One of a mother's greatest fears is that we don't know what we are doing and that we are going to mess up. We worry that we are the only ones who either didn't get the secret "How to be an Amazing Mom" handbook, or even worse, that there is no handbook, and we are the only ones who have no idea what we are doing. Even after 6 children, I still feel clueless. As if parenthood wasn't hard enough, each child is so different that the parenting tactics that were so effective with one child are suddenly worthless with the next.
But I found a secret weapon!
As a teenager, I had a rather grim opinion of motherhood. I figured it was something women just did to be normal. It was just part of life. I wasn't able to see any benefits to motherhood but I could see a ton of negatives.
There was a woman at my church who had eight children. I'll call her Mrs. S. Her oldest was my age. With my bleak outlook on parenting as a whole, I had a rather poor opinion of her as a person. I figured that no sane person would purposely have nine children and that she must not have been educated enough to know about birth control. Fast forward four years and I was lost in the throws of motherhood, the only one of my friends married and the first to have a baby. When my daughter was 3 months old, Mrs. S had baby number 9. She called me up out of the blue one day and asked me to come over and give her some advice. Of course, I was very confused as to what advice me, a new mom, could possibly give to someone with so much more experience. When I arrived at her home and we finished oohing and aahing over each others babies, she told me about some problems she was having breastfeeding and wanted to know if I had any ideas.
Over the last 8 years, Mrs. S has become one of my closest friends and greatest resources. I visit her weekly if possible. Every one of her children are not only well behaved, kind, and successful in their own right, but each one of them knows how much their parents love them. Our girls have become best friends and even my son has found friendship with her sons. I soak up every bit of advice she has to give and watch her every move. I ask questions about about how and why she does things. I share my experiences with her and see if there is any way to put her parenting tactics to use in my own home. She helps me work through problems by giving me a spectators point of view.
There are many other mothers in my life that I constantly preen advice from. I question all of them without judgement and take what advice I think will work for my family. I found that that is my secret "How To be an Amazing Mom", handbook: my collections of friends and their advice.
That day eight years before had been more for my benefit then for Mrs. S. By asking for my help, Mrs. S had given me my first bit of self esteem as a mother. She made me feel that I had something to give, that maybe, just maybe, I might know how to be a mom. I hope to be able to pass on the favor.