Friends and wisdom show up in some of the most unexpected places. I’ve recently discovered a terrific Facebook group, Families on the Move, and this poem appeared there over the weekend from Mojito Mother. (I’m captivated simply by the name and her blog: Mojito Mother — Putting the MOJO Back into a Mother’s Life.)
Raising kids is hard, at least if you want to do it well. Teaching them, mentoring them, knowing when to dial it up then dial it down. It’s a balancing act, and all of us struggle to figure out how to do it right. I remember almost 15 years ago when my god-daughter (who was around 15 at the time) observed “I think Mom needs to set more boundaries for me. I need them.” It was one of those notes-to-self moments.
Now, all these years later, you’d think I’d know something after wearing the MOM badge for over twenty years, but three kids and a step-daughter, and I’m still learning. This piece from a child’s perspective hit at just the right time for me — funny how fate works it out that way sometimes — and I thought it should be shared.
Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have asked for it.
I”m testing you. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it…. it makes me feel more secure.
Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk to me in private.
Don’t make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
Don’t be too upset if I say “I hate you.” It isn’t that I hate you; I only need your attention.
Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn that way.
Don’t take too much notice of small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I want.
Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when they are broken.
Don’t forget that I cannot explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I am not always accurate.
Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.
Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose my faith in you.
Don’t put me off when I ask you questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to understand.
Don’t ever think it beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm to you.
Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult for you to keep pace with me but please try.
Don’t forget that I love experimenting. I couldn’t get along without it, so please put up with it.
Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of love. But I don’t need to tell you that…. do I?