Be All That You Can Be

“Be the mom you needed when you were growing up.”

As a child, I don’t believe we are fully aware of what we need from our mothers. We find comfort in having a place to stay, food to eat, clothes to wear and a selection of things we enjoy such as books and toys. As long as we’re functional, many of us fail to identify the things that are atypical because our lives look better than others. As a result, we grow up in complete dysfunction without realizing it.

Discipline was big in our household and it came in the form of a licking. Everything we did wrong was corrected with a belt and it took me years to understand this was not correction, this was abuse. Because I thought I turned out to be a decent human being, I believed this type of discipline was necessary. It showed “you were running the show” and you demanded respect. Luckily I learned early you can help your child make adjustments with a conversation or other forms of teaching. As a mother, I never spanked my child for a first time offense. I figured the problem could be rectified by talking about it. And by middle school, I figured loss of privileges was sufficient enough punishment. As a result, my son became comfortable with acknowledging many of his mistakes because he knew he wouldn’t be tormented for living and learning.

Say encouraging words. As mentioned in a previous post, my mom showed up for every event but never said an encouraging word. She never said anything motivational or gave me a pat on the back to suggest a job well done. But remember, I was punished for everything I did wrong. So, I went through life striving for perfection when the only thing in my reach was excellence. Nothing I did was ever good enough because my mom didn’t tell me it was good enough. With everything my child does, no matter how poorly he might perform, I find something to highlight. As a college student-athlete, he still seeks me in hope of being uplifted when he’s not at his best. He understands there are good days and bad days but every day he rises he has another chance to get to get it right.

Take care of you. This might sound selfish but we’ve heard the phrase, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” My mom did so much with us, she never learned how to live a life of her own. Now that we’re adults, she still tries to control aspects of our lives. She still tries to take care of us although she struggles to manage her own affairs. As much as I want to do every little thing for my son, I have to pause and do things that are necessary for my sanity. This helps me give my son the best that I have.

Be a family. Other than a few outdoor activities together, which was usually someone’s sporting event, we were six different people living under one roof. Children had no say in any household decisions. We didn’t pay bills so we didn’t have opinions that needed to be shared. Family decisions were made by two people. Children were to be seen and not heard. We, my husband and I, encourage our son to have input on many things in our household. As he has gotten older, this has helped him with his decision making process as a young adult.

These are just a few things that have helped in my development as a mother and in my son’s growth. I’m glad I realized as much as I appreciated my mom, I didn’t agree with much of her parenting. The changes have been beneficial to every member in my household. And while, I’m not perfect, I know I’m striving to do right by the gift I’ve been blessed with. What are some privileges you’ve given your child that you didn’t have? What did you find to be the benefit? Or, did you raise your child the exact same way you were raised?

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