Every year is an exciting year for moms as we watch our kids develop, grow up, mature, and go out in the world as adults.
When I look back at the years of motherhood I think the best years are the first three.
The Miracle of watching a new born grow and change is an amazing time. There are so many firsts! The first time your baby looks at you and you know he/she recognizes you. The first smile you get. Watching them get teeth, getting them to like food, the first sitting up, crawling, walking, forming words and knowing what they mean. These are memories you never forget.
Then there’s the toddler age where they recognize shapes and colors, learn numbers and letters, and develop language skills. Nothing is off limits as their curiosity controls them. And this is when you get the early signs of what kind of personality your little one is going to have.
Eventually you let go. Let them be independent. Let them pursue what interests them and who interests them and try your best not to interfere.
I can’t imagine making it through my son’s first three years without the wisdom and books by Dr. T. Barry Brazelton.
Before my son was born I bought his book Touchpoints Birth to Three, Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development. I read early chapters in anticipation of when my child would arrive.
When my son was born I followed the chapters, Month 1, Month 2, etc., to know what to expect and to understand what was happening with my baby. That book was and still is, in my opinion, masterful and the ultimate guide for parents. You simply can’t dispute the expertise of Dr. Brazelton.
He developed the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale.
In 1972 he developed the Child Development Unit, a pediatric training and research center at Children’s Hospital in Boston. From 1987 to 1989 he was president of the Society for Research in Child Development, and 1988-1991 he was President of the National Center for Clinical Infant Programs and was Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School
He established a child-oriented approach to parenting and increased pediatricians’ awareness of the effect of behavior, activity, emotional expressions, and parents’ reactions still used today to evaluate developmental progress.
I can honestly admit I would have been lost and wondering what to do without Dr. Brazelton. My parenting may not always have been the best, but I tried to make it the best.
I was 31 when I chose to become a mom. It was a choice, a decision I made. I was ready for that chapter in my life. My biggest regret is that I went back to work when my son was 3 months old. He had wonderful, nurturing child care in the private home of a woman who lived near my work, but it sure wasn’t the same as if I had been a stay-at-home mom.
When he was older I changed jobs and he was in a really good day care-preschool program near my new job where he got to socialize with other kids. As an only child, I felt that was good for him.
As we raise our children circumstances develop that challenge us as parents, and its hard to live up to our kids’ expectations or even know what they are. It’s hard to live up to our own too.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are 85 million mothers in the U.S. That is out of 167.5 million women in the U.S. or 50.7% of the female population.
Out of 85 million mothers there are a lot of different perspectives on what being a mother is all about.
Only 55% of the mothers have school age children and work full time, as I did. Since Covid-19, 75% of those now can work from home either full or part time. Their perspectives must be different than those of the 20% of mothers who are stay-at-home moms.
There are single mothers who have never been married, and mothers who are divorced so the kids split time between their mom and their dad. And lets not forget the importance of dads.
As kids grow up research is showing that maternal and paternal bonds have equal influence on kids, especially in this age where dads are much more aware and involved with their children.
For me as a kid my dad was always there. He ran his own business and we lived behind the business so I could see him any time of the day I wanted. My mom, on the other hand, had health issues that frequently kept her hospitalized for months at a time. When that happened my grandmother filled in as the mother figure in my life.
So I had three people who played important roles in my early childhood, and I see the influence of each of them to this day. Each contributed to the kind of mother I tried to be.
In May we celebrate mothers; in June we celebrate fathers. These are observance days we are sort of forced into. But parenting is a powerful thing. It creates new generations. What kind of people the adults of the new generations are, or will be, is guided by the roles we set as parents.
There is a worldwide trend now where half of adults are choosing to not be parents. In some countries it’s more than half. I wonder why this is happening and what the impact will be on the future. Perhaps what we really need is a day to celebrate children!
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”Jill Churchill
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