Sometimes I think we want immediate gratification and instant results, which is why I believe we are jumping on every new wagon that drives by. For us 2009 moms, its hard to see a week or 2 pass and no change in our kids. We think that what we are doing must not be working and off to the next thing we go. But, Dr. Borba, shows us 7 LONG TERM DIVIDENDS as she calls them to being a REAL mother. I love how she calls them "long term dividends" because isn't that exactly what parenting is? You don't put $100 in the stock market today and have a million tomorrow, right? But over time with consistency you will end up with lots of money, right? Parenting is the same way. We must look for the long term dividend and stop worrying about the short term outcomes that change with the wind! We don't look at our stock market account and check the balance every day thinking that what we see is the ending balance do we? What a great way to look at parenting!!!
Here are Dr. Borba's 7 Reasons She says that moms today need to get REAL:
- Real moms can help their kids buck peer pressure because the certainty and firmness of their conviction strengthens their influence on their kids.
- Real mom' children are more likely to adopt their mother's values because their mother hasn't watered down her beliefs with the latest trends or moral compromises.
- Real moms are likely to be better models of patience and self control because they are being themselves and are at peace with who they are.
- Real moms are happier and have more joy in their families because there is so much less pretense and putting on to keep up.
- Real moms are less guilty and anxious because they are not trying to be perfect by other people's standards.
- Real moms are more appreciated because their kids have had a chance to know their interests and passions.
- Real mom have more energy for their families because they don't waste time doing things that don't match their priorities and beliefs. (p.8)
The result of all these wonderful benefits is that real moms enjoy a powerful connection with their children that "lasts for always." (p.8)
SIGN ME UP I SAY!!
Because isn't that what we want? Isn't that the legacy that we all want to leave? It definitely is for me. Those 7 reasons spoke so loudly to me that I wrote every single one of them down in my journal and I am sure that you are just a writing too. It is important to see these long term dividends and keep them fresh in our minds as we press along in our journey to getting back to the basics of mothering. I typed them up and printed them out and have them posted in my office. I see them every morning!! I want to see them all the time because I am tired of this fast paced world that expects us to behave in a certain way and conditions us to completely turn away from the God who created us in a quest to be recognized and built up by earthly standards that ultimately mean NOTHING!!
Dr. Borba refers to this way of "modern day parenting" as being "like a hamster wheel." How fitting huh? She says that moms today feel like they are running and running on one of those things and never get off. I'm sure at some point or another we have all felt like that. It's that continuing "busyness" or that feeling of "always doing" that Dr. Borba says is how moms today define themselves. Here is what she says,
"I've come to realize that real mothering, the stuff that makes up the true natural essence of being a mother, hasn't changed and never will. But the society we're living in here in the good old 21st century USA does have a new and different expectation of what it is to be a good, responsible, conscientious mother. These days the central expectation of a "good" mom is for her to be a "doer" (volunteer, tutor, coach, carpool driver, PTA enthusiast, social secretary, hostess with the mostess, and on and on - very complicated!!).
A decade ago, the main expectation was that she be a "nurturer"(supporter, listener, guider - simpler, and REAL). That little switch has had a dramatic impact on our lives as well as the lives of our children." (p. 10)
IT IS SO TRUE!! When I am feeling overwhelmed and inefficient and I go to my own mother (how about that...that would be benefit #2...guess my MOM was REAL), the first thing she always says to me is, "Baby, I just wasn't as busy as you are. We didn't go anywhere. We got up, had breakfast, got our work done, and the day was ours." I could really just cry right now thinking about it. THAT IS WHAT I WANT...I'm yelling!!! But just like Dr. Borba says, the more we try to simplify, the more complicated things become.
Why?? Why do things get complicated when we try to simplify?? Well, Dr. Borba has this to say,
"Ask a woman to describe a GOOD mother, and you will get a resume: "A room mother." "The play group coordinator," "The soccer coach." "A scout leader." "The PTA president" "A booster club officer." "A school volunteer." This list of roles goes on and on. Mothering is a to-do-list and we are exhausted just trying to keep up. The more mom does, the better her chance of making it into the "Mommy Hall of Fame" (at least in the eyes of other moms).
Interestingly enough, the kids describe their moms as "always involved," "busy," teens say that their moms "don't have a life." Those same kids say their moms are "usually tired," "impatient," and they "wish they could spend more time with them." But how could they, when their schedules are so filled? (p. 10)
The reason that things get so complicated when we try to simplify is that we haven't changed our standards. Our worth, whether we would like to admit it or not, has been measured by how other moms view us and how much "good" we are doing for our kids. We may not feel like this all of the time, but if we depend on the latest parenting technique or continue to strive for the "Mommy Hall of Fame," our standards are way off. Do you find yourself measuring other moms by what they do and how much they do? I think have all guilty been of that at some time or another. Every knows of the yearly fight for ROOM MOTHER status right? You know Open House night when all of the moms show the teacher how available they can be and how they would make the best Room Mother. That is an easy trap to fall into. That is desiring to be measured by someone else's (who has only met you maybe once) standards at its finest. I fell into that trap when my oldest was in Kindergarten. I wanted to be as involved as possible, so I volunteered for everything y'all...EVERYTHING. My husband said that I walked around school with a big sign that read, "Hi, I'm Kellye the door mat. If you need anything, anything at all, it doesn't matter what just ask me because I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO." Of course I had other things to do, but I fell into the trap of wanting to make the good mommy cut. It wore me slap out though, and I just couldn't do it anymore...So you know what I did instead??? I became the PTA President. Y'all really, I'm serious. I'm laughing at myself and I know that y'all are laughing WITH me, but seriously that is what I did!! How sad is that?? Does any of this relate to you? If it does jot it down in your journal.
