Something has been bothering me since last Thursday night. Nagging at my brain, challenging me to debate it. I conceded, knowing my brain is not keen on letting me sleep if it has something on it.
On one of the rare nights that we only had one child still up at 9pm, my husband and I turned on the TV. Private Practice was on. I have not watched this show in forever, except for the episode where the woman was raped a few weeks back. In the interest of seeing where that story line was, we settled in to watch it, Megan happily tucked in next to me.
This episode saw Addison trying to save her mother’s partner, who was in the advances stages of cancer. Addison fought to find a solution to certain death while her mother slapped her in the face, snapped at any road block she had, and could not bring herself to say “Thank you” when Addison did save the partner.
In one scene, the mother was crying on the hospital bench and Addison’s boyfriend – I can not recall his name but he was haw -w- w t – went out to talk to her. He urged the mother to show appreciation and gratitude for her daughter. When she admitted that she was there because only her daughter could pull off such a miracle, the boyfriend asked why she never told her daughter that.
Her reply was, “I am her mother. That’s not my job.”
Yea it is!
That is what I blurted out, loudly, at the screen. My husband agreed and drifted off to sleep but the comment bothered me.
What do you mean to support and praise your daughter is “not your job?” Then what is a mother’s job? besides the obvious carry a child, birth a child, raise a child, and then help do it again when the child has a child?
Where do children get their self esteem, self worth, and self image if not from their mothers or fathers? It is not something they are born with, like brown hair, blue eyes, and the shape of their lips. These are things that need to be nurtured,developed carefully, and worked on for their entire lives.
Now, I am not talking about babying a child, or even lying to the child. But when my child does something right, I am all about jumping on it and telling her how proud I am of her. I am forever telling them that they can do whatever they want to do and that no one can take away their dreams. That believing in themselves is important and necessary.
I want them to be able to rely on their mental image of themselves when decision get difficult and others try to lead them where they are uncomfortable going. And I want them to reach over others heads and touch those stars they see regardless of who is trying to block their hands.
That, to me, is my most important job.
And when my daughter’s are fake Doctors in a fake hospital, reading lines that someone wrote for them, making sure the camera is angled correctly on their good side, I want to be able to say, “That was my job.” To create that confident, self assured, woman… who knows no matter what she does with her life, mommy will always be proud… and tell her so.