ny), hard, emotional, sacred, exhausting, exhilarating, joyful, mundane, harried, sacrificial, utterly delightful.
I never considered courage. But stepping back, I realize that, holy cow, YES, wanting to mother effectively takes tremendous amounts of courage.
When I look at mothering as a courageous act I feel empowered! Like I'm armed and ready for battle, and the war is fought by teaching, training, loving, listening, saying yes A LOT, and at times, saying NO.
Maybe this is on my mind because I've felt really challenged lately. As a parent. Challenged to hold my ground and not cave in. Challenged because "other kids are allowed to," or "his parents let him do it." Sheesh, it's hard to be the bad guy! I'm NOT a bad guy. I'm fun, for crying out loud:)! But, as a wise friend once said to me, "YOU are your child's GREATEST ADVOCATE." As much as I want to, I can't be fun all the time. The risk is too great. I love my kiddos too much. So, I guess I better start being okay with Bad Guy status.
I did an AMAZING job making my mother feel like the bad guy. I wanted to wear short shorts, I wanted to dress immodestly, I wanted to date before I turned 16, I wanted to see Wayne's World in sixth grade, I wanted to push the limits in EVERY WAY, but my mom never backed down. Oh, she saved me from a WORLD of hurt. Notice that I "wanted" to do those things. I never did. My mom said NO. She enforced that NO. And I guess I was obedient enough to oblige (maybe I wasn't all bad?).
Now, as an adult and mother, I PRAISE her for being courageous. I'd probably be a teenage-mother-alcoholic if it weren't for her. Maybe I'm stretching it a bit:). But NOT doing those things changed my heart to where I didn't desire them anymore. I wanted to be GOOD more than I wanted to be COOL. And that's made all the difference in my life. Thanks, Mom.
I was perusing a church magazine yesterday and read, "What the world really needs is courageous parenting from mothers and fathers who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand."
BAM! That is powerful. I am not alone. I CAN do this. It will be hard. I'm a people-pleaser. I LOVE making people happy. But I know, in the long run, being courageous as a mother will offer my kids the greatest chance for real happiness. My parents gave me that gift. It's only fitting that I pass it on, right?