Parenthood is a powerful lesson in humility, and children are sophisticated teachers of this school. The children taught me everything that is good in me now, and they are not going to stop. And this, perhaps, is the main thing that I did not know when I became a mother.
After all, how do you usually give birth? For yourself, or from a loved one, or under the rule of instinct. It is always your decision, and the child has nothing to do with it, he did not agree with you about the birth and did not give his consent to this.
If I had a chance to write a letter to myself in the past on behalf of a mother, rather battered by numerous mistakes, that adventurous and carefree young lady who was sure that we would all have fun here, I would tell her the following.
Dear, in the first year of a child’s life, your main task is sleep. Once I cried over a baby. He was a month and a half old, and I was so exhausted and not ready for loads out of habit, that before evening bathing (boiled water, potassium permanganate, braces), my mother naturally burst into tears, who dropped by for a couple of weeks.
“Mom, I can’t, I don’t have the strength!”
– Oh, let’s put it to sleep like that, it won’t burst! – answered my reinforced concrete mother. And she was right.
First, if you are generally mentally healthy, rely on maternal instinct. In the main, he will not let you down: to feed, wash your ass and rock you will be intuitive. Secondly, you should not demand the impossible from yourself: did the basic minimum and took another walk?! – the best mother in the world! Thirdly, no one needs a half-dead woman with clean floors. First of all, to yourself. And even more so for a husband with children. Fourth, ignore all advisers (from a doctor to a friend) whom you did not ask and escort out the door. Here, take food delivery, ride a stroller, let you sleep or get some air, accept with joy, and let them advise themselves on all other tips.
In dealing with children, be extremely gentle. In life, they will be punished, criticized and lowered self-esteem by all and sundry, from a kindergarten teacher to a boss, from a grandmother to a partner.
Once I had an argument with a friend. I said some nonsense that I am raising a child in such a way that he knows how to behave in society and the future daughter-in-law will kiss my hands. And a friend said: it doesn’t matter how he behaves in society. It is important how much his own mother will annoy him. So leave this world its punitive and educational function, and you be for love.
In relationships with other adults, heroically protect the interests of your children. Doesn’t do homework? Defends its boundaries? Fighting? Doesn’t bend under this world? Didn’t live up to the coach’s expectations? So let them suffer. And you are a wall that your child can lean on. You are the only one from whom he can ask for protection and draw strength. You are the main one who can cover it. Write it on the tablets of the heart or tattoo it.
A small child cries loudly in public transport or on an airplane and does it interfere with sleep for everyone around? They will have to accept the fact that adult children grow out of babies, and you, too, will someday treat another baby and his torn mother with understanding.
The teacher at school will gut your whole family for bad grades? Close your eyes and forget. The neighbor in the entrance is indignant that your boobies and mediocrity? Grandmother wrings her hands in hysterics, a friend who raised a multitude of nephews has never (oh, horror) seen children like yours? A school principal, a passenger on a tram, a passer-by, a classmate’s mother – there are hundreds of people who want to chastise or scold your child. Be on his side. Relationship with him is the most valuable thing you have.
Do not destroy the child’s relationship with relatives who are unpleasant to you. Former husband (father of the child), grandmother, unloved sister. If they communicate well, so be it. Leave your feelings to yourself, and his to him. The more loving, caring people around him, the more these connections, the wider his circle. The more acceptance and support will be in his life. And you can not communicate, it’s not about you.
Friends with someone you don’t like? Don’t mess with human feelings. How many of us remember how our parents destroyed such a friendship? And how many of us have not forgiven our parents for this? Persuade, talk, explain, but do not break in and do not destroy. Always put yourself in the place of a child. Are you ready to give up friendship because someone ordered it to you without explanation?
There will come a time when the child will start to criticize you. Only in very codependent relationships or with very quiet children does this period pass painlessly. In a normal situation, children fiercely criticize their parents, snap, are rude, break the rules and shamelessly move parental boundaries. Don’t be offended by the child. He has no one to hone his ability to criticize, no one else to pour out sarcasm on. This pear is vital to him. And during this period, only parents are at hand. It is scary and unsafe for him to do all this with the world, but with his parents it is possible. Here he is training for you.
There is nothing personal here. At some point, you will collapse from the top of your authority to the level of asphalt. Keep in mind that it’s not about you. Yes, it is difficult to accept that you – an adult woman – are not put in anything by your own child. But that’s how kids grow up. He needs a gym. We must be patient. If you are a patient fellow, your authority will return.
