Here’s something many people just don’t understand; the most valuable thing that you will ever do is parent your children.
Because it’s not just your children who are affected, or your own family life. It’s about something much bigger than that. And in order to understand that you have to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Think about ripples. When you chuck a stone in water the stone doesn’t only affect the place where it hits the surface, its impact sends ripples out through the whole pool. Right to the edges even, right to places it was nowhere near and never touched.
Your parenting is like that. Because your children are affected by your parenting more than they are affected by anything else in their lives. And that parenting, and the way your children are, will be sending ripples out through society just like the pool.
Your children affect the children they meet, the children at school, the communities they join, the work they do as they grow, the families of their own that they may one day create. And it will not only be their own little communities they affect, for as those communities interact they affect others beyond their own ripples in their own pool and affect societies to come. And your children do not only affect this planet as it is now, their actions affect the future of the planet too.
These small babies of yours, these toddlers, tweenagers and teens, and the way in which you are bringing them up actually affects everybody. That’s how the bigger picture looks. And that’s why the most valuable thing that you ever do is to parent your children.
That’s why parenting is so, SO important.
It’s also why it is so important that we value it. That we value it enough to give it our time, thought and attention, we value it enough to prioritise our parenting duties over and above other things for a while, value it enough to make sure we do it well.
Of course, the next big question is; how do we do it well?
To do anything well, whatever it is, requires; focus, energy, being engaged, commitment, putting ourselves out, thought.
It also involves; research, consideration, decision making, sacrifice of other things we were formerly engaged in, changes.
Changes to; ourselves, the way we behave, the way we think, our way of living.
The biggest requirement is respect:
Respecting our parenting enough to devote energy and commitment to it, be responsible about it.
Respecting ourselves enough to do this new job to the best of our abilities, smarten up our act a bit, think through our morals, practices, behaviours, habits and language.
Respecting our children enough to value time spent with them, listening to them, being involved with their doings, guiding, educating them (and that happens as much through our interaction with them as anything else), cherishing them and nurturing them. Caring.
Now this may all sound too much of a demand on our time and energy and too much for us to aspire to or achieve. But it isn’t. For it is so, so simple.
It is simply achievable by just being a good, caring person. A good caring person who is there.
Being a good caring person you will pass that goodness and care onto your child. They will understand what goodness and care is all about. Then they will in turn send ripples of goodness and care out into the world, helping make it a good place to be. And that’s simply because of your parenting.
That’s the effect your parenting has. It has an effect far beyond you and your children. It has an effect throughout the world. That’s why it’s so important.
It is the most valuable thing that you could ever do.
And here’s a letter just for mums;
I so want to write you a letter.
This is because, having been through it, I know that when you become a mum there is so much to think about, do and cope with, some of the most important things get neglected. I know – I’ve done it!
So I thought maybe some of my hindsight might give you a helping hand. The sorts of things that I’m talking about are not to do with that gorgeous child – instead I want to talk about you!
For a start; are you looking after yourself, or are you devoting all your time and energy to looking after your child? When you first have a baby this is how it is for a while. But you need to get back to considering your needs as well as those of your child’s. Looking after your needs is important both for you and for your child; it makes you a mum better able to cope which makes you a happier parent and that’s got to be good for you both!
The next thing to fully appreciate is your worth. You have enormous worth as a mum. Just imagine who you’re raising; you could be raising the next Prime Minister or the next David Beckham or Angelina Jolie who as well as being a celebrity is more importantly an ambassador for charity. Whoever, the point is that what you do as a mum is creating another member of the human race who will be contributing something – doesn’t matter how great or small – they will be contributing. And to make their contribution a good one depends on the time and attention you put in as a parent. That is your worth and the worth of the work you do as a mum, (there’s a whole chapter devoted to this in my book I’m so passionate about it).
This means that every little moment you spend with your child, however quiet or invisible, will eventually affect everybody. Because your child is never isolate. They come into contact with thousands of others over a lifetime and via that contact can spread love and goodness all around. You’re contributing to society this way. How amazing is that? That’s what you do!
So, to do this job really well, it is essential that you are really well. That you are rested, relaxed, nurtured so you have the energy, drive and inspiration you need to raise your child well.
And before you worry, you don’t need a degree or a diploma or anything expensive or complicated to raise your child well. You just need to be a conscientious, caring and respectful human being and you’re probably that already or you wouldn’t be reading this. Everyone is different. Everyone parents differently. But this is okay because each child is different too, so listen to your intuition and be the mum you want to be. And respect yourself for what you do.
You have the right to be as respected as anyone else doing any form of work, paid or otherwise. For yours is also vital work. Respect yourself for doing it thereby heightening respect for all mums – you all work so hard. You are an amazing, champion workforce whose staying power in the face of challenge is unparalleled and whose work is of the utmost importance.
These are some of the important things I wanted to tell you. They are also the themes expanded in my book MUMHOOD along with lots of tips and support – and a little bit to help with the children too. So if you ever have the time, do take a look.
There’s also a lot more about motherhood and parenting throughout my blog posts. If you type ‘mumhood’ or ‘parenting’ in the search box you’ll find some.
But just for now, look after yourself. Focus on enjoying your mumhood and enjoying your child. These are treasured moments to be indulged in while you can.
Love and best wishes!