Today’s blog entry is adapted from a letter I wrote to a friend who was lamenting that one of her sons always seemed to be struggling. He was around 19 years old when she wrote to me about her concern that she had missed something, that maybe she had neglected to accomplish some maternal duty that would have saved him from the continued challenges he seemed to be facing.
It occurred to me that lots of moms I know seem to wrestle with this same fear that they have somehow failed their child or children. And, of course, the moms who are doing this kind of ‘second guessing’ or, as I like to think of it, self-assessment, are precisely the kinds of mothers who have been so conscientious and involved in their children’s lives that they should not be carrying around these nagging feelings of guilt that they somehow fell short of the mark. Their young adult children are still facing challenges and suffering from the “slings and arrows” that life keeps hurling at them and some moms believe they are somehow to blame. This was – and is – my advice for so many wonderful, engaged mothers.
First of all, stop blaming yourself! We do the best we know how with the information before us! If you look back, yes, you see how you could have done things differently. But we don’t get that luxury at the time we are making decisions, as you know! So don’t be fooled by the “I should have known better” syndrome that moms are so great at!
As for what you are supposed to do now:
Remember, it’s all about placing your children in God’s hands. He knows best how to take care of them.
Also, just continue to support and encourage your child. Many kids struggle with all kinds of things in school, even college. We always wonder why when they are such sweet kids. But then it came to me one day that God is preparing them for something special. And you don’t get the compassion and strength of character and patience you need to do something great when you live a life without challenges. But the blessing here is God put those kids in your family! YOU get to be their mom and help them to see the blessings and be a blessing, that safe haven your kids comes home to when the world is treating them badly.
You have been – and you will continue to be – their safe haven. Give your ‘little ones’ a big hug and kiss cheeks and tell them you are proud of the young people they are and that they struggle to be. I always tell my kids I am praying for them. And when they come home from school and tell you it was horrible, you say, “Just imagine how worse it would have been if I hadn’t been praying for you!” I truly believe that.
I try to remember to pray for one child who has no one to pray for him or her. That to me means s/he hasn’t had the complete support of a loving family. If God’s not in the mix, something’s not right. I will stop preaching now. “Go in peace, to love & serve the Lord.” (That’s what we do as moms; we are serving the Lord! No higher calling.)
And don’t forget Mothers Prayers! I am still a fan and still brief it to groups of moms every time we move. There are tons of groups across the world. You can read more about it HERE.
“Parenting the Young Adult” contributed by Lynda MacFarland.