No matter how many books you read, how many bloggers you subscribed to or how many courses you attended on parenting, there are some things only your mom can guide you on. You may consult your partner on several critical (and at times silly) decisions but at the end of the day, it’s your mother’s advice you want to follow. After all, she is the one who raised you and overcame all the challenges (maybe more) than you are facing now. Have we ignored the role a mother plays upon another mother? Does one adopt all her values? Or do you feel like going against everything she tells you to do? When do we draw the line and when do we invite her in? What role does your partner play and how does a mother facilitate her child to become the parent she can be? Here are just four areas you need to keep in mind when welcoming your mother’s role in parenting.
- At home – she raised you and maybe your siblings too, sometimes with help or sometimes doing it alone. So she will be the best person to guide you on house cleaning when living with a newborn, baby-proofing the home – she may have many valuable stories to share of how she may have missed securing one area or another leading to some bumps and bruises or how she invented new ways to protect you from harm in areas you never thought any child can be harmed. Learn those stories well and implement them. Never hurt anyone to have a safe and secure home for the child. Don’t be afraid to ask her how she juggled managing the home and baby. Did she have help and if so, you should leverage that help too? Maybe it was the neighbor next door, maybe it was your aunts or grandmother. Now is the time to ask everyone to step in, possibly the way your mother did.
There are of course some mothers who can do it all – alone. And we bow our hats to them. It is good to know how they were able to manage such a herculean task but don’t be daunted thinking you need to go it alone. Raising a child is hard enough and no one needs to do this alone. At times people don’t have a choice and may need to toughen up thereby playing multiple roles and the toll often falls upon the poor moms in ways she can’t imagine. This is where you need to take a firm stand and decide you don’t want to go down that path. Acknowledge your mother for all her sacrifices and bravery of going the path alone, but if you have a supportive partner, friends, and family there beside you, don’t be ashamed to lean on them as that is what they are there for.
- In your head – this is a tricky area and sometimes we find matters of the head leading to such divide between mothers and daughters. It’s one thing to take your mother’s advice and act upon it, its another to allow your mother to dictate all matters by allowing her to get inside your head. How can you differentiate? It’s simple. Did you consult your mother for each and every decision in your life? Right from the clothes, you wear to the food you ate to the man you date? If the answer is “Obviously no!” then now should be no different. If you find yourself reaching out for the cell phone to ask your mother each and everything about raising your little one, then you have let her inside your head and are preventing yourself to become a parent. In fact, you have regressed to a child and allowed her to make all the decisions for you.
It can happen sometimes when things seem so chaotic and out of control that you want her to completely take over. You want her to bathe your baby, tell you when to nurse and how to nurse, you want her to cook and clean and decide when you can sleep and when you need to wake up. This is toxic behavior and should be stopped right from the start. Thankfully your partner will be there to create objections and with his or her help, you can make most of these decisions, if not all. It becomes easy to fall prey to the comfort of when you were a child but don’t let that happen.
- In your heart – here comes love and understanding. When we look at our mothers we may not understand why she says or does the things that make us exasperated. We only begin to understand this when we become mothers ourselves. That carefree girl disappeared and now is the most careful mother so protective of her little brood. That young girl who was always out partying or hanging with her girlfriends now cant wait to get home to her little ones and watch a cartoon with her kids while lounging in her pajamas. These changes happen because they are led from the heart and your mother can show you the way. We may be afraid and intimidated at raising a child but when we look at our mothers we can see how she led the way. Through love and understanding.
Our mothers teach us the hardest attribute, patience. Especially during those long nights of wailing and screaming or when our baby is still showing no signs of progress despite being given all the inoculations or medications, or when your baby refuses to sleep and you have had an incredibly hard few days, patience with love and understanding will help you go through. Some mothers rarely had the patience and were short and harsh on the little ones. There is a lesson to be learned from these mothers too. Do you want to be the same parent to your child? When your child was in need, did your mother put her needs first? You can then change the dynamic and care for your little one so as not to repeat that mistake.