Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Advocating for your little ones.

It is amzing to me after almost 10 years of being a mom I am still recogninzing new things about my approach to the world of mothering. Each chapter we enter challenges me to evolve in my outlook and question if what had been doing before is still working for what our life looks like now. For me it takes a lot of prayer and a lot of processing sometimes to get us through, and to come up with a new plan.

I remember the first time I really felt like a crazy Mama bear with Elliot he was two weeks old and we were in the middle of an ugly situation in which we really needed to protect our little family. I can remember the moment exactly and although it is not necessarily a good memory it is one the sticks out to me in the development of my motherhood. I can remember feeling a combination of rage, sadness, grief, and anger but the overriding emotion was love. Which many know what it feels like to feel love in combination with sadness and grief but love combined with rage and anger can be a tricky thing. Love combined with rage and anger faced in the direction and goal of protecting you child is not a place I would suggest anyone standing in the way of. It's primal and edgy and dangerous and if not combined with the biblical attribute of self-control downright scary.

I've been there many times in the last 10 years and although it still hurts to watch your kids hurt. And even though you can not always save them from it you can always advocate for them in many ways.

In our most recent schooling situation I felt the need to advocate for my children again. Now let me share with you advocating does not always include fixing the problem at hand. No, rather it can simply mean supporting your child through listening. Or teaching them and giving them social tools to deal with a situation on their own. Sometimes it simply listening with no response at all. All of these options are difficult because as a Mama our first desire is to fix, to heal, to nurse, to love. Sometimes for me it takes me on a quick trip through crazytown usually resulting in an emotional cry it out hyperventilation followed by a quick self talk pump up that I can in fact be mom in all situations, that God has in fact given me the tools to deal. Once we realize we have so many tools to use these emotions and actions in we are in the money, it quickly becomes go time....this is when we are ready to go into battle.

In a recent conversation I was reminded once again how much self-control it takes in advocating. I mean the initial conversation in talking through a problem takes patience, you have to be careful not to jump to conclusions, you have to listen and ask questions...and all this has to happen before you can even start to deal with it. I don't know about you but this is so hard for me. In this conversation, Grace led me down a windy road of an inappropriate situation that happened at school and during those 5 minutes I jumped from wonder to worst case scenario to worry to anger to anxiety to what the heck and all the way back through. And it was amazing amongst listening how much self talk I had to have to make it through. Its a growing experience this mom thing.

In talking with Elliot I realized the advocating was just letting him know that he was heard. I even had to tell him at the end of the conversation that I wasn't even sure exactly how to fix his pain, but if he gave me time and we both prayed about it we would be able to come with a plan. Because sometimes advocating doesn't have to be instantaneous but there is a lot of trust involved and I think that is the main theme. And I couldn't believe how much better I felt as soon as I shared the plan with him. And the look of relief on his face was nothing short of amazing.

You see before I even bore these children. Before I carried them in my womb. In fact long before I even was ready to allow God to use me to create a little family I knew what I wanted for my kids. Reason being because I knew what I wanted for me. When I was five I started praying for a new family. I started praying for safety and comfort and love. And even now I am not sure how I knew to pray...The holy spirit I suppose. I knew that I wanted love and support in all things I wanted adults that knew what I needed so I wouldn't have to worry. And you know what even though this recollection and memory is hard for me to share I can tell you I am ever so thankful for it. And I mean that. Thankfulness comes in recognition that even though not all things happen in Gods will God is in it all. So part of advocating to me is thinking about what I wanted...what I desired and in turn mothering my children in that way. I knew I wanted to give them safety, I wanted to support them in all things, I wanted to encourage them to spread there wings, I wanted them to know that even if they screw up and I can't fix it God can and He will, I wanted them to know that I don't have all the answers but I will die trying to find them. But most of all I want them to know where ever they go in life I will continue to allow God to use me for their good. And this is true avocation. This is true motherhood to me.

Once again I know with all of my heart I don't have this all figured out, it takes a lot of grace on God's part with me. But I am mesmerized by the work of God through my children in my life. This chapter for me, this chapter that will never end is beautiful and good and it challenges me to be better everyday!

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