Childhood is by far the most critical and pivotal foundation of a person’s life. Everything that comes after childhood will always be referred back to childhood. It is during these critical formative years that our children are being exposed to so much, that it is critical that we keep in mind what our goals and visions are for our children.
Parenthood, motherhood, it’s not easy. Further complicate the challenge for single parents or young parents who are still trying to keep their feet on the ground and head out of the clouds all while being responsible for the care, well being and upbringing of a child, a vulnerable human being. It is one of the most tiring, challenging, strenuous yet loving, blissful and eventful roles a person could ever take on. Sadly in today’s general population children are often seen as a burden or inconvenience for single and young parents alike. Often feeling exhausted, tied down and unappreciated they forget that their role as a parent is the most amazing blessing and responsibility they will ever have. They are formatively molding and cultivating the present and future for a contributing member of society. One that will bring forth new hope and contributions to our lives and our world. Often times we are so caught up in our own lives and the daily tasks and demands that we don’t take the time to appreciate our children and properly invest in them, and how sad this truly is when this, childhood, is only a season, only but a moment in time. We forget how quickly it passes by and how we later on long for the earlier years.
Far too often I hear of mothers, young and even those not so young yet naive leave their child with relatives to chase after a man, to spend quality time with a man, to invest in a man (who very well is not even worth the time of day) rather than investing that energy and effort into her own children. The same is to be said for males. Those who rather take the route of negligence and irresponsibility to chase after a new woman or set up a new home elsewhere with no regards to how their choices will affect their children. And then those individuals who take on more responsibility at work rather than invest time during their children’s formative years. We fail to realize that perhaps the greatest investment of our lifetime will indeed be with our own children.
This is not to say that we should stay in abusive environments or not take on professional responsibilities but rather that we should truly look at our reasoning and truly determine if what we are doing is beneficial for the family as a whole. Is it the best option for your own given situation? Of course in life there are sacrifices to be made but we must ask ourselves at what cost? Does the end result always justify the means?
As a young single mother I sacrificed for years so I could invest time and money into pursuing an education. Time studying, reading, researching, driving to and from my university and in the classroom. Sometimes I’d leave as early at 6am to make it to class on time only to return by 10pm. I sacrificed time and money so I could establish a better future for myself and my daughter. However I knew the sacrifice had an end date in mind and would be for a season in my life. Though I was sacrificing I was also setting up an example for my daughter. I was role modeling what I hope and expect from her and I took any free time to dedicate it to her rather than selfishly reinvest ample leisure time in myself. I was still investing in her while investing in myself. Now that time has passed and I have successfully completed my graduate studies I now see the fruits of my educational attainment, a government position and job security. I also realize how much time and effort was dedicated to making this a reality and how little time is left of my daughter’s childhood. In less than a handful of years she will be considered an adult therefore it’s imperative that I adapt and evolve for the sake of a continued relationship and so I can better meet her needs at each stage of her life. There is no actual manual in raising children. It’s all trial and error and listening to your intuition.
It’s imperative that my presence and influence help mold her into the young woman she is called to be. My role as a mother is to live by the example I hope for her. It’s ludicrous that I should live a certain lifestyle and then expect differently from her. We must model the behavior and expectations that we hope for our own children.
Though, I dedicated so much time to pulling myself together I know that I exemplified to her that life may not be easy but we must continue to persevere.
My son now has the fortunate benefit of the foundation that I was setting up while my daughter was younger. Until I decide to pursue a doctorates degree my son will not have to witness me sacrificing so much time and effort into establishing myself. He benefits in the sense of having more of my undivided attention and creativity. And because I don’t plan on having more children he will benefit from effort that will now go into his life in which more memories will be made.
His childhood will be different from my daughter’s childhood because of the intended personalized attention he will recieve. With good reason as well because his paternal figure has been more of an absent parent than a present one and a narcissist rather than the father that my son needs or deserves. But God is working and I marvel at God’s hand in our lives and just how far he has gotten us and provided for us.
Letting go of the ideal family was and has been excruciating for me but when I truly began to realize the abuse, ridicule and disrespect I had succumbed to at the hands of the man I created life with I realized that I never deserved such trash and toxicity in my life nor in my son’s life. Being a good parent means evaluating all circumstances and truly deciding if they are beneficial or healthy for yourself and your child(ren).
As a parent your environment and your home environment sets the tone for your children. The healthier the parent is,the more clarity the parent has typically results in healthier children. A tranquil, safe, warm and nurturing home environment sets the tone for the child. I made it a goal when moving out of my former home to rid myself and my family of tainted and hurtful memories that occurred in our previous home at the hands of my former loved one. The abuse, ridicule, humiliation, manipulation, triangulation were not welcomed and are not welcomed in my new home. I see my new home as a fresh start in cultivating a warm and safe environment and a sanctuary or safe haven of a sort away from the toxicity.
Bonding, creating memories, exploring new experiences that is what I now hold with value.
Living in an affluent area of the suburbs of Boston my children have the fortunate advantage of living in one of the most sought after towns. They have the privilege and opportunity of attending one of the best public school systems in the state. For this I am grateful. However my children are also exposed to economic disparities in which a small fraction of children recieve free lunch while the vast majority live very comfortable prestigious lives. We fall somewhere in between. It’s this that though challenging at times also presents a valuable learning lesson. It’s more about teaching our children values in morals and self worth than in the size of their friend’s house or their classmates excursions to Europe or Summers in the South of France or San Tropez. Rather it’s about teaching them their value and worth as a human being is far above any dollar amount. I mean, for all intents and purposes it was worth God’s only son to die on a cross.
We must learn to invest in our children in such a way that creates healthier well rounded individuals in our society.
We are an influential solution to a large percentage of the world’s problems and if we can’t solve the world’s problems then the best thing we can do is be a solution at home and in our children’s lives.