Monday, January 12, 2015

You Are Their Mother

The title of today’s second post may seem odd to you. If you have children, you’re probably thinking, “Of course I’m their mother. What’s up with that?”

In the rush of daily responsibilities and challenges—especially when you are in a relationship with someone whose behavior is a huge problem some days—it’s possible to forget just how important you are to your children.

Biology is not the issue here; in fact, some of you are raising children you didn’t give birth to. Motherhood is about so much more than giving birth or breastfeeding, as powerful and profound as those are. As your children’s mother, you are their protector, their moral compass and teacher, their key source of love and affection and nurturing, their refuge, their source of faith.

You might ask, “Isn’t their father supposed to be these things too?” Yes, although even the best father can’t be exactly what a mother is. But if your partner is struggling with addiction, is deeply selfish, or is abusive to you, he can’t even begin to be what the children need him to be. So your role as a mother grows even bigger.

The bitter irony here is that many destructive men attack a woman’s sense of her value as a mother. Your partner may say that he knows better than you do what the right way is to raise children, . He may even try to convince you that there is something toxic about you that your children are in danger of catching, and use that as an excuse to take away your parenting decisions and rights.

So when you say to yourself, “I am the children’s mother,” you are making a profound statement that is not about being their biological or legal parent. You are stating how absolutely critical your role is in who they are and who they will become, and how inalienable your right is to guide them and love them. Your children are looking to you.

(This post is based on an entry from Lundy's forthcoming book "Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?: Encouragement for Women Involved with Angry and Controlling Men", which will be released by Berkley Books (Penguin) on April 7, 2015.)