My child is NOT ME
Yes I know what the right thing to do is. I have a good idea of which actions to take in order to obtain the most desirable outcome. I have a strong mind and my taste in people, places and things work in my favour. But I’m 23 years older than my son and I belong to Generation X while he is a Millennial. Things were (obviously) different in my generation. Our parents were different, our life experiences were different, our peers were different, our teachers and mentors were different; the economical, cultural and social landscape was different but that didn’t stop me from trying to make him think, feel and act the way I would have at his age???!!! Clearly that never worked out for either of us because of all the reasons stated above. The more I pushed for us to be aligned in our values and beliefs, the more evident it became that we weren’t. My son is not and will never be ME and the day I stopped fighting it and chose to see things through his lenses was the day our relationship took a turn for the better. Through exercising more compassion and understanding, I’ve gotten much more out of our relationship. He’s less guarded and more open to allowing me in knowing that I will try my best to put myself in his shoes. The more I see him for himself and not for who I want him to be, the more room I give him to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted young man.
I do NOT know everything
I may have had some major life experiences and gone through things many may have not, BUT I am not THE KNOWER OF EVERYTHING. I don’t know what it’s like to be a 20year old struggling with young people problems in 2018. I don’t know what the hype with Snapchat is about or how to use words such as Bae, Lit and Feels without sounding like an absolute moron. And this is just me stating a few things about growing up in this generation that I’m not familiar with. Don’t even get me started on what it’s like to have my life splashed all over Facebook with or without my consent or to worry about when or where that questionable photo of me will show up, or how my relationship status should become public knowledge the moment I’m in or out of one! All these stresses and demands are things I know little or nothing about and I should admit that as a parent. My child may know way more than me in some instances and my willingness to switch roles and be the learner and listener has proven to be extremely helpful in improving our communication with each other. He has expressed appreciation for the times I’ve shown vulnerability and unawareness. In his own words he says it makes me ‘more human and relatable’ and I can deal that because I am:)
I AM Mother first, friend second
Being a single mother (before I tied the knot again 4 years ago), I always felt the need to over compensate and because I didn’t have much money I did it with leniency. I wanted so badly to win my child’s approval, that the thought of denying him of anything was usually the last resort. My idea of a great mother-child relationship was one where he could feel free to say or do anything around me. This is when I learnt that being flexible and being lenient are not one and the same. Clear boundaries should always be set. While it’s fun to be the fun parent and nice to see our child feel comfortable around us, our role is not to make life and fun and comfortable as possible, our role is to nurture and guide them. We should never forget that we are role models in their eyes and role models have a specific role to play. A role which influences our child positively. Saying NO is necessary sometimes and we should not second guess ourselves when we do. Age appropriate chores and tasks help our children learn responsibility. Setting expectations and holding them accountable for wrongdoings is a prerequisite. It’s always going to be tough to strike a balance but not doing so could result in a much tougher road ahead. So remember, you can be their pal but you should be their Mother first.
With that, Happy Mother’s Day!!!