The love we feel for our children is immense. We do everything we can for them from the time they’re born. We willingly sacrifice time, sleep, money and our sanity. They are part of us and fill our hearts with such a powerful love. And although we experience waves of joy and pride, we also feel disappointment, stress and agonize over our decisions. Our children are our whole world. When they hurt, we hurt. When they need help, we want to solve their problems. When they’re angry, all we want to do is make them happy again. The anguish is in knowing when and where to draw the line. When do we step back and let them figure it out on their own? When do we intervene? When do we listen? When do we preach? We doubt ourselves as parents. We often wonder where we went wrong or if we handled a situation in the right way.
In my world of a 12 and 16-year-old, many issues need my near constant attention. Currently, my 12-year-old daughter is finding her independence and wreaking havoc in the process. She has Down Syndrome, so every accomplishment is a real celebration in my heart. However, in the process of her learning and achieving, I have one mess after another to clean up after. Her recent antics include making her own breakfast and taking care of her own business in the bathroom. Both of which, she’s made clear, must be done independently, aka without help from mom. As proud as I am when she takes care of herself, inevitably I must follow behind, without her realizing, to ‘finish the job.’ There are times I have her ‘help me’ clean, and thankfully she loves that chore too. I’m not complaining, it’s just the extra time involved throws off my own timeline of getting myself ready and out the door in time. The added stress takes its toll from time to time. Not to mention, I fight the urge to ‘just do it’ or how much to help her, just to get it done. Many times she and I are both frustrated. That’s when I feel like I’m failing as a mother.
My smart, albeit somewhat lazy, yet very social, 16 yr old son, is a procrastinator. Keeping him motivated to finish his school work or house chores can quickly turn into an argument. Did I mention he’s sixteen? I’m battling with knowing how much freedom to give, when to allow him to learn things the hard way, and lecturing on the importance of responsibility. I wonder at times if I’m too hard on him or expect too much. He’s such a great kid and an awesome, loving, patient, big brother to a special needs little sister. So I often wonder…how can I be upset with him?
All parents stress over their children. It doesn’t matter if they’re babies, young kids, teens or adults. We worry about them and at times doubt our own effectiveness as parents. Remember that your children are part of you. You know them better than anyone. You’re aware of what makes them tick, what brings them joy, and what upsets them. And in your heart, you are sure of what’s best for them. I am certain some things are absolute. All of our problems will not be solved today. I love my children more than life itself. My kids know I love them, not only because I have taken great care of them but because I kiss them, hug them and tell them every damn day! I follow my heart and listen to my gut. I try to do my best, as a mom, every day. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” Jane D. Hull
“A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” Billy Graham
“Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves.”Elbert Hubbard
“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” Sue Atkins