• Valerie Bryant

The ABC-123 of Being a Great Mom

When much material is written on how to care for a newborn, even more needs to be written on how to be an effective and wise mother. Motherhood places unimaginable physical, mental and emotional pressure and expectation upon a woman. Most women have no idea the rigors of the task nor the depth of their impact. When a woman’s family depends so fully on her to not only daily deliver but to do so to near perfection, she could use a helping hand for guidance that leads to greater success.

The ABC-123 of being a great mom is about encouraging mothers by first reminding them of their value. Theirs is an impacting and life-shaping undertaking that requires nearly every ounce of a woman’s being. Whether it involves one child or nine (like me) or more, the task can seem insurmountable. The best anyone can do for her is to first offer her rich encouragement. Second, people (especially veteran parents) can help protect her steps, showing her how to maneuver around specific land mines that could negate her impact.

RICH ENCOURAGEMENT: If moms are to continue to nurture their family with confidence, they need to be made aware of their positive innate strengths. The “A-B-C’s” outlined here boast of those strengths. Following these, to maintain true balance, the “1-2-3’s” offer mothers simple operational precautions, helping advance her toward success through strength and confident parenting practices.

The “A-B-C’s” = Attitude, Backbone, and Connector

A = Attitude. The mother is a woman of specific attitude that ensures the well-being of her child. She is the one who, throughout a pregnancy, watches and weighs practically every morsel of food she intakes, to the extent of denying herself what she, for years, has come to enjoy. She avoids these now like the plague once she understands such could potentially hurt her unborn child. Years later, she denies herself specific material necessities to again first ensure that her child has all they need - adequate food, clothes and shelter – as well as some diversions along the way. Powerful mom attitude helps children thrive since they know someone has their best interest at heart.

B = Backbone to survive hefty heart tasks and issues. She is the one who stays up long into the night monitoring every labored breath taken by her ill baby/child. Once again, years later, she is the one who loses sleep, praying, petitioning and crying long into the night as her adult “baby” possibly falls into various life struggles. She avails herself in specific ways in both matters. On one hand, she is physically there to comfort her small child – no matter the cost to her physical well-being. In the situation of an older adult child, she carefully masks her own heart-break as she sorrows for them. Instead of weakening their spirits by displaying her true countenance of despair, she often demonstrates mock strength to encourage her child hopefully forward as an overcomer.

C = Connector who is readily moved by the heart of her child, because she connects deeply. She is the one who hears, interprets and lovingly attends to the pitiful cries of her baby - and years later after her child is grown, maintains that same attitude of heart connection with them, even as they might choose to disregard her own concerned appeals (cries) for their welfare. A mother knows her child’s heart and can feel what affects them in ways that touch closest to the soul. If she can rightly massage this “power”, she can continue to connect in ways that breathe life and hope into her child, even after they are grown.

PROTECT HER STEPS. There are also precautions moms need to take. This is where the “1-2-3’s” activate. When our children misstep, we can sometimes grow uneasy or weary to correct them because we long for their approval more than we should. Still, corrections must happen, for good fruit left to itself will spoil. Here are the “1-2-3’s” – necessary steps to limit negative experience on the motherhood journey.

“1-2-3’s” – Tips for Successful Mothering

Tip #1: Counting to 10 – stop it. Do not count to any number after telling your children what to do. It is not a demonstration of love to try rescuing your child from appropriately and immediately responding to your words of authority. Committing such error only serves to wreak havoc upon their social acceptability for they will expect others (especially those in authority) to be equally permissive with them. That certainly will not happen without possible devastating backlash. Spare your children now by doing the tough parenting work of teaching them to respond appropriately to your directions.

Tip #2: Don’t Give in. Resist the urge to yield to every begging plea your child utters. Rewarding them only to keep them happy convinces them that they are entitled to get what they desire – oftentimes at the expense of others. I heard report of this happening recently when a teacher was attempting to cast a school play. When one child did not get the role they desired, they went home and cried about it to their mother. She then made it her duty to confront the teacher and coerce her into taking the part from another child and giving it to hers. What a horrible lesson was taught both children ( the one who had been originally granted the role and the other who essentially stole it – with support of the authorities). That lessons was this: If you don’t get what you want, fight for it - even if it means an injustice will be enacted upon another.

There have been times as a mother of nine children when I might find myself flip-flopping after giving mine a directive. If I deliver a demand without conviction and firmness, my children can usually detect it. They then quickly proceed to challenge my orders. Through these experiences, I had to train myself to mean what I say before speaking. This means standing my ground to parry any challenge they might try. I’ve come to expect some “push-back” as my children have gotten older and some more savvy at countering. Still, my resolve rarely sways. Yes, there are times when I may modify, but more frequently sticking to the original gets most consistent cooperation. Moms must learn to be soft and loving nurturers, yet firm in the task of training up their children to listen and obey.

Tip #3: Accepting blame and guilt for the negative choices your children make; for they should never feel that someone else will be there to take the blame for undesirables they create. It’s a loving, well-meaning parent who desires to see their child succeed at all they do. Still, they are individuals in their own rights, and must learn how to best and wisely respond to life. If we neglect to properly teach them, we should indeed be prepared to share the blame for their specific wrongdoings. On the other hand, if we have done our best to guide and model for them, we would do well to disown feelings of guilt at their pitiful choices. Our children would also do well to shoulder the sting of their own poor decisions. The dismay this creates would go farther to shape them than would any self-blame we might attempt to carry for them.

Motherhood is vital to the life of a family. If moms are to do their jobs well, they need good “A-B-C’s” and “1-2-3’s” to guide them. Rich encouragement and steps of protection – these are what help moms continue to keep being good at what they do.

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