I was thinking, how much I love being a mom. But, how do you learn to become a mom. It's easy, most of the time, for some people, in a physical sense, but what exactly is a mom? "What is the definition of a Mom?"
If you really think about what a mother does, it's truly amazing. Normally she is the glue that keeps things together in the household. I don't have to mention everything that she does, because you know the detailed list of the daily chores, activities, and patience she needs to display. After talking to Blake this morning, I've been sitting here thinking about a conversation I had with one of my sisters, discussing mothering and nurturing your children.
It brought me back to the days of my childhood and my mom's mothering skills.
I wonder if nurturing comes naturally or if its something you learn from your mother or caregiver? Is there really something called a maternal instinct? Do people actually follow in their parents footsteps or do they choose to go a different direction?
Those of you that know me, know my story or some of it, and if you don't here's just a small part of it.
I can be honest here, my Mom when growing up loved all of her girls, we knew she loved us. She had a difficult time with her priorities, she was working 2 or 3 jobs at a time, and in her spare time when there was some, she only wanted a man to love her. She wasn't around much, I was taking care of my sisters much of the time, from as far back as I can remember, on an everyday basis. And during the weekends or during the day in the summer, I was taking care of other children as well. Whether they were relatives or my moms boyfriends or husbands kids at the time. We did spend a lot of time at my grandparents house when we were really young, who lived in the same town usually no more than 10 minutes away. We also spent lots of time there when we were older, but could stay at home and watch ourselves if we wanted.
I could remember cleaning the house and cooking at a pretty early age. Mainly keeping myself and sisters out of trouble.
I would get myself and my sisters ready for the day during the week, eat breakfast, get us dressed, and out at the bus stop to catch the bus. My mom would be long gone to work. We would get off the bus at my Granny's house, and stay there until my Mom would get off work, long enough to get us and take us home. We'd get home, cook dinner, she'd run out the door to go to her part time job at Delta Downs Racetrack (horse track) taking bids that people placed on a particular horse. She'd work there until about midnight. During that time, I was doing my own homework, helping my sisters if they needed help (if I could help), eating dinner, cleaning up the dishes, and getting ready for bed. We'd be in bed when she got home.
Growing up there were different boyfriends or husbands, or men in general that she longed for affection from, but never got it. They took advantage of her, verbally and physically abusing her. They were not loyal to her either, infidelity was a problem. She did not make good choices when choosing boyfriends, she tended to keep choosing the same kind of man. I've witnessed our front door being kicked down, her be physically beaten, thrown across the room, threatened with a gun, and choked, on many different occasions.
My Mom, looking back, was doing financially the best that she could. She was so confused by her perception of what love was supposed to be. She was grasping at straws, and was searching desperately for a man's love. Years later, her body is now paying the price of the physical abuse, and her mind is playing games with the verbal abuse that she endured.
I do not have any hard feelings toward my mom for what we went through, because if she had to choose, she would not have chosen that kind of life for us or herself. I love her, and wish only that she could forgive and love herself. I tuck away all of the experiences into my memory, I don't use them as a crutch; and I refuse to allow it to haunt me in my present life. It's a good story to share, and for other people to know.
So this is my life lesson. Life is good, it IS what you make of it. I try to make my home a safe place for my children, make great decisions, I'm not perfect and I'm going to make mistakes. But, when I do, I need to remember them and learn from them.
As far as mothering, I don't know if it came instinctively, I'm not quite sure. It feels natural to me. I've heard on different occasions, that I tend to over nurture. I really don't think that you can. I feel when the child has absorbed enough of the nurturing, they will withdraw from it, and as they grow older they'll take it with them.
I think of them as a tiny little seed, place the seed in nutrient rich soil, water, feed, give it sunshine, love and tend to it. The seed will flourish and produce. Place the seed in a crack in the sidewalk, it may or may not survive. It needs to be placed in an environment where it has a chance to thrive, a place to bloom and become noticed.