Its amazing how there are basic "laws of parenting" that everyone follows without really knowing they are following them. Brush your teeth or they will fall out, respect your elders, eat all of your vegetables they are healthy for you! Some silly, some necessary.
But in all cultures, social statuses, races and religions, these things are taught like second nature. But how do we really know that what we are teaching our children is proper? How can we tell if they are taking in the lessons we speak?
There is no one cheering for us on the sidelines, no one constantly reassuring you that your best is good enough.
Parenting is one of the toughest jobs you can ever be given and surely one of the most fulfilling. When I became a mother my entire world changed. I had new goals and new motivation. A fire lit in me that was never there before. I knew that I needed to succeed, if not for myself, then for my children and their futures. As with any other part of our lives we reach road blocks. Sometimes small ones, where you can take a quick break and get back on the road to success. Other times, huge blocks, the kind that make you want to throw in the towel and make you feel there is no way around it. Mother's like myself don't have the option of failure or giving up. We feel the pressure day in and day
out of finding a way!
I work with mothers on a daily basis. They are usually the ones eager to have every milestone captured of their child and I'm always there to capture those moments. Through these interactions, I built connections with many of them. Many, like me, feel the same way about their life changes after having children. But unlike fathers, who get constant verification of a job well done. We mentally struggle with being unsure of our accomplishments. Instead we get critiqued. By family members, "you should do things this way." By friends, sheesh, "control your child, my kids are under control!" By society, "who raised that child!" All of this usually when we think we are doing good! UGH!!!
You shouldn't be praised for doing what is necessary, but sometimes we need that!
I've been told in more recent years, that I was doing an amazing job with my children and the joy that gave me was incomparable. So much that I choose to share it. When I work with mothers that are killing it, dedicated to their children, making ends meet, instilling values into their child and just being a mother. I let them know, YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB! When they don't believe me, I tell them to look at their child, look at the smile on their face and listen to their laughter. You did that. You made that possible. You keep them healthy, clean and happy!
This became the scenario while out shooting a mommy and me session last week with Daynisha and her daughter Damai. I watched their interactions the entire session. For about an hour, I studied how Damai would look at her mother. With trusting eyes, and a heart full of love and joy. Damai was giving her all of the silent affirmations of a job well done. So it was natural when I would say to Damai "give mommy a big hug! Now give her a big kiss!" it was easy and it was emotional. She enjoyed every minute and I enjoyed every minute too! I soaked up the happiness shared between them and couldn't wait to get home to my happiness.
I've embedded in my head that I need to satisfy my own hunger for recognition. When i'm ready to give up on something or don't know if I made the right decision, I look at my 3 healthy, happy, smiling and laughing children and I say to myself, "Girl Please, YOU DID THAT!"
Look for those silent affirmations that you are killing this thing called motherhood, because most of the time, no one will be there to tell you.