We love moms. We love our moms. We love being moms. We have Mother’s Day, gosh darn it.
But we don’t love motherhood.
We don’t value the position of being a mother. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a full-time working mom, a part-time working mom, or a working-from-home mom.
Why is that? Why don’t we treat motherhood as one of the most important jobs on the planet? Is it because of what society tells us? Is it because we aren’t paid to be moms?
Because surely if someone paid us to be moms, would we be texting our friends while our kids asked us for a snack? Would we demand our kids be quiet while we watched TV?
Now, some might say, well, hey, I deserve a little me time too! I agree. I agree wholeheartedly. But when you become a mom, you have pretty much signed up to take on a job where your boss is now a drooling baby. And then the drooling baby becomes a stubborn toddler. Then the stubborn toddler grows up to be a defiant preschooler.
Is it fair? Is that OK? I don’t know the answers to that. But that’s the way it is. It’s like saying, it’s raining outside but I want to start a fire. Uh, OK. That’s great. I wish you luck as you make that work.
For a lot of parents, we have yet to learn how to make motherhood work. It takes more than patience. It sometimes means reteaching ourselves. It means putting aside our needs to assist our children. Islam gives a nice rundown of some basic upbringing rules.
- From birth to age 7: Let children be free.
- From age 7-14: Give your children responsibilities. Let them serve you.
- From age 14 and up: Treat them as your adviser and friend.
For some parents, the first rule is the hardest. While it doesn’t mean no discipline at all, and letting your kids run wild, according to Islamic scholars, it means letting them engage in what they like, while you create boundaries.
- Fantasy: Having a 3-year-old sit quietly during a program or social event.
- Problem: Expecting our 3-year-old to behave because it serves our purpose. When he wants to run, you get mad and make him sit. He cries and throws a fit. You are embarrassed, and drag him outside. Mom and kid both unhappy.
- Reality: He’s 3. He wants to run and play. Bring toys or an activity to keep them engaged. Don’t stay longer than you need to. Or if you have to stay, take him outside for a little fresh air and running room, then bring him back in.
But that takes more work! How am I going to chat it up with my friends while I am playing servant to my toddler? Yes, yes it will take more work. Yes, it’s not fun at times to play servant to our children. But that’s just it. While we are letting them run “free” during these early years, we are actually creating a foundation of confidence and trust. Our children know that we love them so much we let them do what they want. They trust us to take care of their needs.
So when you follow these rules, you will get an 8-year-old who wants to please her mom and dad. Because they built and nurtured this foundation of trust and love, your child now wants to please you. They want to help set the table. They want to wash the dishes. They want to serve you. In turn you give them responsibilities to show them that they are big enough to contribute.
And this now obedient child will grow to become a confident, and helpful, adult. Start with the foundation of trust and love, add the responsibilities, and you end up with an adult who is not only independent, but confident. Now you treat them as a friend. You let them make choices, you ask them for advice.
It’s not easy. No, it’s probably the hardest thing parents have to do. This little dance of being calm under pressure.
You are an adult, you think you know how to do it, and here you are literally at the beck and call of a little, tiny, helpless dictator.
But this hard work you put in, the years you will slave over making your kids happy, are all totally worth it. Because in the end you will be churning out an adult who, we hope and pray, will serve his community well. We must treat motherhood with value, because we are raising the next generation.
And that also feeds into the issue that only a stay-at-home mom can raise the best kids. Not necessarily. If a SAHM doesn’t value what she is doing, then she won’t really care to create a nurturing environment. She won’t bother to help her child learn and explore. And sure it will be harder for a working mom to give her child his/her due time, so that mom should really ask herself: Do I need to be working? Is it worth it? Is the money I bring in worth not having enough time with my child?
Bottom line is once we have children, we have a responsibility bigger than any degree, job or project. Our standards should change. Our routines should change. Our lives should change. But for the betterment of our children and families, as God wants. If we are honored to be mothers, we must realize that God has put in our trust these little humans and to treat them as wrongly, would be showing ungratefulness.