Like most mothers, I want what’s best for my children, but conveying that is difficult sometimes especially when there are other factors involved and a pull from other directions. This means knowing when to be soft and when to be strong through the different situations that arise as a parent.
Life has taken me through many twists and turns. When I was young all I could think about was being grown up, but what I didn’t realize then was adulthood is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I remember wanting to be a mother and having lots of children. Yes, you read that correctly. You see, I grew up babysitting and being around some amazing children. I was a Sunday School teacher, Nursery worker, Youth Group leader, camp counselor and I eventually “graduated” to become a teacher at the camp I attended as a kid and worked at as a teen. Those experiences helped me know I wanted to be a mother from a young age. The thing is, the parents around me never prepared me for what being a mother all entailed, after all I could leave the children that were in my charge in every situation I worked. Nothing can prepare you for being a full-time parent. While it is the hardest job I have ever tackled, it is the most rewarding job I have ever had. Especially when the fruit of our labor starts to show itself….years and years down the road. Try like 12-15 years. That’s a long time to wait after pouring your heart and soul into another person. Or multiple people. I know I spent countless hours in prayer and agony worrying about how my girls were going to turn out. I still worry, part of being a parent, I guess.
When to be Soft
As a mother, there are times when I am a big softie. I love buying my children things and seeing them delight in those things. I don’t usually go overboard, but when I have eight children to buy for a simple trip to the store can pretty expensive if I cave and get them each something they ask for. That’s why we have established a rule they are not to ask for things when we go into a store. There are exceptions of course, especially if it’s something we have been talking about getting and just never have.
I tend to be a softie when it comes to allowing my children to explore and create too. This translates into our basement being a complete
mess, er, I mean a masterpiece of “creating”. Part of my philosophy of homeschooling is to give our children freedom to find out who they are and what they enjoy so they can discover their life’s work in the process. I don’t want to force my children into a square peg if they are a circle. An example of this is our older daughter, who has been given ample opportunity to write. Her goal is to become a published author. The world needs good authors and I believe she can and will become one in God’s timing.
Yet there are other times when as a parent I need to act strong and establish authority and discipline in our children’s lives.
When to be Strong
I think being the authority and disciplining is what I find most difficult about parenting. As I said, I am a huge softie, that also translates into being pretty sensitive. Yet, as a mother I want to do what is right for my children so that overrides my soft heart when it comes to making sure our children are being steered in the direction of being responsible, God-fearing citizens. For example, if Junior is screeching for his way that means I don’t give in to his demands because that would go against our goals for him as a person. It is much harder to remain strong than it is to give into him. My older daughters would say that we have grown soft over the years and while that may be true, our desire is still the same, we just may be adjusting how we reach the ultimate goal. After all the girls were our so-called guinea pigs, unfortunately.
I need to be strong when my children oppose my authority or else I am going to raise spoiled brats and they will never learn how to listen to anyone in their lives. Whether or not they work for themselves or for someone else they have to learn to take direction from people in authority. After all, don’t I obey speed limits out of fear of a speeding ticket from the police, an authority in my life? Children need boundaries and I need to be strong when establishing and enforcing them.
Soft or Strong Charmin Vote
Charmin knows about the soft and strong dilemma and invites you to cast your votes for your favorite Charmin: Ultra Soft or Ultra Strong on their Facebook page.
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We all have areas in our lives where we need to be soft and to be strong. The key is to determine those times in advance and stick to it through the hills and the valleys, especially as a parent.
“I am being compensated for this blog post as part of the SocialMoms and Charmin blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. For more blog posts on this topic, click here.”