Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Growing a Mother Heart

I wasn't specifically going to create a Mother's Day post, but after asking some friends about how to teach our daughters how to have better attitudes toward motherhood (read Heather's example here), I wanted to make a working list of everything I'd learned.  I think it will make for a nice Mother's Day post.  Here goes:

  • Be as positive as we can in our comments regarding marriage and child-raising.  Be realistic in that it is difficult, but don't be negative.
  • Create a happy, caring family that has physical contact.  Don't believe (or in my opinion, just don't even watch) media that sends the message that it's impossible to have a happy family, and that most families are dysfunctional.
  • This may be merely a United States-elitist culture one, but when possible, emphasize the duty of a husband to provide financially for the family (not always possible for this to happen, but we can hope for it and then do the best with what we get).
  • Don't focus so much on body image -- if we teach our girls to strive for perfect bodies, they'll not want to give up their hot little bods for baby weight and stretch marks.  Focus more on health and how amazing the body is (both female & male) and what a miracle pregnancy and birth is. 
  • Provide young women with positive experiences with children.  These days, most teen-aged girls do not have the opportunity to be around young children and develop a close bond with them.  I can invite young women to babysit and have (hopefully) positive experiences with my children that will help them have happy feelings toward children and motherhood.
  • Pay young women  more to babysit (or young men, if that's who watches kids at your house).  I bet many of my bad attitudes came from spending too much time on rotten babysitting assignments, and then not getting paid much for my work.  Of course, not everything is about money, but I wonder, when it takes a young man an hour to mow and trim a lawn, I might pay him $25; when a young woman babysits my children for an hour, I might pay her $6.  What does that say?  Because money is currently an indicator of value, that says I value the work of lawn mowing, more than I value the care of children (which is often more stressful work!).  I'm a cheap-skate, so this is a hard one for me -- well, maybe I should just pay the lawn-mower $6/hour.
  • Befriend young women.  Show interest in their lives.  They will come to know you and see you, as a mother, are still a wonderful, talented, fun, smart woman -- all your individuality didn't get thrown out when the babies came.
  • Give young women opportunities for real housekeeping, to know what it takes to run a household.  Housework is not very difficult, but it takes perseverance, which is the hard part. 
  • Give girls fun and amazing growing experiences in their lives, but make sure they know fun or amazing is not what life is all about. We have responsibilities, too.
  • Teach our daughters to receive personal revelation and be willing to give up the good and better things, for the best (recognize the things Heavenly Father wants for them).*
  • Teach them that marriage is not just about creating a cute family of two, but to grow that family.  Heavenly Father wants the human race to continue! (Teaching the Doctrine on the Family)
  • Teach young women that mothering is not the same for all women.  They can have their own preferences and methods in it.
  • Do household work together as a family and make it fun.
  • Journal about our mothering experiences and pass those onto our daughters.
  • Celebrate Mother's Day with ALL the women/girls in the family.  Whether or not they become physical mothers, they still can grow a mother heart.*
Happy Mother's Day!

If you have more ideas, leave them, so I can add them to my working list! :)

*Ideas from the Misfit Cygnet.

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