Being a mother can be much more joyful than we make it, if we learn to recognize when and why we make it harder than it should be. As a pediatrician, I often ask mothers to stop regretting the past, as well as to stop worrying obsessively about the future. Enjoying your child and appreciating your child, at this moment, is the elusive key to parenting pleasure.
What of the two adoptive mothers of twins separated at birth? One mother complained heartily that the baby girl would not eat unless the mother put cinnamon on her food. The other mother described how easy it was to feed her baby, just by putting cinnamon on all her food.
Children come into this world ready to learn, love, and play. They are emotionally pure, loving, and trusting. When they behave in ways that we think are wrong, they are not intentionally bad, just learning and exploring. When you are mothering, ask yourself if you are doing something to negate the wonderful natural traits that your child was born with. Think of how many times you have unknowingly squashed your child’s joy and inadvertently projected onto them a malicious intent regarding what they were doing. Most likely, they haven’t a clue as to why you are getting upset with them. They just end up feeling bad by observing your tone of voice and facial expressions. This sets them up to think that something is wrong with them. We can choose to help our children feel good about themselves by not judging them.
There is no such thing as perfect parenting, but living in the moment, being mindful of the present, will greatly benefit your relationship with your children. In every moment, we create what is going to happen in the future. Allowing yourself to appreciate your children will foster their self esteem and bring about the essence of the joy of motherhood.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #19.
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