Every Mother’s Need to be a Child

Just the beginning…

I believe that the ability to carry and deliver a child into this world is more of a physical one than anything else. For most women, we are predisposed to this ability given our physiological makeup. Yet, moving through the years, and beyond bringing a child into the world, the practical considerations of raising that child take over. As parents, we concern ourselves more with issues related to their emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Stepping Down to Step Up

I am a firm believer of children never overstepping the boundaries between themselves and their parents. I make no apology for that. However, there are times when that boundary needs to be blurred a little bit to allow children to understand that this relationship is not invariably about power and control of the adults over them. It’s important for mothers and fathers to come down from their self-appointed pedestal and engage at a level with their own children. Stripping away the airs and graces which come with the territory of being a parent, allows us to appear more amenable to our kids in a way that doesn’t threaten our status. It’s essentially about foresight. Knowing that these strategies will serve us well in later life when children become teenagers and then young adults. If that relationship of trust isn’t forged early on, we will face problems in future for sure. At least, that’s how I see it.

Parenting comes with its plethora of risks. I can – and do – sometimes get it wrong. However, that doesn’t make me flawed. It makes me human. And being seen as a fallible human rather than a robot dispensing perfunctory orders can create a relationship with my children whereby they feel comfortable opening up about their own personal worries or struggles. Being a mother is hard work. Being perfect is near impossible. And being a perfect mother is an ideal which will forever elude me. Which is why I don’t pretend to be one.

Instead, one way for my children to earn my trust and find ease in one another’s presence is to have those frivolous moments together and simply enjoy one another’s company. Occasions where there are no instructions, no chores to complete and no pending goals to discuss are occasions to be used to discreetly learn about one another and what makes us tick. It’s about creating confidence -laying the groundwork for a time when those serious matters will arise and when that child or young adult will need to have my full attention.

Once a mother, always a mother. Till death us do part. However, having carefree banter or generally, times when we can jump off the hamster wheel of life, is so important. It’s cathartic for all. That’s why I am a strong advocate of unashamedly releasing the child in me from time to time – and making sure my sons (who are no longer children) see it. It diffuses tensions and resets us to a lightened mood and allows us all to step back from whatever stresses we might be going through. Moreover, my sons know that although I will never cease to be their mother, I am happy to sometimes surrender my control of a situation and let them steer the way forward if they wish to. In other words, I don’t mind if they want to swap roles and let me take a back seat whilst they manage decisions for a while. After all, this is what I have trained them to do. It started with household chores when they were younger and now they have grown into managing bigger decisions. Today, it’s comforting to see them wanting to spread their wings to protect me instead. The tables have turned and I have become the one who they plan to watch over, inshaAllah.

Not in the Driver’s Seat but Enjoying the View

I guess life would be boring if, as a mother, I was always in control. Over the years, I have enjoyed gradually releasing the taut rope that connect my sons and me. This isn’t about abandoning my responsibilities but moreso about surrendering absolute authority over them. I don’t feel guilty about this. After all, it’s my formula for preparing them for adulthood and simultaneously, allowing me some respite. The carefree child in all of us definitely exists and at some point in life, we should let it resurface if only to help us cope with whatever lies ahead.

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