An unbearably heavy burden lies on the children’s shoulders the parental sacrifice. When a mother puts her life on the altar of a child: all the best for him, all to the detriment of himself, malnourished, walked in rags, didn’t sleep at night, drove to training by 5 in the morning. And then he feels entitled to present all these accounts. And he hears, as a rule, in response: I did not ask you about this. This phrase only at the first time seems defiant, but it contains all the salt. You really gave birth for yourself. And moral debts, obligations and sacrifices are all yours. It is better to agree with yourself on the shore: my child does not owe me anything. If I want this candy now, I will eat it and not share it with him. If I need to go on vacation, she will sit with a nanny. If I want to work, we will see each other an hour a day. If I need a dress, I will buy it, but he looks like an old one. I don’t want to be a grumpy old aunt who never had sleep or rest in her life and to whom her children forever owe. Nothing more poisons the relationship than the presentation of these bills. Being in unpaid debt to your parents is an unbearable burden for a child.
Don’t be the best mother in the world. The one to which no daughter-in-law ever falls short and whose daughters will always be complex. Be a simple mother with your weaknesses, complexes and problems. I saw these dependent adult children from their mothers aging in a halo of holiness. When he is already 30, and he still saws his wife that she cooks borscht worse than his mother. Or calls her every day, otherwise mother cannot live a day without a call.
In the struggle for maternal attention among several children, keep your face and neutrality, even if you have a pet. Everyone should be sure that he is the most beloved and desired. Cunning and dodge, lie, swear and indulge if necessary. Once I was so aggravated that the question “Who is my favorite child here?” from the next room came three times and the simultaneous “I!”.
If there are a lot of them, find time for each. I didn’t understand it right away, I took everyone everywhere together – it’s a family vacation. But children are different, there are those who always draw attention. Spend time with each one in turn. There is no way to fully leave – allocate half the day off for the child. Only with him, only for him.
There comes a time when the child says much more than your ears and limited resources can hold. He literally dumps all his rich inner world on you, and you have a job, problems, mortgages and rising prices. You can’t, but he needs to. A kind person once told me: while they are talking to us, we must listen. I was stupid and waved it off. And this window of opportunity slammed shut just a year later. And since then, I have unsuccessfully tried to get the attention of a grown child at that familiar level. While he is talking, listen, even if you just need to make an attentive face. This will end quickly.
From teenage fashion, allow everything and do not impose anything in style. As psychologists say, teenage fashion is like chickenpox, you need to get over it in due time. If you can’t bring a child closer to you, at least don’t push away with your “yes, who wears this”, “yes, what did you put on yourself”. I remember me, already an adult 17-year-old girl, literally at the end of the door at the door, my father grabbed the hem of a sundress, which he did not like. It was 20 years ago. A trifle! And I remember. Intimacy and affection can be destroyed by not so stupid things.
Don’t exploit the elder. Do not grow from the eldest daughter to a helper with younger children. She’s still messing around with hers. The eldest child did not ask you to give birth to the younger ones, and his life definitely changed not for the better. You have become smaller, you have become more tired, and he is no longer in the spotlight. Always emphasize his authority, give him the best, praise more often than others. This might bring them together. Love between brothers and sisters will not grow by itself.
Don’t make a friend out of a child. He must have a trustworthy adult, even when he is 50. This distance is important.
Eliminate military rhetoric from communication with the child: “I can’t defeat him,” “I constantly fight with him,” “he constantly needs to be kicked.” A relationship with a child is not a war. And you are not on an equal footing. It is important.
What doesn’t matter? Like how cool his toys are. A Fisher-Price teether, a fancy Lego set, or the latest telescope. He wears adidas or NoName sneakers. I should honestly say to myself: I want my child to have all the best, even a nipple like this. And I do it for myself. I have money, friends, I have been preparing for motherhood for a long time, I want this particular stroller and these videos. These are my toys. And you will be right. But the child doesn’t care.
Proud parents on the birthday of a two-year-old girl got confused not just with a designer cake with fireworks, but even pasted her photos on chocolates. It was very beautiful. The adults were delighted! But babies don’t remember that. This is an investment in yourself. It doesn’t matter how many countries he visited as a child. How many circles did you attend? How high-status his teachers were and how orthopedically correct were the first shoes.
Once I was offended when I saw that in the child’s phone I had become “mom” from “mommy”. Another time, I literally broke loose when I saw on the screen of a teenager, instead of lessons, a rather innocent article about buxom blondes. My brains were somewhere apart from the most important things, which is bitter to remember.
And one more thing: parenthood is to death. It does not end at 18 (and now on my own!), with the appearance of grandchildren, whom some love more than children, or with age fatigue.
People take exams to get their license, go to university, or get a job. And to become a parent, they don’t give up anything, although there is no more important business and mission.