I happened to be at the right place at the right time , this past Saturday. The school I was taking lil’ June for an interview , happened to be hosting a “mom talk”. The session started with us moms sharing about the joys of mother hood , the challenges, and things that we wish someone told us about motherhood – and which , we’d rather if they were told to us BEFORE we became moms. Of course sleep deprivation came tops and that it is a 24/7 job (with no manual).
One mom to twins , said she wishes someone had told her that you can actually HAVE TWINS. Hehe.
The speaker was Pastor Simon Mbevi of Mavuno Church and his wife Sophie. Being a girls’ school the talk was skewed more towards the girl child. I picked up more than a couple of things :
What your child needs from you
Every child , girl or boy has a strong need for 3 things:
- To be shown affection (loved).
- To be affirmed.
- To be accepted.
“The reason adults go for counseling is because these needs were not met for them when they were kids. And the counselors’ role now becomes to tell them that they are loved , they are accepted……to affirm them..” , said Pastor Mbevi.
From the age of 0 to 8 a child is attached to his / her mother (or whoever the mother figure is) and it is the mother, more than anyone else who is tasked with fulfilling these needs for the child.
Your young daughter is constantly asking : Am I lovely to be loved? Am I accepted? Am I someone’s centre of the universe? Your son equally craves your affirmation and acceptance.
Being a mom to a child this age, means answering these 3 questions the best way you can.
Dad takes over
From the age of 8 to 18, it is daddy (or whoever the father figure is) who plays the part of fulfilling these 3 needs.
“At this stage, mom kind of takes the backstage in a child’s life. The child is looking to detach from mummy and is looking for daddy’s waiting hand…” , we were told.
It is daddy who calls out the woman in a girl, and the man in a boy.
What makes this tricky is that , “there is no fatherly instinct. Fathers have to DECIDE to be part of their child’s upbringing.”
So what about Single Parents?
If you are a single parent, find someone who can play that role to your kids. One mom expressed her fear about the risk of exposing one’s children to pedophiles. To answer this, the speaker said that , indeed the risk is there , however , it is existent even for children living with mum and dad as studies show , 80 percent of child abuse is done by a parent or close family member.
The good pastor added that they were running a program where they hook up children of single moms with trusted men (who mostly have kids of their own) , so they can spend time with the children – take them for a game , out for lunch…etc.
“There is a lot of father hunger going on. We need men to stand up and say , I will be an elder in this community.” – Pastor Mbevi
What moms wished they knew
- You cannot delegate – As one mom reckoned : “As moms we like to think we can delegate this job to the house help , the driver , the teacher…..” , it doesn’t work.
- You are going to change a lot , emotionally.
- Enjoy every stage of their growth – The breastfeeding, toothless grins , the endless questions ……and the noise. One day , you will have an empty nest.
- Things your mom told you may not necessarily work in today’s world.
- Me time…..? What is me time? – You will be lucky to as much as use the bathroom , without some little fellow waiting outside your door , and lawd forbid , inquiring what the nature of your call is.
- You will be expected to be a mom, a teacher, a referee , daddy (if required)…..and any other roles that may come up.
- You , are ALWAYS on call.
- “When they are young , tell them about God ; When they are older , tell God about them.”