I believe in the indisputable role of motherhood to change the next generation.
Hillary Clinton espouses, along with many others, that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I don’t fully agree. Personally, I don’t want everyone in the village helping me raise my child. They don’t hold to the same belief system that I do.
No thanks. Not interested.
Develop your family’s standards
When our children were young, my husband and I decided what we wanted our children to know before they left our home. We wrote out a simple set of standards for our family. These were skills, beliefs, and attitudes we deemed most crucial for our children. Some of those standards didn’t agree with the village. And we were fine with that.
Once these standards, or family distinctions, were set in place, it helped us make decisions more quickly about
- what was important or not
- what our children would participate in
- how we spent our resources
- what advice we accepted or rejected
In short, those standards bonded us to a like cause. I was the mom and knew my children better than anyone besides my husband. When the pushback came from our children or others, we already knew how to respond. We had pre-decided what was important. We didn’t need to poll our friends or read the latest parenting resources. We knew where to focus our parenting.
Define your chosen village
Yes, there were others who spoke into our children’s lives. There were a select few people we turned to when we needed help navigating a certain season or struggle in our child’s life. These were our village.
However, the main responsibility to make sure our children grew up understanding what was important in our family rested squarely on our shoulders. We knew we had to be intentional parents because we were shaping the next generation.
Dismiss your perfectionism
Did we do this perfectly? No way.
Did we make mistakes? Hundreds and hundreds.
Are there things we would do differently in hindsight? Yes.
Did our children leave our house knowing what was important to us? Yes for the most part.
Did we give it all we had? Absolutely.
One thing I knew and decided early on was that my children were my priority after my husband. Nothing was more important. Not my job. Not my friends. Not my hobbies. Not my parents. Not my extended family. For a few short years, my children needed me present with them.
My children needed to know their mom was available to them, loved them, and supported them. They needed to know I would listen when they were ready to talk. They needed to know that I loved them enough to be their parent and discipline them. They needed to know I would tell them the truth always. Did I do this perfectly? No. But I did it to the best of my abilities and apologized when I screwed up.
Declare your priority
My children also needed to know that their dad came before them. I was his wife first, their mom second. They needed to understand and see played out that dad and mom were a team they couldn’t break apart. A funny thing happened when I did this: my children felt secure. I didn’t know that would happen, but it did.
Now that my children are rearing their own families, I get to observe their family culture and standards. And, in a small way, I get to be part of the village my children choose to rear their children.
How are you intentionally shaping the next generation? Leave a comment below.
No one can replace you because you are the mom. You and your husband know your children better than anyone else. Yes, you will need help from time to time. Choose your village wisely. It will impact how you shape the next generation.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.