When a child comes into the world, there is little they can rely on. One thing they should always be able to rely on though, is a mother’s unconditional love. I have heard this many times and it never meant much to me until about 4 years ago.
If you are an ‘older’ woman who is late to motherhood, you may (as I certainly was) be very concerned that you have left it too late, that you may not have the room, enthusiasm and energy inside yourself to be a ‘good mother’, whatever that is? To be honest, I was absolutely terrified of being a mother. I had spent the last 10 years becoming sure of myself in my chosen career of law but mothering is obviously an altogether different thing. Eventually after many sleepless nights and long winded, teary conversations with my husband I had a random conversation with his mother of all people, yes, my mother-in-law, and she gave me the advice that I have clung to for the last 4 years — and 2 beautiful children later.
She told me that you can get worked up and worried about all the rights and wrongs, the good things to do as a mother and the bad, the important things to do at certain ages and the absolute no-nos. But, she said, the best thing you can do is forget all the different versions of advice that you hear and just love your children. Worry is actually the worst trait of any parent, and more particularly self-worry, worry that you are a bad mother or that your children are no good. Yes, she said, the less you worry about things and the more you look like everything is okay, the more secure you are in yourself, even if you have to pretend, the more secure and happy your children will be. You just have to look and act like you know what you’re doing even if you have no idea and are way out of your depth, you simply tell them everything is okay and give them your love and security. Your (their) mother’s unconditional love.
This advice I can safely say has saved me so much self inflicted torture, has saved my children so much mother inflicted torture and has saved my marriage dozens of times over. That is the reason that I felt compelled to pass it on right here. Honestly, I seriously ask myself what seems like hundreds of times per day, ‘is this right for the children?’, ‘should they be eating this?’, ‘how should I discipline them?’ but my good old mother-in-law was right, just unconditionally love them and the rest all comes out in the wash.
When I am stressed or insecure, I get neurotic and crazy, I say silly things to my husband and I get so churned up inside myself and it’s then that this mothering method is an absolute god-send. Of course I still have all the heart wrenching moments that I presume all mothers have. I have all the long nights when I am so sick of getting up every 15 minutes to the crying baby, I still hear all the criticisms of the mothers in my building as I go off to work 3 days a week. I still have my own mother telling me that I should be with the children more and all kinds of ‘advice’ like this, but all I can say is that I do have the ammunition now to be able to deal with all these pressures that are piled on mothers and I do as my mother-in-law said—I just love my children. I do know that I want the best for them. I don’t know if the way I am mothering is right, but I know that this happy, secure (at least outwardly) mother is truly giving her children the best start to life that all her experience and abilities can give them and what more can you do?
Can you relate to Florence’s experiences in motherhood? What is the best parenting advice you’ve received? Share in the comments below.
Guest Post | Author Bio – Florence fiercely loves her children and didn’t know such emotions existed until she gave birth. Understanding the meaning of unconditional love and its importance has placed her in excellent stead to face the ups and downs of parenting. Reading the work of the World Transformation Movement has been paramount in helping her to understand the meaning of unconditional love.
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