Throughout the lives of the children, a mother’s love is always equal in size, although it certainly changes shape. How does a mother feel about her children at different stages of life?
When reading the article « Adjust your expectations, be a better mother», so many memories of my children in their different stages came to my mind, that I decided to write these words, less about the feelings of a mother for her children, than about the things that being a mother has taught me.
Responsibility and love
Since my children were born, my life changed forever. Nothing can be the same, when you look for the first time at a being so helpless, and at the same time with so much power over you in your arms. Especially when you realize that this being depends absolutely on you. When each of my children was born, they were so young that, as I took them in my arms, I trembled for fear of hurting them. That same fear has followed me through the years because I know I’m not perfect, which has made me prone to making mistakes, and therefore hurting them.
The independence of children
In the last months of my pregnancy I could not lie down as I wanted, because it seemed that they always looked for a way to make me feel uncomfortable to make me understand their displeasure. From that moment it was obvious that they were not part of my body, they simply shared that space as long as it was necessary for their survival. Sooner or later they would leave that warm and carefree place, to be able to face life, with its shortcomings and satisfactions. Then I deduced that both would be independent beings that sometimes would make decisions contrary to my wishes and I promised myself to respect their will, although sometimes it is very difficult for me to do so.
Since I was little I have tried to guide them with words or examples but mainly with all the love I feel for them. Beyond the cognitive development of the child, which is always good to know, our life has gone through many stages, with its beginnings and its ends:
Personal ignorance, and dependence on family members
The first of those stages started from when they were born. Parents go through very hard times listening to our baby cry without being able to understand what is wrong. I have to confess that in my case I did not know anything about all the care that a baby should have, so my problem was twofold. Fortunately, there is no lack of grandma, aunt, a relative who comes to give you advice, which I listened to religiously. But even if it were not so, thanks to maternal intuition, one as a mother will always know enough to take care of a child. Either way, hearing a baby smile or seeing him hold his arms to you is priceless.
The value of love
Then came childhood, which presents situations as complicated as the previous one, although of a different nature. The school with its challenges and tasks. Sometimes it was difficult to divide my time between work and my children. Other times I was a full-time mom, who was with them, even though I couldn’t buy them the best gifts. But in all those moments, the unconditional admiration, faith and love that children show towards their parents is a huge gift from God.
The need to make adaptations, never ceasing to guide
The third stage is adolescence, which sometimes comes vertiginously and violently, while at others it is slow and parsimonious. Then the mother’s love does not diminish, simply that the children seek their own identity and to do so, it is necessary to get away from the parents in some way. Some children seem to have the phrase, “Don’t tell me what to do,” stamped on their eyes; but most express it with each of their letters. However, despite that yearning for independence that adolescents have, it was necessary to continue guiding them because at this stage they were not yet ready to make wise decisions. The difficult thing for me was finding the balance between giving them enough freedom to make their own decisions and, on the other hand, continuing to protect them as when they were children. All parents would like to run towards our children when we see them fall in order to protect them as when they were little, no matter how old they are. It wasn’t easy to watch them make mistakes and shut up so they could learn for themselves. Perhaps the wisest thing one can do as a mother is to simply be there to shake their hand when requested.
The maturity to accept that they have to leave the nest
My children now live the stage of youth. College, friends, or love affairs take up all your time. It has been nice all the way through so far. However, sometimes it hurts when they talk about their dreams of flying away. Every mother knows that this is the way it has to be, although one never wants to look at that moment. However, although it is hard to imagine it, it is also beautiful to think about the promising life that lies ahead, in every way, but especially in the spiritual.
There is not enough space for a mother to say as many things as one would like. I am sure that if you, reader, were in my place, you would only be grateful, as I do, to life and to God for giving us such wonderful children, who always make us feel proud. Summarizing our life on one page is not easy, but most important of all, if it can be abbreviated in one sentence: Every mother will love her children forever, whatever happens.