Monday, September 28, 2009

Motherhood ... Part 1 of ___.


I recently learned about a Mom who paid for her daughter's years and years of ice skating lessons by collecting 5 cent can/bottle deposits in her spare time. She scouted parks, dumpsters, etc. in order to gather up the funds she would need to help her daughter make it to the Olympics - her daughter's ultimate goal. And make it to the Olympics this girl did --- thanks to Mom.

That story is an example of what Motherhood means to me --- doing whatever it takes to help your child to be the best that he or she can be --- no matter the effort, the sacrifice, the humiliation (picking cans out of dumpsters), etc. --- as the rewards are well worth every effort made.

Now, please don't confuse my sentiments with those who put their childrens' needs so far ahead of their own, that they lose themselves in the process. That is not good for anybody, including the child ... and is not what I am suggesting here. But to make honest, loving, well-thought out, and well-managed efforts in order to do what is best for your child and your family ... that is the beauty of parenthood to me.

So - when I was recently sitting at our local Denny's Restaurant with my husband and child - and overheard a mother talking to her friend about why her latest man dumped her - because he didn't want to be with someone who had a child - and said child was sitting right there listening to the entire conversation - hearing her mother describe the burden of motherhood --- well, I just wanted to slap that mother. How dare she make her child feel like an imposition! Where is the parenting effort here? What made her think that this was an appropriate conversation for her child to hear? Did she think of her kid at all? Can people seriously be so self absorbed that they cannot manage to think about their own babies? I know that the answer is yes --- but it never ceases to baffle me.

Isaac is the greatest gift of my life. How could I not work every day to be worthy of such a wonderful gift? He is also the greatest gift that I can leave to this world. How could I not make sure to raise him up in love, self-confidence, and as much wisdom as I can impart? Most importantly, Isaac is his own greatest gift. How could I not remind him daily of how wonderful he is and how much brighter the world is for his presence? To insult him or dismiss him is unthinkable to me ... and to most of the wonderful mothers I share my life with.

Now look, I am not worthy of the "Mother-of-the-Year" award, I am certain --- (maybe a close runner up :) --- so I hope I am not coming off arrogant here. But darn it all --- there are ways to raise kids up in happiness and self-confidence --- and I am beginning to lose patience for those who don't seem to make the effort to do so. I seem to have eyes and ears for "bad" parenting lately. For some reason, I am seeing it everywhere --- and it pains me.

But then there are those who dumpster-dive to raise money for their child's skating lessons. Those Moms make me smile. They remind me that the greatest "occupation" in the world is that of a Parent. I love my job ... and "I shall try to be worthy of my post" (Quote from Disney's Peter Pan).

Please comment :)

Love,
Jodi

P.S. I call this post "Part 1 of ___" because I have made some other Motherhood observations that I wish to share and discuss with you all.

P.P.S. My son starts private swimming lessons next week, and I am seriously considering doing some dumpster diving of my own. With all the fairs we have around here, should take me no time to score some funds for lessons :)

7 comments:

Perla said...

that is a beautiful post, dear friend. i am always filled with hope and peace in this world when i hear of women who love being mothers and are trying there best to do it right--that and couples who love each other.
i love the photo of isaac in the water. how does he take to it? andre is a little fish! it is so fun to see!
thank you for your wonderful example of motherhood! i love you!

Naomi said...

It's so hard not to judge other parents, isn't it? There was a mom on the plane the other day with daughters about the ages of my kids (5 and 2) and the little one was freaking out. First off, the mom expected her to stay in her lap during the flight, which I can't imagine my son doing. So the girl was wailing constantly. I've been in that situation and it's totally humiliating, true, but the mother wasn't doing anything but screaming at the little girl to sit down and shut up. No kind words, no explanation of why it wasn't okay to hang out in the aisle. I just wished there was a way I could try and defuse the situation for them but it was impossible. Later I saw them at a restaurant in the airport terminal and the mom was letting them "hold a booth" while she stood in line to get food. The girls were literally climbing all over the poor couple sitting next to them with no action from mom. It was so frustrating. But it made me appreciate the not-always-smooth dynamic I share with my kids.

Jen said...

I am far from being the perfect mother. My kids can be gems at the best of times. They are lovely and smart children. It's me who has the problem. I just gets so nervous about every little mistake because everything around them belongs to my parents or brother. I am that mother on the plane, when I'm at home. On a plane I would be that soft voice trying to soothe. I'm still trying to figure it out. I am inspired by the mothers like that mentioned in your post. One day I'll get there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Jodi Renshaw said...

Perla ---

I know you love your job as Mommy and that you take it very seriously. I am so glad to know you for so many reasons - but perhaps especially because you are such a devoted Mom.

Isaac *LOVES* the water --- which is funny, becuase we were told that most Haitians fear the water. Is that true in your experience?

Love you forever ...
Jodi

Jodi Renshaw said...

Naomi,

Thank you for sharing that story. Those are the kind of scenes I am talking about. So hard not to judge .... because you can just feel the child's pain. Ugh.

But you are right --- seeing those situations can certainly help us to remember how to love and parent our own children better ---- and to appreciate our relationships to them even more.

Thanks for sharing!
Love,
Jodi

Jodi Renshaw said...

Jen,

Thank you for sharing :)

Sometimes we are ALL that mother on the plane. Parenting is the toughest but most rewarding job ever. We just have to remember that these are young bodies/minds/souls that we are shaping ... and so much of what we do today shapes how they will operate within the world later. That is a huge assignment! But we have the ability to love these guys so much that we would meet any challenge to make sure they get the best out of life ... So sometimes we just need to breathe in ... remember that NOTHING is more important than doing what is right for your kids (including your parents & brothers items) and go from there.

I wish you well!

Love,
Jodi

Anonymous said...

oooh, i hear that. i struggle with judging, too, and it doesn't feel good. i think because it is sooo very important to me to give my best to my kids, that i'm a little too attached to being a "good mom". i probably think about it too much, read about it too much, and try too hard-because i'm afraid of not measuring up to my very high standards. and i think when i'm insecure (and what mom isn't sometimes), that i really want to latch onto a "right way" of doing or being, a philosophy or tactic that will be the final, perfect answer to the anxiety of not knowing all the answers. and then when i have that perfect answer, i end up comparing everybody else to it--and they either fall short and make me feel superior and angry at them, or inferior and angry at myself. either way, it's not good, but it's hard not to have opinions about how kids should be raised. plus, i'm just right. :)
kristin b, jamie and nola's mama
brennerkg@yahoo.com