Our motto “every child loved, every mother able” – what does it really mean?
Our moms have the “every child loved” thing sorted. I have not yet come across a mom in our group who is not fiercely committed to her children, who doesn’t love them in all the ways she knows how. So that’s not the problem.
The issues come with the ABLE bit. What does being “able” mean? It means every mother should:
1. Have the emotional resources to love, protect, nurture and enjoy her children. This requires some sort of available, reliable support system – NOBODY does it all alone. Some have no choice but to try, but it’s not ideal and struggling alone cannot continue indefinitely without somebody suffering.
2. Have the emotional / spiritual / physical resources to face the challenges that they face, without giving up. This means being physically, mentally and emotionally healthy herself
3. Have the ability to find help and information when it’s needed, no matter what kind. She will need information and advice when facing new parenting challenges – she must feel able to reach out for that help and know where to find it.
4. Have the financial resources to provide a safe, healthy environment for her children to grow up in, including providing for their physical and educational needs
If any one of those points are out of whack, it affects everything else as well.
Which could, eventually, lead to a breakdown in the “every child loved” part of the chain. The inability to provide financially for their children, for example, can cause so much stress, fear and guilt that the emotional strength and resilience – ability to look for solutions, keep going and look for the light – starts to disintegrate.
Hopelessness and guilt kill resilience, sap motivation and make getting out of bed in the morning seem impossible, never mind finding a way to an improved life. This is a fact, and is something that could happen to any one of us – no matter how much we’re tempted to say “that would never happen to ME. *I’d* be different; I’d find a way”. Fact is – you don’t know how you’d be.
As soon as you realise that, it becomes impossible to judge others.
Young Mom Support can’t fix everybody’s problems. Can’t provide jobs or money out of nothing, can’t fix broken families or broken hearts. Definitely can’t fix people who DON’T WANT to be helped.
What we CAN do is break down the needs of our moms into the points above – help them to see which parts they’re struggling with. When you’re feeling hopeless and lost, the line between real, concrete problems and your feelings about those problems becomes blurred. You begin to feel they’re the same thing – when they’re not.
So, what IS an able mother?
She’s a mother who is committed to the happiness, safety and success of herself and her children. She has the ability to face challenges when they come. She asks for help when she needs it, and knows it doesn’t mean she’s a failure. She bounces back when things go wrong. She finds strength in herself and in the support system around her. She has worries, fears and struggles, but she finds a way through them. She knows she will make mistakes in her parenting, and in her own life, and knows it’s okay and that her mistakes don’t have to define her. She feels good about the job she’s doing as a mom, because she knows she’s doing her best. *HER* best, not anybody else’s best. That said, she also keeps trying to do better. She finds joy in her life even through hard times. She feels strong, capable and brave.