When I was in elementary school, I had a friend who came from a big family. When we were in sixth grade, I believe there were already eight children in the family—and my friend was the oldest. When I went to her house to stay overnight, three things stood out to me: how her parents made them recite and pray before bed (they were devout Catholics whose children memorized catechisms and the Lord’s Prayer, etc.); how hard her mother worked—from first thing in the morning until she tucked the kids in; and that her mother made homemade bread all the time.
Fast forward several years later, and I had another friend whom I would stay overnight with in junior high. This mother had a home business (beautician in a shop attached to their house), and she, too, was a diligent mother, but that isn’t what stood out the most to me. The thing I remember most about this mother is that she sang all the time. She would be washing someone’s hair in her shop, and I would hear her humming away; however, when she was in the house doing chores, she would sing at the top of her lungs—beautiful, melodious, life-giving songs.
From these early experiences, I formed a picture in my mind of the kind of mother I wanted to be—a spiritual-teaching, hard-working, bread-baking, beautifully-singing mother. I wanted to be part Mrs. Leugers and part Mrs. Kessler.
And I admit it. I started out mothering that way—minus the “beautifully singing” part—however, I did sing all the time around the house, beautiful or not. These images stayed with me forever, and occasionally they would pop in my mind—remember the kind of mom you wanted to be?
I rarely bake bread these days since we only have a couple of kids at home and my writing and teaching are demanding of my time; however, I do remind myself often that when I was but a child, I knew what kind of mom I wanted to be. I go back to those ideals and look at my current situation: how am I measuring up?
Maybe you have mental snapshots of what kind of parent you dreamed of being when you were a little boy or girl. Or maybe your grandiose parenting ideals stemmed from when you held your first baby in your arms—and vowed in your heart to love him, impart God’s truths to him, be patient with him, play with him, teach him right from wrong, and much more. Whatever your “parenting dream” may have been—it’s never too late to go back and be what you wanted to be—to follow your mom or dad heart.
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