Welcome to our 7-Part Blog Series on Raising Strong Children in Today's World. My name is Lori Doerneman and I am glad you are here!
If you did not read/hear our introduction, please start there!
I love mothers. I truly love who we are, collectively. We have a lot of similar characteristics as to what makes us The Mother.
Today I’d like to discuss one trait in particular and I want to showcase how it has already served you (and your child) quite well already. Then I want to take it a step further and help you stir that trait up even more so you can be even more effective in helping your child be strong in this world.
Let’s start with this truth: you, as a mother, have an incredible capability to love. Think of one of your children, preferably your favorite. Ha. I jest. Think of ANY of your children and the first time you laid eyes on them.
Recall your emotions. Now, to be fair, if you had a particularly intense labor and delivery, perhaps recall the second or third day you laid eyes on your child. But you get what I am saying. There was that particular moment when you just held your little baby and you wept with the joy of it all.
We do this because God has equipped us with tenderness and emotions that engage at the HEART level.
(One of my moments came in the dead of night. I was nursing my first son, Eric Scott. I saw a book that my mother-in-law had bought for me, “LOVE YOU FOREVER.” I was tired and wondered what the book was about. With absolutely no expectations, I opened the book and was totally overwhelmed as the love of a mother was clearly laid out in those pages. Over and over I read, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be” and wept from the deepest part of my new mother’s heart. That book has been read many, many times over the years and I cry each and every time because I remember how it felt to hold my newborn child in my arms and be overwhelmed with the freshest, newest kind of love.)
No matter how many children you have, that love is there for them. This is a photo of me with my 8th child, David. When he was four (he's now 12) he would climb on my lap for a "whittle" hug.
In the same way, if you adopted, that same process occurred, where you just felt like that child was the most special gift you had ever received. And your heart opened to accept him or her.
(I used to walk into my newly adopted four-year old daughter’s bedroom and look at her little brown feet hanging over the twin bed. And I would stand there in the dead of night and just weep. Sometimes I would weep because the day had been really difficult as we all adjusted, but I would also weep because I was mothering another mother’s child. And that alone made me weep with the magnitude of it all. Another time I was brushing Malaysia’s hair. She was sitting on the step below me and I was calmly brushing her hair out. I felt like an African American mother, tending to my child. That moment caught me off guard and pierced my new mama adoptive heart on many levels. It was gorgeous.)
So, whether you have adopted or have given birth to your children, they are yours. You were literally chosen to be their mother. You were CHOSEN for each and every one of your children. You.
One of the reasons why you were chosen for your child: so you could protect them.
That is the stunning aspect of motherhood. We claim our young in a way that is fierce and maternal.
Now, for sure, my husband protects our family in his way. He is literally out in the world protecting us and providing for us.
A mother protects in a different way. She isn’t out slaying dragons, but if a dragon gets too close, she will do whatever it takes to protect her child. I mean, take any mother worth her salt - no matter her personality type - and endanger her child and you will find out EXACTLY what the word MOTHER really means.
A mother’s heart is tenacious.
Now, to be honest, this trait surprised me at first. I thought that I would just be calm, cool and collected Lori throughout the motherhood journey.
I can distinctly recall one of the first times one of my children was threatened by another.
I went full out:
I did not relent. I did not back down.
After the storm, I sat with the fact that within me was a mother bear. I marveled at the magnitude of that protective instinct and then I said to myself, “Hello there. I did not know you were in there, but I see you and I honor you. Wow. Welcome to the party.”
You have the same trait. Think of your child. Imagine walking down the street, holding your child’s hand. Now imagine someone trying to take your child. How would you react?
Yep. Full.out.beast.mode. You would not think of your own safety. You would easily lose your life to save your child.
If anyone threatens or harms your child, the Mama Bear will emerge.
Interestingly, most of us have had to probably DIAL THIS TRAIT DOWN in certain situations.
For example, at least twice during Parent-Teacher conferences I have wanted to rip the throat out of a teacher that didn’t seem to care at all about actually teaching my child.
I’ve wanted to literally rip into coaches and refs, especially the ones that did not see what I saw in my child. (This is where my husband has protected me from myself.)
The mother bear is always ready, you know? She just is.
And I have come to love that part of me. I love knowing that I am Mama Bear. One time my son Matthew wrote a paper about how I protected him in a certain situation. He was like, “Dang, my mother is really a mother.”
Dang right. I protect my babies.
So know you have that trait. Know that it has served you and your family well.
As we go through this series, trust that part of you. Not only that, but allow it to learn and feel things.
Because the hard truth: There is a battle going on for the takeover of each and every one of our children.
You are equipped for this battle because you ARE a Mama Bear.
The biggest roadblock that you are facing: you are (most likely) blind to the battle.
How and why are moms blinded? What am I talking about?
We will tackle that in our next post.
Link to Post #3.
P.S. By the way, this series is mostly for young moms. But I wanted to take a moment and raise my glass to older moms.
Another beautiful trait of strong mothers who are interested in raising strong children: we must eventually let our older children fight their own battles.
Yes, Mama Bear must step aside. When our “baby” is a sophomore and there is an issue with a teacher, we must help that child go confidently to that teacher and speak their mind ON THEIR OWN.
When the high schoolers bicker with friends, a smart Mama Bear asks good questions and guides her crazy high school cubs to find their own resolutions.
If you really want to raise strong children in today’s world, as the Mama Bear, you need to know when to protect your cub and when to encourage them to fend for themselves.
Even then, I do keep a sharp eye. Mama Bear is always ready to step in.
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
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