For all the moms who fully admit they are NOT perfect and think they can’t win.
I was so incredibly sad today when I read a comment from a friend . It’s all about the gorilla and the 4-year-old. I’m over that story in general, but mentioning it has a small bit of importance here for context.
The boy, got through a fence, fell into a gorilla enclosure, was dragged by the silverback and the silverback was killed to save the child. Those are the basics. Of course, as happens with the internet these days, all the “experts” came out of the woodwork. Many experts in many forms, I’m going to speak about one of those types.
I am speaking about the “expert” parents, the ones who NEVER have lost site of their kids, or kids they have watched, or kids they hope to have… the parents who are online the moment some other parent makes a mistake no matter how small or large and just crucifies them.
In this age of keyboard anonymity, where we can say whatever comes to our minds with no consequence of seeing the pain we have just caused another person, we forget that we don’t know the whole story, we just have snippets. The media is not as reliable as it might have been in days past, this story has been told by different media and they conflict, drastically. We forget that our words and rash judgments put doubt in young mothers heads, doubts that are unnecessary and unwarranted.
My facebook acquaintance made a comment that she feels no matter what she does to discipline or care for her child she can’t win. If, in this situation, she leashed him, or fussed at him or even spanked him she would be roasted as abusive, or ridiculed for ‘helicoptering’.
“… so no matter what I can’t win…”
So here’s what I have to say to that mom, the facebook acquaintance, just in case she really feels this way, because I’ve had some experience with this feeling.
YES, YES you can win! You and your child win every time you sit with your child, read with them, teach them the easy lessons and the hard ones too.
You win by raising up your children the way you know how to, by asking for help when you need it and learning to stifle the voices that give unsolicited advice that you don’t need.
You win every time you or your child makes a mistake and you both learn from it.
You win when your child gets that look in his eye when he finally understands something that had been confusing him.
And there will be times, even without outside influence, you will feel you are losing.
In those moments, remain strong, do what you feel is right and stay on the path you have chosen for your family. Because those moments come for every parent, EVERY parent. And when you get through those hard moments …
you win even bigger.
And do you want to know why I am so sure of this?
No, I never had one of mine get into the gorilla cage. But I had voices telling me I was crazy for homeschooling, later that I was ruining my kids.
I had a teacher actually say one would never be a “star student”, he refused to read till he was in 3rd grade, we had people tell us he wasn’t learning what he needed to.
I had people close to us say our kids were “slow”, didn’t know how to read, would never make it in the world.
We had people tell us we wanted our kids to be carbon copies of us, that we ran our home like drill sergeants, and yes, we even had people tell us we abused our kids.
I doubted, I worried, I didn’t think I could ever win.
My oldest of 6, the one who would never be a “star student”, decided to become a soldier.
Got an opportunity and ran with it, sometimes kicking and screaming.
Then I won again when he walked across the stage at West Point to shake hands with the president of the United States and receive his diploma.
I won again when my second in line, another child I was ruining, decided to become a firefighter.
He volunteers for the fire department, has saved lives, and is now a certified firefighter.
He’s about to earn his EMT certification. And work for the rest of his life, saving the lives of others.
I win when my daughter talks about taking care of children, wanting to be a youth counselor, and reads more books in a week than I think I do in a year these days.
I win when my 3rd son talks about becoming a police officer, when he gets into trouble then comes to me with a tender heart and tears in his eyes to say he’s sorry.
I win when my 2nd daughter tells me she is going to be a nun. When she kept on saying it, when she has said that now for well over half her life and has such a fire in her belly for her faith she learns not only her religious ed lessons but her older brothers too.
I win when my littlest tells me some goofy joke and then throws her arms around me because it cheered me up, and when she tells me the brother she has never lived in the same house with because he was off to school when she was born (they are 1 day shy of 20 years apart) is her very favorite – then quickly adds but so are the other 4 siblings.
I could go on and on… I have gone on and on… but let me assure you, that doubting mom who thinks she can’t win, the only way you won’t “win” is if you listen to all those voices who say you won’t and give you every reason under the sun why you can’t. You will win if you just learn to shut those voices OUT.
Oh and better than winning… if you learn to shut those voices out…
you’ll find more “happy”.
“Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.”
― P.J. O’Rourke