We have seen how kids described their modern moms, now let's see as Dr. Borba gives us some kids who described their REAL mothers. Here is what they say,
"My mother was such a great listener." "She was always there." "My mom was so patient!" "All my friends used to tell me how nice my mother was." "Mom was so funny, we just laughed and laughed."(p. 10-11)
I realized during these interviews that what we all remembered was not what our moms DID, but who they WERE and how strong (or not) was the connection between mother and child. We remembered the woman herself, or simply "THE MOTHER." (p.11)
These women influenced us by being real: with their own lives, their personal example, and their genuine selves - not all the things they did for us. They knew instinctively how to connect with us and form a lasting attachment. These moms didn't rely on parenting gurus, use flash cards, learn the latest gimmicks, and read the child development charts. They used their natural-born instincts to mother their children, and because they did, their mothering was more authentic, far simpler, and more effective in influencing their kids' lives for the better, because they set their children a terrific example. THEY WERE REALLY REAL!" (p.11)
Six Core Principals of Real Mothering
So, here is what Dr. Borba says are the 6 core principals that Real mothers know. A responsible caring woman:
- Loves her children deeply and is committed to raising them to the best of her ability
- Knows the essential and proven parenting principals
- Maintains a strong belief that no one understands or knows better what's best for her child than herself
- Recognizes her child's and her own unique strengths and temperament, and customizes her parenting to fit it
- Has the confidence to act on these beliefs
- Knows, above all else, that it is the connection with the child that matters most (p. 11-12)
So now that we have taken in a whole bunch of information, lets take a little break and do some journaling. Review what we have written so far and what we have learned, think about it for a few minutes and lets all answer this very simple, yet very difficult question.
How do you want to be described or even remembered by your children?
Lets each write on this for a few minutes and then we will continue. While you are writing though, imagine that your children are all grown up. What do you want them to say about you??
Okay, lets wipe the tears, gain our composure and see what Dr. Borba has to say about that very question of how we want our kids to describe and even to remember us. She says,
"I would be willing to bet it would be as the type of woman who influenced your life." (p. 13)
Okay is she reading my mind??? When I close my eyes and look at my kids all grown up and talking about me certain people stick out in my mind. So, I jotted the characteristics of that person that mean the most to me down. They are mostly good memories I have of that person. Things that just stick out to me, you know the person who teaches you that you are worth something, the one who teaches you the value of a dollar and shows you how to have a work ethic, and that person who believes in you and is there for you anytime. Sometimes even a saying or a quote that a certain person says often will ring in your mind and mean so much. I had a very dear neighbor about 5 years ago in a house that we rented while we were building. I often called her my "adoptive mom" because she really took me in and literally taught me the ropes of life that I never knew. So many things we talked about mean so much to me still to this day and the way she was with her grand kids has always been something I admire. I still call her for advice and still very much look up to her as a mother and grand mother. Even as I sit here and think of what kind of mom I want to be RIGHT NOW TODAY, not when my kids are grown but right now, certain moms stand out to me. WHY??? Dr. Borba says it is because those women are REAL mothers. WOW!!!
She continues by saying, "If that's the kind of mother you want to become for your children, read on. It will be the woman your children describe years from now if you follow the plan in this book....Your children really do grow up all too quickly, but your connection to them will last an eternity if you learn to use the twelve secrets in this book, follow your instincts, and keep true to yourself. Enjoy!" (p. 13) Okay so are you ready to embark on this journey together?? I feel like I have learned so much already and we really haven't even begun. Next week we will look at Part One of Dr. Borba's book 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know which will give us an understanding of why this is so important and how we can beat Motherhood Mania. Then we will get to Part Two which is the 12 secrets, 12 true stories of women each with a simple secret, each accompanied by ways to use these secrets in our own life.
She says about these 12 secrets, "Time and time again, I've seen the audience laugh and cry as I told them. They seem to strike a chord. Over the years I've realized that each of them depicts an essential secret of real mothering. And years later, people tell me how much these stories have influenced their lives." (p.14)
There are also guidelines and tips of how we can use each secret in our own life (BRUTAL...hope you got a big journal!!).
She says, "This is not a 1-2-3 method of parenting. This is about creating a life mission. This is about creating a Mother's Promise that you will use forever." (p. 14)
Dr. Borba takes this very seriously and does not want to be compared in any way to the latest parenting method or newest idea on the block. She even gives these rules to follow when reading the book:
- Create your own Mother's Promise. (More on this coming later, but we will do this)
- Form a book club. Read the book together and discuss a secret each week.
- Start a journal. The point of this is to express your thoughts about parenting and your concerns about your own kids and to keep track of specific ideas, strategies, and stories you want to remember.
- Find a buddy. Don't try to go this alone. Find other moms who you can share your joys and concerns and the progress of your efforts with.
- Go one secret at a time. Please don't overwhelm yourself by trying to take on too much. (p. 14-15)