Motherhood is not something you can take lightly. Entering into motherhood shoves two decades' worth of responsibilities into your life. Preparing to handle motherhood is one step toward being a good mom. As a mom, you have a multitude of jobs, from being an at-home teacher to being an emotion coach. But all these jobs have the same ultimate goal: turning your child into an independent, productive adult.
Though technically the main job of a mother is “parenting,” motherhood doesn’t merely exist in the present -- long-term planning is a crucial aspect of being a mother. Parenting, according to the Merriam-Webster definition of the term, is “the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves.” The key here lies in the aspect of helping your child become independent. For this, you must switch to a future-oriented way of thinking, if you are not in the habit of using such thinking already. Thus, part of being a mother is planning for your child’s future, pushing him toward activities that will lead to independence and encouraging him through difficult life transitions.
Play, which might seem like a natural and perhaps easy part of being a mother, is actually more than just a way to kill time with your child: It’s an important responsibility of mothers. The type of play mothers engage in with their children gives children benefits that father-child play doesn’t, according to a study entitled “Parent-Child Physical Play,” by psychologist Kevin MacDonald, et al., appearing in the journal “Sex Roles.” Specifically, the play style of moms is typically educational and cognitively engaging. While the father is throwing his son in the air or playing catch, the mom is in the family room, working on a puzzle or reading a book with her children. This early introduction to the power of the mind can help nurture a child’s academic interests, problem-solving skills and focus.
Much of the stress that comes from being a mother is related to the difficulty in gaining and maintaining control over your children as they grow. But the act of rule-setting is not just a method to make moms’ lives easier; it’s also an integral responsibility of parenting. The act of setting rules, explaining rules and disciplining children when they break rules is part of integrating children into society, where the rules are not so clear-cut and the consequences of breaking rules are severe. By setting behavioral boundaries and disciplining children when they break boundaries, you show your children how certain behaviors are unacceptable, gradually shaping their actions in a pro-social, productive direction.
...And Security Guards
Society often mentions the “maternal instinct” when pointing out a woman’s desire to protect children. Psychologists, such as renowned developmental psychologist John Gottman, author of “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child,” have found this “maternal instinct” to be a real phenomenon. Not only that, but psychology has found this instinct to be reinforced by children. A child’s natural reaction to unknown or frightening situations can be summed up as “I want my mommy.” As a mom, you have the responsibility to make your children feel secure, both physically and emotionally. By giving your children physical support, such as hugging and kissing, you reinforce your physical presence, the feeling that you’re standing by his side. As she ages and life becomes more complex, though, much of your support style will naturally switch to more emotional support, talking your child through problems and encouraging her through hardship.
- Merriam-Webster: Parenting
- Sex Roles: Parent-Child Physical Play
- Father Involvement Research Alliance: The Effects of Father Involvement
- Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child; John Gottman
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