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Posts Tagged ‘Momma Guilt’

Crying it Out

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“Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

There it was, a child to parent question, that can zip my lips faster than crazy glue.

It’s not the only one. There is also,

  • “did you have drug-free childbirth?”
  • “did you breastfeed all of your babies until they were one year (or two, or six)?
  • “how do you feel about circumcision?”
  • “did your kids watch TV as preschoolers?”
  • “did you get your kids immunized?”

My daughter’s question was a fair one, a reasonable one, after all she is a Psychology student, and numerous psychological theories deal with issues of nurture and attachment. But, I was not ready to talk about such theories … I am still, and may always, be living the motherly existence of being chased down by momma guilt.

Momma guilt is a most powerful, dark and destructive force. It can erase the ten good things a mother does with one newspaper article, one crime drama, one conversation with a mom who ‘did it all right’ and is currently wearing the coveted mother-of-the-year crown on her perfectly coiffed hair.

I wrote about Momma Guilt a couple of years ago, especially in regard to those perfect TV moms, that so many of us grew up with.

But, the TV moms of the past have been replaced by the scientific study, or the psychological theory about development and attachment (or the mom next door), and they are so convincing with their charts, their studies and their scientific process.

But what they tell us (and I still keep needing to remind myself) is what they know from their studies, their theories and their observations … today. The results tomorrow might just be different, they might point us to a very different direction.

They are also only telling us one side of the child nurture and rearing process … that of the child, not taking other circumstances into account, such as physical or mental health of the mother, familial circumstances and support (including the role of the daddy), family or cultural history.

The difficulty with being a mom is that no matter what investment we make into the lives of our children, we will indeed make mistakes, and some of them will be whoppers! We will say things, do things and make decisions that will result life-long effects in how our children see themselves, others and their place in this world. We will hurt them, we will make decisions that leave them deficit in areas, we will over-do things that will leave them ‘damaged.’

And, if that is all we consider about our roles as mothers, we will have enough momma guilt to carry our bodies six feet down.

But …

we do what we do, as moms,

with the greatest of intent.

with the most deep desire for success of our children.

with an immeasurable amount of love.

and we know, from the moment that we hold that perfect personification of our heart’s beat, that we simply are not qualified to do justice to our child.

but, that does not stop us from putting more effort into the task,

than we put into any other in our lifetimes.

Today, my three earthly children are speaking to me

each one has hugged, or been hugged by me

I am satisfied to say that today … just today, I am a successful mom,

no momma guilt needed.

And my answer to “Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

“I’ll let you know later … when you are a mom.”

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It’s true!images-3

I shot my students!

(even a few who are not my students)

And they LOVED it!

And they even shot me back!

Of course we were playing Lazer Tag, so the shooting was all on the up and up 😉 .

It was an event birthed in the repeated conversations between a pair of students (could there be a better place to birth an event for students?). Then one day, I heard one of the students mention it to their mom …

and I saw the ‘look’ …

the look that wordlessly said,

“I have put this off too long, but I have so much on my plate …”

When my children have friends over, my life becomes easier, for many with children with special needs, having a friend over can be more planning, more work, more exhaustive.

Months ago I had written a previous post of these “Moms That I Admire“, and in that mom’s facial expression of ‘momma guilt’ I was reminded again of how very heavy the burden of raising a child with special needs can be.

I was also reminded of a line from the child dedication ceremony that my hubby has led many a congregation in:

“Will you, upon hearing the commitments made by these parents, do your utmost as God gives you opportunity, to ensure the fulfillment of these promises and seek to encourage, support and be faithful to these parents and this family?”

The correct response is “we do” or “we will”

Back to these “Moms That I Admire” …

As the momma-guilt look showed all over this lovely but weighted down parent, the commitment from these child dedication ceremonies reminded me that part of our task … as Christ-followers … as friends … as schools, is to come alongside of these families. These families raising a child with special needs, need the support of His people, His churches and schools named for His Son to do the job well.

And I thought, “wouldn’t it be great to support these two families in a practical way.” So, the dreaming began. Then the dreaming was shared with a co-worker, and we began to run with it!

In the end, my co-worker and I, along with twelve students (half deemed ‘special ed.’ and half not or ), and a school alumni, left school at noon on a Friday , leaving their classmates to snooze through their afternoon classes. We donned the vests of the battle, issued mortal threats, complete with evil laughs, chose code names, then we marched off to battle.

An hour and a half later, sweaty and sticky (and stinky) … and laughing with great memories made, we headed for Slurpies, then a slow drive back to school … we didn’t want to get back too early … that would have meant having to return to classes!

You might be asking, “so, Carole, what academic benefit was there from this event?”

To which I would reply, “none.”

But the goal was NOT academic, it was purely social skills.

About half of the students are designated ‘special education’ students, and learning the skills to be socially acceptable in the larger society is a main factor in their learning (of course if anyone walks the halls of any high school, the majority of students might seem to need social skills learning … heck, if anyone were to walk into the staff room … but, I digress 😉 ). The best place to teach and reinforce these skills is in a true social setting, not in a classroom.

These students got to talk, interact, laugh and observe their more ‘typical’ peers in a social setting. There was no ‘us’ and ‘them’ that day, only ‘we’. The ‘typical’ students got to be noticed for the intrinsic way that they already care for their peers … a ‘thank-you’ that most probably did not feel necessary, as they are who they are because that is how they have responded to God’s call to “love their neighbor, classmate, as themselves” (Mark 12:31). These ‘typical’ students were chosen by their ‘not so typical’ peers … no higher praise could be earned!

I cannot wait to see and hear the interactions, and rehashing of memories next week in the halls and classrooms of school.

My favorite part was when my co-worker recounted the words of one of the boys, who said something to the effect of, “I think I will remember this for an exceptionally long time.”

I hope he does, I know I will too.

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