Being a mom is one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world. But it is also one of the most challenging. Raising a child from infancy to adulthood requires a range of qualities that include strength, courage, wisdom, and patience, among others. While each parent responds differently to the fears and temptations their children face, there are many that are fairly universal in drawing a mother’s concern and protective inclinations.
When toddlers cry out at night, awakened by bad dreams or night terrors that seem so real, mothers rush to comfort their little ones with hugs, kisses, and explanations. Everyone has occasional bad dreams, but the fears of young children are especially poignant as we try to put into words a type of reassurance they can understand.
As little ones get old enough to go out into the world when attending school, moms worry about the potential impact of bullies. Some bullying behavior is common on playgrounds and hopefully reprimanded by teachers. But more damaging types of bullying can turn violent with pushing, slapping, grabbing, and even robbing children of their possessions. As kids grow into adolescence and begin using social media, we worry about offensive bullies online who will cause so much hurt and harm that our kids may lose self-confidence or even consider suicide.
With the growing opioid epidemic and the legalization of marijuana in many states, teens have abundant opportunities to explore drug use and underage drinking. Many become addicted to an array of substances, from nicotine to codeine or heroin. By the time some parents find out, their child may be struggling with a full-blown addiction that requires professional assistance. At that point treatment for alcohol detox or for drugs may be needed.
As early as middle school but more common in high school is the temptation to become promiscuous. With ready access to birth control at many schools, along with popular culture glorifying occasions of casual sex without consequences, preteens or teens often get involved without thinking, and some end up with STDs or unwanted pregnancies as well as emotional distress, which can further erode their self-esteem and confidence.
As teenagers matriculate through high school, they will be coached by parents and teachers to think about a future career. For some, this might lead to military service. Others might want to get a local blue-collar job or general work. Many decide to go to college, which will require several more years of postsecondary education.
Helping kids prepare to take the college entrance exams is another task assumed by many parents. There is also the need for financial planning to provide or assist with college funding. Meeting both goals is generally more successful when carried out several years before high school graduation.
When an adult child finds a life-long mate and decides to get married, moms are often actively involved in the planning process as well as the actual wedding day preparations. This is a bittersweet time as mothers watch their children begin a new life after fully launching from the original family nest.
A mother’s heart is deeply touched when grandchildren come into the world. The cycle of love, protection, and guidance begins anew in helping to care for the next generation of descendants. This is another precious stage of life that brings the family relationship full circle.
Mothers play an integral role in a child’s development. Laughter and tears mark the journey and build a treasury of unforgettable memories.