About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The effects of intense mothering

Society in general is in chaos, and parenting in particular is in trouble. Having been a parent for 24 years and having 7 children, I have learned a lot. From my observations, discussions with mothers, and reading, I have come to some startling conclusions that I never realized before. Intense mothering is in vogue, but it is not having the desired effects hoped for.
Has anyone else noticed the rat race of researching and finding the best of everything for your child? From childbirth options to school choices, we parents, and moms in particular, are running us into the ground, trying to make sure our children have the finest of every.single.thing. And it becomes a sort of competition among moms. (AKA Mommy wars) Wanting a top notched sterile environment for little junior, moms hover over their little ones like a mosquito lusting for summer skin. Fear fills the hearts of many and moms can be seen following their angel around holding hand sanitizer making sure the helmet is secured on tightly. We have become so hands on that we are squeezing the life out of our children.
This intense parenting takes on many other forms as well. Parents try to protect their children from teasing, physical pain, not being good at sports (losing), academic failure, and more. Many homes have also become very child centered whereas in years gone by it was not this way. The children’s schedule and activities dictate the family. Moms are busy shuttling kids from so many activities that she barely has time for a life herself. Her children are her life. She sets up play dates, hosts immaculate birthday parties, volunteers for everything at her child’s school, researches and implements the most pinterest worthy crafts and activities she can find, all the while hoping to win the mother of the year award .
How did we as a society get to this point? I think a lot of it stems from guilt and perceived societal expectations. Moms, whether we like it or not, bear the weight of how our children turn out. If things don’t fare well with our children, the blame lands squarely on our shoulders. Guilt in many forms (from being a working mother or whatever) also drives many mothers to be the best or to make up for some lack they feel.
This guilt and fear is steering our parenting choices and creating some disastrous effects for both mothers and children.   Today, more than ever, we see many clingy, selfish, demanding, narcissistic, entitled, weak, fearful, and irresponsible children. In moms, we see exhaustion, guilt, fear, pride, depression, and anxiety.
How do we turn this around? How can we become more merciful to ourselves and others? Knowledge of course is the beginning. I think many moms (and not just homeschooling moms) are hitting bottom, trying to keep up with some of these unrealistic expectations. It is time we start talking about these out of reach standards, and stop finding our worth in how our children turn out. At the end of the day, ask yourself if your children were fed, clothed, laughed, and played (and not necessarily with you.) If so, call it good. Drop the impractical list of needing to have the best of everything and know you are still a good mother.

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