Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am not my kids' buddy

I am in awe of God for giving me this family.
They are so beautiful, my heart is all welled up. These gifts are so good. I cherish them every day we have together.

Big question-- as a mother what's my job? They may find me a trustworthy teacher, confidant, advisor, comforter, encourager, home base, love-giver, patcher of pants, admirer of artwork, storyteller, listener. There is some overlap between a mother and a friend. Friends do some of the things mothers do. Some of this is a future question. Lucky the mother whose grown children consider her their friend. A mother can be a best friend to a pre-schooler, but not in the way that another little kid can. A baby almost looks to his mother as a part of himself. But as a kid grows, do they keep wanting Mom to be their friend? More importantly, do they need Mom to be something their friends are not?
It's dawning on me that I don't make the best buddy. Not to my kids. They have lots of other friends and family who can be buddies. Maybe that's not one of my jobs. Buddies don't tell you what to do, and hey--that is definitely part of my Mama-job. A buddy might think you're the juice no matter what you do, but it's Mama's job to help teach right and wrong, to plot the right course, to offer a timely rebuke. Mama's got to take care of you and teach you to take care of yourself.

I want my kids to love me. I love when they tell me their secrets. (Not that I have any secrets. My lips are sealed. Don't try to wrest anything from me!) I hope that we will grow more and more into real, deep friends someday. But right now, these little pups are just learning how to be. How to read, how to work, how to love. When I let myself try and be best buds, there's too much of my own hope that they will love me forever, running me. It keeps me from making decisions that are the best for them. It keeps me from being the mother I hope to be.
We enjoy each other lots, daily. It's not the enjoying I'm talking about here, or the giving and receiving of love, but when I need them to be pleased with me at every turn.

I think I need to temporarily not care too much what they think of me.
It might actually set them free. Because I'm their Mama. That's not ever going to change. Whether we're buddies today or not.

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