Loving Attention vs. Negative Attention
Motherhood is an abundant life.
Too busy, too full, too much.
Too much fun, laughter, beauty.
Too much work, mess, drama.
I love this description of a mother's night:
"Night as we used to know it no longer comes to our home. There is a lull in activity, but even in sleep there is a conciousness of caring, a wakefulness that tests the murmur of the house through the darkened hours, the hum of the refrigerator, a last dryer full of clothes, water flushing,
a cough, children padding on pajamaed feet
through the always lighted halls, requests
for drinks, solace from bad dreams or a
short diagnosis of unidentified aches.
Sometimes I open my eyes to an eerie sense
of presence and see a face an inch from
mine, staring. Child standing, me lying,
eye to eye. "I can't sleep." And then the
blissful snuggle in. Or there will be a gentle
rising to the surface of sleep, a sudden
awareness of silence, a listening...listening
...listening... and settling back to sleep in
the wonder and reassurance of our
Loving attention while waking, sleeping
and in between.....
Our life is so full of meaningful challenges,
staggering amounts of work, loving, enriching relationships. We get to choose what our life is spent on. We have chosen family life and children.
Caring for a fragile newborn is a matter of life and death. The level of care necessary is constant and high. The time and closeness of feeding and cleaning a baby - this is enforced quality time. This constant care builds the love between the two of you. If you can prop baby up with a bottle while you get things done - don't. A bottle fed baby deserves the same holding and gazing as a breast fed baby. If you can quickly bath baby and put him in bed - don't. Have a daily bath with your baby as you soak, play and splash - lots of skin contact. Much more enjoyable and relaxing than one of those day spa numbers.
As you wipe clean a dirty face, always followed by a kiss on her damp rosy cheek, or brush pretty hair, let your love show in your eyes and actions. No, you don't have lots of time in an abundant life so turn the care you must give into a choice moment. This is loving attention. Children well cared for and well loved.
There are plenty of times when you are not "a joyful mother of children", but cross, tired, frustrated, impatient. You choose these times too. Many come with the package deal, but many can be changed. Negative attention - nagging, yelling, fussing - don't give it. It doesn't work. Tension rises. The child doesn't smile sweetly and do what you've asked. Never. They ignore or cry or argue or are sullen. It doesn't work. Don't do it. It makes you feel angry and doesn't solve the problem. What does solve it? Loving attention, training and discipline. Remember action not words? (fromTeaching Children Obedience Part 2) There will be times when you have to be strict and firm. Don't let your overall frustration at the size of the job become a habit that keeps you short-tempered, rushed, a mother without a gentle touch. This is very easy to do when you are over-whelmed. Take a deep breath, step back, look at the big picture, plan and manage small improvements. Overlook and temporarily ignore those other things you will get to later.
Loving attention fixes most problems.
I love that piece of advice I was given years ago. It works even with serious behaviour problems, with a difficult child, with a difficult behaviour and with small everyday hassles. Your loving attention calms the child and makes him more ABLE to do what he needs to do. He has your support and encouragement in overcoming the problem. (Contrast this with - your negative attention upsets the child and makes him less able. He now has another problem on top of the first. An example could be bed wetting. Not only does he still wet the bed, he now is stressed over your displeasure.)
Think up ways to show loving attention - as if each child was an only child.
Crowd out any resentment by dwelling on the priviledge it is to be the mother of your child.
Enjoy rather than endure.
Every time you think of a complaint, counter it with something you love.
Spend 3am wakefulness on a long, long list of what you are grateful for.
"I have chosen this life; it does not master me, I master it. I am not its victim, I am its recipient." Jaroldeen Edwards
"Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace." Proverbs