Monday, March 2, 2009

Two Kinds of Moms

When I taught kindergarten I noticed right away that there are two kinds of mothers.  When some of the mothers or fathers dropped off their little ones at my door they said or acted like they were so relieved to be getting their children into school and out of their hair. One mom even told me, "I have been looking forward to this day for 5 years!" and added with a sarcastic tone, "Have fun with him..." as she quickly swept away with out a look back. When summer came these parents had the attitude that their lives where about to end or was sure to sign their children up for the most time intensive summer program that they could find. I often heard comments like, "I bet you are glad to give her back or move her on to the next teacher."  Or, "What am I EVER going to do with him during the summer!!! Are you sure he doesn't need summer school?"
Then there were the other moms that handed their children over with a lot of regret, sadness and with repeated hugs and kisses and even tears. Another mom said to her daughter, "I will miss you so much, and I can't wait until you come home in just a few hours."  Another mom told me at the end of the school year, "I have been counting the days until I get her back! I haven't liked this school thing at all!" and another said, "I am so happy it is summer and he'll be home all day!" This same mom only let her son come to kindergarten 3 days a week because she wanted to play a more active role in his education and felt like she could add and enrich what he was being taught at school.
What I found most interesting was that ALL of these children were sweet and at least fairly well behaved. I would shake my head and wonder why a sweet little boy was snapped at to hurry  up and not greeted with a hug and a kiss at the end of a long day or conversely why a mom would excitedly greet her little rambunctious boy that had plagued me all day long.  Now, I realize that these mothers reactions had nothing to do with how their child behaved, but with the attitude of her heart. Not only that, but an attitude of joy over handing your "problem" child over to another to deal with is not only spiteful, but it is a sign that you value yourself over others.  I was talking to a mom a few years after teaching that had just put her fourth and final child in kindergarten. I said, "Oh, I bet that it was so hard to put your last child in school..." With aghast she said, "Are you joking! I couldn't have rejoiced more! I am so glad to have my days all to myself." At the time I wasn't sure what to say. I just couldn't understand why she would be happy to spend her day all alone. One thing I have committed to is to savoring the season of every day. I will not always have little ones tugging on my attention and may find when they are grown I have too much time alone.  I want to take joy and delight in the things that irritate me the most because I don't want to look back and say, "I wish I had enjoyed that time because it could have been so sweet." 
All children are lovable if you decide that that they are worth loving. A feisty little boy is still to be loved and enjoyed just as much as a sweet and calm one... and chances are the more love they are given the more lovely they will become. More than that I saw that those five year olds who had discontented mothers were completely aware of how their moms viewed them and if they desired them. It is heart breaking to see a child realize their mom doesn't want them around or is grateful to be rid of them.  I never want my child to feel like I don't want them around, I want them to know that my life is full of joy and happiness because of them NOT in spite of them.

1 comment:

Renee said...

You know I was the mother vulture!
I must say in defense of the worn out mother that most of us received nothing but selfishness 101 as we were being raised. I had my own room and rarely even had play dates. Although my parents guided me to be financially stable they left up the spiritual and academic training to private school and Thankfully a great church home. The word of God is my saving grace. I cannot believe what I would be like in the realm of selfishness without it! It is still a struggle...I have friends with less children and more finances going on girl cruises and spending time in Europe. I am SO excited for them....everyone needs a sabbath...EVERYONE. But my journey is meant to be for life....and as Randy's philosophy stands, "One kid takes up all your time....why not more?" SEVEN AND HOLDING =) I turn 42 in a couple weeks...what a wild ride I've had! God knew I needed this brood to keep me wild and crazy!! =) Hoping we cross paths in this journey of motherhood! Renee