Saturday, October 20, 2012

Parenting Resources

27 Days to a Happy Mom - Day 18

 Mothering is a hard job.  It taxes your time, your energy, and your brain cells.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  Anyone who wants to do well in a difficult area needs to spend time, energy, and mental effort.  It's called striving to excel.  And just like any serious athlete, accomplished musician, or upper-level executive, moms need to have and use a good support staff.

I was a young mother when Hillary Clinton delivered her "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" speech.  I hated it.  I was very offended in the insinuation that I did not know how to raise my own children.  Sixteen years, a few children, and lots of experience later, I understand a bit of what she said.  No, the village does not raise the child.  But it is there to support the parents in their critical roles.

As mothers, do we use our support systems?  They are there, although not as visible as they used to be.  It might have been easier to see our helpers when families lived together in an interconnected web of extended family and long-time neighbors.  Now we have to hunt a bit more, and create our own mother helpers.

We do this by getting to know our neighbors, and making friends with them.  We talk to the kids who come over to plays with ours, and meet their parents.  We become active in neighborhood groups, volunteer in our local school, and talk to other mothers.  We visit with grandmothers - veteran mothers with a wealth of experience - and learn from their wisdom.  We don't roll our eyes when a stranger in the mall gives us a bit of advice about our children.  We show appreciation for the good adults who work with our children: school teachers, church instructors, scout leaders.  We read good parenting books (here's my current favorite and an article on entitlement), scour through online resources, and write our stories down so we can remember what we're learning.

Let's not forget the support we can use in our own homes!  Use your husband as a resource.  He might not be as skilled at dealing with the kids as you are (you've had lots more practice, after all), but he cares for them just as much as you do.  Talk together about how to teach and provide consequences.  And the children themselves ca be a great strength to you.  Teach them to say "thank you" and "please."  Stop and give them a hug - as much for you as for them.  Visit with you older children; get down on the floor with your little ones.  Call your mother (or adopt another one).

You're not alone, Mom.  We're all in this together.  And in our villages (made up of so many homes) we can support and nurture each other.

Just for today... find an experienced mother and ask her about a parenting situation you have.  Make a connection with another mother.  Thank your husband for the help he gives you.

Check in on Monday for "Happy Through Service."  Have a great weekend! 

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