11 April 2007

Woman to Woman

"Parenting or grandparenting children that have difficult personalities... be they temperamental children or children with legitimate issues like ADD, sensory dysfunction, or developmental delays. Share your hardships, share your successes. You mothers can vent away, and you grandmothers can encourage us to hang in there by sharing your past parenting/grandparenting challenges and strategies."

Again, I have found that I look forward to these discussions at Woman to Woman both to reading and participating in them.

This was one that "caught" me at just the right time. As my babies are growing and i am finding myself in the Toddler and the Pre-teen years at the same time!

My children do not have "legitimate issues" and I thank God for that, though they do have 2 very different and distinct personalities. That coupled with our own "special" circumstances has presented me with my own challenges.

My daughter, the beauty that she is, came to me quietly! She is sweet, and passive, as well as being very sensitive and shy. She often processes her feelings inside, and does not broadcast things that are going on inside. I take blame in this and often feel that it had to do with how I parented her. I came from a very dysfunctional family and became a mommy at a very young age (20). I wanted so badly to be a mommy, and was so happy to have her in my life. At the same time my only parenting lessons came from psychology classes! So I thought that everything (yes EVERYTHING) had to be just so, and everything was very structured. I worried about spoiling her, and now am sure that I did not let her be a little girl. She is and was a very bright girl. Always wanting to please. She listened, and though she went through her own stage of tantrums, it was brief. She didn't make messes, didn't get into trouble, didn't talk back, and didn't break the rules.
My son on the other hand came 7 years later, and not only was I more mature, but I had begun to treasure the time they are little and as a parent the second time around; now realized how very short of a time we have them as little ones. I had also realized that as a parent I was going to make some mistakes no matter how hard I tried to avoid them and that that did not immediately mean I would be just like my own mom.
So, my son is the complete opposite. Loud, boisterous, very independent and not shy in the least. He is not afraid to take chances or try new things. He has been to the emergency room too many times! He is all boy and loves to splash in puddles, and play with bugs! He will tell you how he sees it, and I often allow him freedoms (staying up later, more snacks, bigger messes) that I didn't allow my daughter at his age. It is not because he is better, or because I love him more. It is because of the ways that I have changed, and grown that have allowed me to be a little more lenient (though I mean this in the sense that I allow them to be themselves more, discover more, be more independent in the sense that they are learning their own boundaries). I often am saddened by the fact that my little girl could have been a little girl for so much longer, but at the same time love EVERYTHING about her just the way she is, and wonder if it would have made a big difference either way.
I believe now, as a more mature (though I am still growing everyday and hope that I continue to for the rest of my life) Mommy that I still have to raise adults, that I am still responsible for their development, and that I am ultimately their first defense against the world (thanks to Dawn). However, I now understand that all of that doesn't mean that they can't be babies (mine forever) and that they can't have as much fun as possible! I am able to let go and hope that I do it with my baby girl enough now to make up for in the past!
As a single parent, I don't have much time to spend individual time with each of them, so treating them each differently in the sense that their personalities are so different often leaves me feeling as though I am performing a balancing act! Their Daddy's are involved in a long distance sort of way, and it will probably always be that way, so not only do I not have that other perspective but I am left to interpret their personalities the best I can and try to nurture that little person in them. So that someday they too can take care of themselves and love and respect who they are because they are both special!

So in short (yeah right!), there are 3 things that stand out to me most, and that are helping me to be (I hope) a better mom!
1. I Love them through it no matter the circumstance, and make sure they know that I love them even when I am frustrated, or upset!
2. I realize that they are little individuals and that what they are feeling is real, and it is up to me, as their mommy, to respect those feelings, and find a way to help them work through them.
3. I have to let them be kids, and not expect them to handle things the same way I would. Once my expectations are in the right place I am often able to deal rather than get frustrated!

I know there are more, but I think I have blabbed on long enough!


Morning Glory said...

This was so thoughtfully written and from the heart. It sounds like we have similar issues with our children. Thank you so much for jumping in on this topic. I'm glad it's been a positive experience for you. I look forward to the next one.

I hope you'll add your link to Lei's blog, too. We have slightly different readers and I'd love for them all to read what you've written.

Owens Family Adventures said...

That was really good Bec! I've seen you in action and I know what a good mom you are and how hard you strive for your kids to have the best of you. If people knew all that you have overcome they would stand in awe! :)
Have a wonderful day my friend!!

Lei said...

I have found myself change as a parent as time has passed as well. It's been for the better ( mostly - haha).

Thank you for joining us! I look forward to hearing from you again!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I was out shopping with Sarah and her friend today and found some neat stuff for the kiddos. Can you shoot me your address so that while I am on the base that has the post office I can mail it to them???
love ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jen said...

I so agree that its important to see kids as real, unique beings. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this subject!

Zoe said...

I enjoyed reading your post. I am grateful for the reminder to let them be kids. I too sometimes structure things too much! It is hard to remember that they have little wings that need to spread too! Thanks!