North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

May 15, 2013

Danielle Cater: Moms handle many responsibilities

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — Mother’s Day has come and gone, but it is still fresh on my mind. As a mom, life takes on a whole new perspective. Many women who don’t have children, dream of the day they will become mothers, not realizing what a difference it will make in their lives.

Before I was a mom, I could go and do as I pleased. There was no one to answer to and no one had to answer to me. Basically, I was free from all major responsibilities and that suited me just fine. But when my first bundle of joy arrived, responsibility slapped me in the face, hard. When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, she usually runs through the whole life span of her unborn child in her mind at that moment. When that test showed positive the first time, I immediately pictured myself holding a newborn, then sending her off to her first day of school, then taking pictures at the high school graduation, her wedding, grandkids... the list goes on and on. But that all took place in a matter of seconds in my mind. Then the cold, hard reality started to sink in. I would lose sleep over this baby. I would cry over this baby. I would laugh over this baby.

And I would experience true, unconditional love through this child.

Ah yes, being a mom means wearing every hat in the book, but the rewards are well worth it.

Parenting is hard. It’s hard on the parent and it’s hard on the kids. Just last week we had planned the first “spend the night” party for Raygan, my 6-year-old. We were going to leave work early, have a fun day, stay up late and get up to make breakfast all together. There was going to be games and movies and popcorn and laughing and playing... the works. But two days in a row Raygan got notes sent home from school that she had been beating up on the kids in the class and talking back to her teacher; along with laughing about it when getting in trouble. (For the life of me, I don’t know where she gets this nonsense from!) After scolding her for acting just like her momma, we had to make the hard decision to cancel the party because she obviously didn’t take it serious enough the first night she was punished.

Now here is the sad part: I belive cancelling the party was harder on me than it was on her. I was really looking forward to experiencing that with her and spending that quality time with the girls. So, yes, I do understand what it means when a parent says, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” Not physically, but mentally and emotionally, disciplining our children can be heart wrenching. It’s necessary, but painful. That’s why I’m so thankful to have parents who weren’t afraid to take the pain of good parenting and enforce that with me and my siblings.

People often thought that my parents were too strict and hard on us growing up, but if you asked my parents, I’m sure they would say that they weren’t hard enough on us.

Parenting is a trial and error process that I don’t think we ever stop progressing in. Even now, my parents are finding themselves still leading me through life. When I have issues that I can’t talk to anyone else about, I know that I can still run to momma. And the Lord knows that when I need a good shove in the right direction, should my feet leave the straight and narrow path, my dad “Diddy” is always there to slap some sense into me until I have seen the light. You see, parenting is about pointing your children in the right direction, walking beside them through each obstacle and being there to rejoice with them when things are going good in their lives.

The biggest influence in most people’s lives is the presence of their mother. A mother’s love is the first true love we experience and it has to reach beyond attitudes and actions to the very heart of your child. If you are a mom, don’t short change your children on the love they desire and so desperately need. If you have a mom, make sure she knows what a great impact she has had on your life. Moms aren’t perfect, but most moms do try very hard to be everything they need to be to their children.

It’s not easy being the chef, nurse, doctor, plumber, custodian, disciplinarian, party planner, dentist, beautician and teacher, but mom tries her best, so keep giving her credit throughout the year, not just on Mother’s Day.