Monday, December 21, 2009

The Love Question

After writing that last post...I got to thinking about how much love my kids really do show me. No inhibitions. From Sam spontaneously busting out with, "I love you so much, Mommy!" to Charly squeezing me so tight because she's brimming with emotion. And we all know that Felix has no inhibitions in cuddling and demanding to be cuddled.

So then I started thinking, "I'm sure I was like that when I was a kid...what happened to me?" Is this an inevitability everyone goes through? As an adult, are we taught to not love as much or show that love? Does school and the cold, hard world make us shrink back into our shells, become calculating and cynical? Put up masks, play games?

I have no idea. All I know is that I hope I'm not a huge contributor to the un-lovingness of my children. I hope I don't teach them to un-love.

I don't have much control over what happens to my kids "out there," a terrifying idea in and of itself, but hopefully I can help Sam deal with situations like, "She doesn't want to be my friend anymore," and "A boy kicked me at recess." It makes me sad that these things happen. Where's the line of teaching kids to survive "out there" and still being emotionally available?

Because the last thing I want to do is to send them out on their own emotionally stunted, having to learn how to love all over again, the hard I did, or wondering whether you really knew how to truly love in the first place.

I guess the best I can do it to create and emotionally safe environment, where it's okay to experience all emotions, it's what you do with them that's important. Teaching skills, rather than controlling emotions...

Monday, December 14, 2009

What Kind are You?

Sometimes I think about what kind of mother I am. Here are some things that I came up with:

I'm not terribly worried about germs. Crawling around on store floors doesn't bother me *too much.*

I would rather my kids entertain themselves and make a mess, rather than me following me around all day saying, "No." I draw the line at breaking things or hurting themselves, but other than that...

I like to make crafts with my kids.

I like to sing to them.

I constantly think, "I couldn't possibly handle any more kids right now."

I'm easily overwhelmed by them on outings.

I think my kids are super cute and hilarious.

I'm not terribly concerned about stains on my children's clothes.

Sometimes I like to dance around and be silly with my kids, but not as much as I'd like to.

I've loosened up a lot since first becoming a parent.

I'm glad Jon has more patience than I do when he comes home from work.

Sometimes I yell at my kids.

But I also say, "I'm sorry."

And that's something.

As much as I love them, I find my kids incredibly frustrating. I remember hearing somewhere that your kids will only throw fits if they're comfortable with their safety. Well, that's something too. My kids must feel incredibly safe, because they throw fits all.the.time.

Mostly, what I want my kids to know is that I'm a mother who loves them; who's imperfect, but willing to apologize; who loves them so much I insist on giving them boundaries and teaching them how to work; who really listens to them and doesn't poo-poo their fears and worries; who doesn't get them everything they want; who teaches them to be generous and forgiving to others; a mom who talks about Jesus and teaches them the peace and comfort that comes from following Him.

I fall short on so many of these so often, but my children are teaching me to become a better person, and in turn, I'm hopefully giving them tools to have a successful life. I'm not making them perfect, I'm not making them into anything, actually, they already are who they are. With that in mind, I hope to teach them how to deal with their specific weaknesses and strengths, how to say sorry, how to deal with heartbreak, no matter how small.

It's all about love. My kids have no trouble showering me with love. I hope someday to learn how to do the same.