Intentional mothering

Peter just moved to Jude’s floor at work, so they got talking. It was going to be Peter’s birthday the next day and he was distracted with some arrangement for flowers to be delivered to someone on his birthday. Jude got curious and started bombarding him with so many questions. He asked, “My guy, how far now? Are you a twin or is tomorrow your wife’s birthday too?

Who are you sending flowers to on your own birthday? You should be the one expecting birthday gifts tomorrow.” Peter chuckled before answering, “’ Oh, the flowers are for my mom. I send her flowers on my birthdays to appreciate her for that special day she gave birth to me. ”Hmmh!” Sighed Jude as his shoulders dropped and countenance changed.

He felt a sudden sharp twist from the inside as he wish he had such a relationship with his own mom. Thinking out aloud, he said, “I only talk to my mom via chats, it makes her more bearable.” Peter asked if he ever discussed with her the difficulty they are having communicating. Jude looked at him as if he had asked him to stick his finger in a blender. You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said. Talk to my mother? That’s like trying to bargain with a scorpion.”

Mothers are fast becoming uninspired and frustrated but afraid to discuss it in a society that would most likely judge rather than find ways to help

Every married couple is expected to have children. In fact, in this part of the world, everyone in your family expects the wife to be pregnant within the first six months of marriage. And because it’s the custom, even young couples pressure themselves to have children without evaluating their physical, mental, and financial preparedness for parenting.

To make matters worse, we as a people often believe that if someone can have children, the person is more than able to raise a child. This brings to mind a famous saying, “God that gave you the child will provide all you need to raise him, so don’t worry about a thing.”

Naively, we’ve all bought into this seemingly harmless blackmail hence not minding checking our level of preparedness, oblivious to the fact that parenthood especially being a mother demands so much more than having the financial needs met. As important as financial capability is it doesn’t equate to the ability to raise a child. The fallacy of capacity equalling ability has resulted in so many dysfunctional homes, badly raised offspring, and bedevilled societies where “everything goes.”

Since no one would dabble into a business or even a career without proper planning and strategy, why do we still dabble into having children without knowing the true reasons for procreating and plan according? Readiness in this context transcends having enough money to sponsor the child/children through college but has so much to do with how sacrificially ready the woman is to carry the pregnancy, birth, and raise the child.

I used the word sacrificially because parenting is about 70% intentional mothering. Also, because these children change so fast at every growth stage, especially in this jet age, every mom needs not only to be on top of their games to catch up but also need to stay motivated to do so.

Mothers are fast becoming uninspired and frustrated but afraid to discuss it in a society that would most likely judge rather than find ways to help. Sadly, a quick glance at google also showed just a few articles on how parents can be inspired to be great at parenting. It might interest you to note that I personally had to take a Yale course titled ABC of Parenting to understand my children more vis-à-vis the changes happening with them.

With the course, I was able to identify their different growth phases and how to react appropriately with relevant proven studies. Understanding how children behave however is just a step in the right direction to manage expectations, there is a need for timely and effective inspiration to help parents, especially moms cope or handle situations. I would therefore like to share a few tips on how to find adventure in parenting but before I do, it’s very important all parents especially mothers answer the WHY questions.

These questions are not to judge or provoke anyone but to stir up honest answers to confirm your level of commitment to parenthood and how ready you are to enjoy the ride. This has become necessary because it’s not only working moms who get overburdened, stressed, or frustrated while juggling work with raising children.

Even stay-at-home moms get uninspired too sometimes. That is why I’m of the unique opinion that parenting is a job on its own out of which a career can be formed. Therefore, I give extra kudos to moms that work 9-5 jobs or businesses and still have parenting on lockdown.

So, to a potential mother – “Why do you want to be a parent?” To an existing mom – “Why are you a mother?” If your answer points to meeting your own need or fulfilling someone else’s wish, then the relationship will eventually become transactional or disappointing void of fun and good memories.

There have been reasons such as – to have my kind; just to have children running around the house; to be called a mother; to prove to my husband’s family and others that I’m fertile; to be happy; to have children I can call my own, to have someone to send on errands; to complete me; to make me fulfilled, to have someone take care of me in my old age et al.

If any of these is your reason for having children, then brace up for a roller coaster of stressful parenting and disappointments. Reason(s) for wanting or having a child/children need to be bigger than you. It must be beyond what you want, need, desire, or personal expectations. You need to see the bigger picture i.e., your role as a parent in the grand scheme of things for your community, state, nation, and even globally.

A few tips to inspire intentional parenting/mothering include –

· Godly Association – regardless of your faith, your child/children must be introduced to a faith-based support system otherwise everything or anything goes. Spiritual well-being is often characterized by the ability to draw strength from one’s belief, especially in times of trouble, confusion, or need. Teaching them how to pray, family devotion, gratitude, bible reading with understanding, evangelism, and helping them keep the correct perspective go a long way in making them better humans.

· Full Disclosure – In this day and age where access to solicited and unsolicited information is so easy, it’s important to raise a family on the premise of full disclosure. No secrets, everything can and should be discussed especially when you are in doubt and under pressure out there. It takes a whole lot to get to this level with teenagers. However, as parents encourage deep conversations with trust and deep understanding rather than castigations, the ride gets smoother.

· Routine Guides – This makes parenting little ones easy and more tamed. The need to attend school to get an education from an early age has already defined a child’s routine for the better part of a weekday. However, sustaining activities pre and post-school periods, weekends, and taking advantage of seasons and holidays make parenting more tamed with fewer hassles.

· Build Pride – invest and preserve memories by building a sense of family pride and heritage. Establish family traditions and create fun times with them such as adding “un” to “usual”, celebrating milestones, and dispensing essentials with flair.

· Don’ts – there are a few habits you need to deliberately avoid such as overusing the word “No”, falling into the comparison trap, and taking things too seriously to the point that you do not have enough laughs.

“A merry heart has a continuous feast”, so let’s find humour even in mundane things.

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