Back at Driftsands yesterday. The average age of the moms there is much younger than Masi, because they were specifically targeted and invited by our partner group Driftsands Youth In Action.
Had an interesting discussion about “Positive Parenting” – which to me is just a fancy name for common sense 🙂
In other words, realising that your children learn by watching you, so being a good role model in terms of respect for others (especially respect for your child), kindness, calmness is so important. I emphasised ongoing, positive reinforcement from babyhood for the things they do right – rather than relying solely on punishment when they do wrong.
Most of our moms were not brought up that way themselves – so it’s not an easy shift to make. But they were all so open to it and enjoyed the materials I brought along for them to take home.
Distributed some lovely goodie bags containing baby essentials, magazines, books and toiletries which were donated from the lovely people at the Baby Sense Seminar which happened a little while ago. Felt like Christmas morning!
One of the points in my presentation was about ENJOYING being a mom. You can’t be a good parent if you don’t WANT to be one.
So I asked – “How many of you DON’T like being a mom?” Several hands went up. It didn’t mean AT ALL what I thought it did.
Why don’t you like being a mom?
“All the changing nappies, discipline, cooking, hard work…”
So would you like to give your child away to someone else? Stop being a mom? Have your old life back?
“No! Not at all!”
Hmmm… a conundrum then?
Not actually. Getting to the bottom of it, it turns out that it’s the ADMIN of parenthood that she doesn’t like, not the actual parenting bit.
We discussed that ALL jobs have admin we have to do that we don’t like. Let’s face it, nobody LOVES changing poo nappies or washing them by hand or surviving sleepless nights. But that is not actually the job of PARENTING.
Parenting is about growing good people. By loving and teaching and living and being together.
By making sure that everything you do reflects the person you want your child to be.
Changing nappies is just a small part of that. Like a surgeon who saves lives every day. That’s his REAL job. But he also has to fill in reports, do paperwork, manage his staff… ADMIN. Boring, necessary admin.
We don’t like to do it – but if we remember that our real job is so much bigger than that, then facing that next stinky nappy becomes easier.
Was VERY cool to see that mom in particular start thinking about herself differently.
On the topic of how we think of ourselves…
They spoke out so strongly about they way they are treated and spoken to in their community, for being teen moms.
Yoh, so you were FIFTEEN when you had him!
Oh, so you’re one of THOSE girls then?
You’re a mother now, you can’t wear that / say that / do that
The judgment they face made me angry. It hurt me to see the way their confidence has been knocked down, the way OTHER PEOPLE make them feel worthless and ashamed.
I may have sworn a bit. I told them to look around at their children (seriously, check out the gallery below to see the most delicious kidlets ever) – look at them! Healthy, happy, well-mannered and lovely.
That is an achievement. Growing good people is something to be proud of. They are making an important contribution to the world by sending out decent humans.
In their parenting and in their own lives, they have so much to be proud of. Facing untold crap from other people, getting their own lives back on track, surviving on zero money (NO CHILD SUPPORT GRANTS HERE, PEOPLE) – and carrying on. Surviving, persevering and succeeding. All while everyone around them is telling them they can’t and they never will.
I told them to be proud. To stand up to those people and hold their heads up high. If they KNOW they are good mothers, nobody has the right or the ability to bring them down.
Nobody had EVER told them that before.
That sucks, man.
But that’s why I’m there. I think it’s starting to work.