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What is a “Good” Mother?

28 Dec

I was just watching the Housewives of Beverly Hills tonight and was actually moved for the first time by one of the Housewives. Kim, Kyle Richards’ sister, was very emotionally affected by a situation that hit home personally with me. Apparently, Kim has been dating a man for nearly an entire year before introducing him to her family (and the general public). When she finally did introduce him to her sister and children, he did not receive the warmest welcome. Kyle was automatically against Kim deciding that this was the man for her based on Kim’s history of picking the wrong guy. Her children also were giving her problems because she was – according to them – not as available as she usually is for them. Assuming all of this is true (it is TV afterall), what is a girl to do?

The episode captured what seemed to be a truly authentic emotional break-down. It seems to me that Kim did not follow her typical pattern of impulsive dating this time. Even Kyle, the sister that supposedly is very concerned about her well being, commented that this was unusual behavior for Kim to keep this guy hidden from the family for so long. Based on this information, I think it is fair to say that the involvement of her caring family is not necessary. She can maintain a relationship with a man all by herself. She doesn’t need anyone’s permission to date someone. She is not 15 years old. She is a full grown adult and needs to be able to be left alone to make decisions by now.

What if the decision she is making is destructive to herself and her family and those that know her want to protect her from herself. My question is what if she is not making a destructive decision. What if she is really happy with her decision, but the outer influences and responsibilities are clouding that clarity. Who can know? Only Kim herself. Kim (and everybody else for that matter) has learn what she wants. In other words, she has to find herself and can’t rely on others to point out who they think she is.

Should Kim let this man that she claims to love and be happy with go because her sister and her children told her to. Is it ok for her children – after 18 years of being alone – to make her feel bad that she is not putting them first anymore? Is it ok for the rest of her family to insist that the children come first? When is it ok for Kim to come first? If Kim isn’t happy, what good is she for her children anyway? Isn’t that the advice Kyle is giving her as far as dating goes – be happy with yourself before jumping into a relationship? Doesn’t that same advice apply to the most important people in your world – your chldren? Is it possible that we have it backwards nowadays? Maybe spouses or serious romantic relationships should come first and through those relationships we can heal ourselves so that we are better parents? How come this is not considered as a possibility? Why is it assumed that we must be happy by ourselves first before we can share our life with someone else – but that rule does not apply when it comes to our children? We must put them first no matter what only for them to leave the minute that they find their significant other – after our life is half way over and bad habits are severely integrated into our personalities?

By no means am I implying not to put our children first. But shouldn’t deciding what the appropriate definition of putting them “first” is……For example, who can we give our wisdom over to that will listen to us and hopefully soak it up like a sponge – no one but our sacred children!! No one else is eager to listen to us try to teach them. Our children need that from us. They are most likely struggling with some very tough life situations and need to be able to trust their parents to teach them and point them in the right direction. They need guidance and someone they can rely on for good advice and truth. Being there – and putting them first – to pass deep wisdom to is not the same as being at their beck and call to physically clean up after them, chauffer them around, take them shopping, coordinate their schedule and do what they think they want us to do for them. What is the fine line between being there for them when it comes to guidance and parental concern and spoiling them by accomodating their every wish? And – if passing down life lessons is important to do…how do we as parents learn these vital life lessons ourselves if we are busy “putting our children first” and, essentially, living our childrens’ life for them.

Just a thought – maybe we have it backwards. Maybe we need to put ourselves first so that we can learn what we need to learn about ourselves so we can equip ourselves with lessons and good advice that can be used to teach our children how to learn about themselves. Do we want to continue catering to our childrens’ whims while they are out learning how to grow up from their peers? Aren’t we fooling ourselves when we say that this is not what is happening right now in our world?

I recently read a great saying in a Jodi Picoult book that my daughter insisted that I read…….
“A dutiful mother is someone who follows every step her child makes…And a good mother is someone whose child wants to follow her.”

Other posts you might like:

Depression and the Solution

You are Perfect – No Approval Necessary

Gender Balance – Have We Achieved It?

Bachelor Parties – What a Funny Way to Start a Marriage

God Put the Tree There on Purpose

Reality Television – My Guilty Pleasure

Releasing Emotions Makes Us Human

Man & Woman – Friend or Foe?

Why is Life Unfair?

Life is full of controversy so here is a thought to live by:
Why is life unfair?
Because there’s never going to be a system that is fair to everyone.
Shannon Miller
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