Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mothering Moments: "I wanta be a friends mama"

Those were the words thrown out by my 3 year old this morning after I somewhat harshly told him to stop jumping on me while I vacuumed. 

Eluwhoo was busy doing dishes, Gman was busy picking up books, and Cbelle was ... hmmm, playing in her room? 
Wyatt was without a job and therefore, wanted to "play" with me while I finished the vacuuming. 

I'm thrusting the dirt eater around the living room and every 5 seconds there's this 32lb stringy beast landing on my legs and clinging to my waist. 
Child, off! 
Is what I'm thinking. 

I said a few:
Superwy, no.
Superwy, stop. 
No, son. 

So then there was: 
SON! Stop jumping on me! 

A boy, sucking his thumb on the stairs, cuddling his blanket. 

A few minutes pass and I hear:
"Mama, I wanta huuuug.
I wanta be a friends mama."

I actually laugh when I hear him.
I responded with, 
"We are friends, son."
And then I'm sad. 

I realize there are a couple things in what my little superman said. 
The first is that our children want our friendship and they will push us to give it to them. If we give in and give them friendship without parenting, it will be to their detriment. 
I am not called to be my child's friend, I am called to be his mother. 
A mother first, always. 

So many parents now seem to think that they can be their child's best friend and focus on that relationship more than the relationship of the parent to child. 
We are our children's parents for a reason.
God designed the family system for a reason and with a purpose. 
A big part of that purpose, I believe, is to provide our children with an environment where mom and dad teach them, train them, discipline them, and disciple them. 
Not be their best friend. 

The second thing is that I realized in that moment that my child was calling out for relationship with me.
Right then. At that moment. 
That calling out didn't mean that I needed to rush to him and apologize up and down and just hug him, though it's easy to think that. 
Just like we cannot be friends without parenting, we cannot parent without relationship. 
So what this moment meant was that I needed to go to him, hug him, apologize for being harsh, and then explain to him why he needed to stop jumping on me. 
I needed to restore the mother-child relationship. 

So we did that. And then I asked him to obey, and he did. 
So often, we move from one task to the next and disregard the need to repair the relationship with our children. 
I could have easily finished vacuuming, moved on to dishes, and then on to blanket time without taking a moment. 
I could have responded with my,
"We are friends, son." 
And just left it there. 
But what would that have accomplished and what would I have missed and messed? 

Don't let yourself only be a friend to your child without being their parent and don't parent your children without a healthy parent-child relationship. 
Spend time building a healthy relationship with your children even when it's easier to do the opposite. You will win their heart and will be able to turn that heart right back to Christ. 
What a beautiful thing! 

I'll be trying right along with you because heaven knows, I need to keep trying. 

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