Categorized | Laurie's Scribbles

The Toughest Lessons Of Motherhood

Laurie and boys

Motherhood is a life-long responsibility, but these days it involves giving advice then looking away said Laurie, who is pictured with her sons Patrick (l) and Paul (r) and Libby the dog. 

By Laurie Stone

As a young mom, I assumed everyone was kidding when they said, “Wait till your kids get older. It only gets harder.” But if I allowed myself to think about it, I panicked. How much harder can this be? With round-the-clock feedings, diaper changing and unending “togetherness,” this job was relentless. But as I came to find, they were right. Some of the toughest lessons of motherhood lay ahead. Here are three I found (and still find) most challenging

Letting Them Make Mistakes

I learned this lesson when teaching my sons how to drive. (Must take a few deep breaths here; still get heart palpitations). At first, I over-directed them. “Watch out for that tree!” “Don’t hit the mailbox!” “Pull out now … no … wait … STOP!”

I finally realized something. The more I browbeat them, the less they grew to trust their own instincts. The more I tried keeping them from making mistakes, the less they depended on their own inner guidance.

It was tough, but I finally learned to stay (mostly) quiet.

These days, the problems are different, but the theory remains. Maybe they insist on speaking a little too “directly” to the boss or money management isn’t quite as buttoned up as it could be.

All I can do is give advice and look away. The rest is up to them.

Letting Go Of Worry

There were times I would’ve happily kept my sons home all the time and never let them out.

motherhood, guilty pleasures, meals, mother, worrying, hopeful, boys, asleep, pedometerInstead, I’d lie there Friday and Saturday nights while my teenage boys — with their new licenses — went out “cruising.” Every siren I heard got my heart racing. (Meanwhile my husband Randy snored peacefully beside me. I’m still so jealous). Now that they’re adults, I’ve heard stories of what went on. My maternal instincts were right. No wonder I was on high alert.

And here I am, 10 years later, still worrying.

Patrick’s a touring musician when he can break away from his day job. He and his mates drive around in this beat-up van that looks like it was assembled in 1947. All I can think of is far away highways and late nights.

Worry is the price of motherhood. And yes, out of sight, out of mind can make things easier.

My younger son Paul has two jobs — both physically demanding in commercial kitchens. Although this situation ends in a few weeks, I still fret. Is he burning himself out? Can he handle the stress of never having a day off?

Worry is the price of motherhood. And yes, out of sight, out of mind can make things easier. But even these days, years later, I hear a siren and note where my children are. Some habits never die.

Letting Them out in This Rough World

We all want the planet to be kind and fair to our children. But alas, as we came to find out ourselves, that’s not always the case.

The commercial kitchens my boy Paul works in are tough and challenging, with high adrenaline and short tempers. Let’s say, niceties aren’t always on the menu. He’ll tell me something cutting a boss said. My mother’s instinct is to give this man a piece of my mind. How dare he talk to my boy this way!

But I can’t.

My older son Patrick is that touring musician. Like all the arts, there’s tons of competition and rejection. Some audiences sit there stone-faced. Sometimes his band goes on at midnight to three people. Most gigs are good, but as a mother, I want everyone to appreciate my son and his music all the time. I want to help.

But I can’t.

When our children are young it’s all about doing — feeding, clothing, teaching and training. When they’re older, it’s more what you don’t do and don’t say. Like a mother lion teaching her cubs to hunt, we can only stand back and watch. And sometimes that’s hardest of all.

My boys are now in worlds I can’t follow, which is right and healthy and good. I can’t protect them anymore, nor should I. They’re fully functioning adults. I’m proud.

Still, I sometimes miss those little tots who needed me so very much. I even miss those brazen, yet vulnerable, teenage boys.

But I’ve also loved the journey of watching my sons become men. Little did I know how many lessons lay ahead, not only for them, but for me too.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, Conn. Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles,” shares thoughts on growing up, older and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 

2 Responses to “The Toughest Lessons Of Motherhood”

  1. Beautiful description/depiction of motherhood. I particularly resonate with “The more I browbeat them, the less they grew to trust their own instincts.” This was a hard lesson to learn because you have to keep re-learning it at different stages of their lives.

  2. Lauren says:

    I worry about my boys all the time and its getting worse as they get older (and me too). You are an inspiration. You made it and got two great sons out of it. Congrats!

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