Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guidance, Advice, Encouragement and Love.... Nothing Less!

I have been a mother for half of my life, ( I had to check the math on that)... yep, 19 years to be exact! (ugh, lets not even go there okay?) It is by far the hardest position I have ever held and even after 4 children (quite the seasoned one now) I am still not the perfect parent. I still have moments that I want to lock myself (or them) in a closet and pretend that none of the things surrounding me are actually happening. Then of course there are those tender moments ( like when my 3 year old son randomly gives me a hug and says "I love you SOOO much Mom" or when my littlest one at 2 smiles at me so huge that I can't see anything else... or when my oldest; now in her second year of college sends me a card to say that she has no idea what she would do without me... or when my 10 year old daughter tells me I am the best mom ever) that make me realize that being a parent is pretty awesome despite its moments of borderline insanity and exhaustion.

As a young mom, I made a baffling amount of mistakes;  and being a single mom trying to find that "puzzle piece that was missing in our lives" (or so I thought) certainly did not help me make mother of the year material at times. I have yelled at my children when I was overworked and tired trying to keep food in their mouths and clothes on their backs and they tested patience I did not have; I have made bad judgement calls and have certainly given the wrong advice more than once. However, there are four things that I have always given them (even on bad days) and those 4 things are guidance, my best advice, encouragement and love. I try hard to never go to bed angry with them... I go in their rooms kiss them goodnight and if something negative happened I talk briefly about it and let them know that I love them no matter what... that I WANT to be their friend but HAVE to be their mom.

We can't save them from the experiences we had and we can't shelter them from all the bad things lurking around out there, even if our natural instinct is to do just that. Protection of our children has over the years become more of enabling them to not have a mind of their own. And that is certainly no favor to future employers, spouses, or to them for that matter.What we need to do is to teach them how to cope when times get tough, (because they will) how to make educated decisions, and how to be independent. Chances are they will only follow a miniscule amount of what we try to cram into their heads before going into the "big world"; however when they make a mistake that has something to do with advice we gave them... our words will resonate every time.

Tonight, as I was enjoying some mindless leisure... a friend reached out on Facebok and I did not see the post until my last sign on for the night (just before I was planning to hit the pillow at 12:30 a.m might I add) As soon as I saw the post... I knew I had to take the time to offer my advice despite the fact that I had burning eyes and a tired brain. Then once my message was sent, it triggered this blog post and well... that's how it happens.  So.... I beat the sheep with a stick for a minute then continued on by typing this post thinking that someone else may need it to.

All kids put the cart before the horse because they have no idea what else to do. It's the struggle of wanting  to be all grown up and still needing us... their parents (although that is the last thing they will EVER admit.)
The point of all this rambling is this... we made mistakes ( personally I made lots) and that is how we grew. We want to protect our kids from making the same ones, however if we do that are we doing a good thing or keeping them from growing up tough like we have? Let them spread their wings a little, let them be who they are and help them find who that is exactly by allowing certain oddities to come out (C'mon, didn't you ever wear a ridiculous outfit or style your hair funny?) In order to find who they are, they have to be who they are and trust me... as long as they are not seriously hurting themselves, hurting others, or doing something seriously illegal... ( I am Shelley and I have gone over the speed limit and drank alcohol before I was of age) they will live and learn from it all.  

I remember when my oldest was in middle school trying to find her "place" and began talking in "ghetto slang". It drove me NUTS! A blond- haired blue-eyed girl talking ghetto was the goofiest thing ever... so what did I do? I got mad, told her I would take her cell phone, ground her, yada yada (none of which worked) and then I had a eureka moment.. I talked her talk... yup, around her friends and everything I began talking "ghetto" too so she could see how ridiculous she sounded. Lucky for me, my twisted version of reverse psychology worked. 

Our job is to give them guidance and love and be there to pick them up when they fall...(because they will). Then, when they are wrong... (and they will be many times) and you end up right...  (parent's always are), they will call you for advice on how to urinate at some point. Watch what you ask for! HAHA!

Meanwhile, enjoy those hugs and kisses because they will turn into dirty looks and attitudes... 
and never stop loving them!
(even when they drive you insane)