Car ride conversations are the best. You get 100% eye contact with the rear view mirror. My kids are amazing, and teach me everyday. They have generous personalities; this is true of most children. Some of the most profound moments are found in those car rides.
I was talking to the girls about destiny, dreams and the need to fulfill them. Somewhere the discussion of having babies came up. I said, “…you must discover what it [destiny] is for you. Discover your dream, what makes you happy and if having a child matches with that, then you should have one. You absolutely must discover your dreams before becoming a mommy, learn, grow and be happy first.” My little one, five years old, asked, “…you mean we DON’T have to become Mommy’s [complete shock]????”. I had to pause, I’ve heard it a million times before, ‘Women are conditioned to become mothers’. In that pivotal moment I was experiencing it. I replied, “No sweetheart, you don’t HAVE to be a Mommy”. We both smiled, we smiled with our eyes, the sun shown in our eyes. I caught a glimpse of my old soul eight year old, she was relieved to hear the news again.
I was a never in the mindset of motherhood. I always thought, and said, “I don’t want to mess up anyone else’s life. I need to fix me first”. What I didn’t know is that having children has helped me fix me. I have to reflect on my actions and feelings. I have to teach them to be strong, confident, thoughtful and self-assured. I have to have confidence that I am age appropriately honest about this world. I have to ask them, “Do you want to see Mean Mommy? Are you really asking her to come to the party?” They get it. I have made a conscious effort NOT to spank. It’s not easy, and they know I won’t. Is the threat of a spanking from someone you know won’t give one, effective? In most cases, no. I am not perfect, I just know that I can not allow my children to believe it’s ok for ANYONE to put their hand on them. Including me. I absolutely want them to know that their bodies are their own. Sometimes I do grab an arm and give a little shake. They are kids, and they are hard headed, period.
Later that evening, little bit asked me, “Mommy, should I become a Mommy?” I told her, “Honey, that’s a decision only YOU can make. That is not for mommy to decide, or anyone else, for that matter. You have to figure out what you want to do in this life. All of your grown up decisions are for you to make”. Planting the seeds of thoughtfulness, independence, self-reliance, belief in self and your own ideas builds strong minds. I want strong-minded children. I know with this comes thoughtful and challenging conversations. There are mental challenges involved as well, they make me think and keep me on my toes. I have to take a step back and also teach them the levels of respect to be had with adults and adult conversation. I have to remember that they have very short memories and can not process information as quickly as adults do.
My oldest, an eight year old, is wise and sensitive. She’s a Pisces, it’s in her nature. She had to explain to ‘MEAN Mommy’, one day that she can only do ONE thing at a time. I said something like, take this into the other room and put it on the counter then do XYZ. She damn there melted on the spot. “MOMmmyyyyy…. [sad tone] I can’t do all that at once. You have to tell me the first thing, then I will come back, then the second thing, and so on [clarifying hand motions]. You know what I’m saying?”
When they 100% sound like you and you are dumbfounded and defenseless.
I just know that I am learning more from motherhood than any other education I have received up to this point. I am blessed everyday through my interactions and life lessons. There is so much we can learn from each other, just as long as we are present and thoughtful.
Stay blessed and present.