“Keep it down or I’m going to bust all of your rear ends!”
I heard her shout out the door, to the kids, as I got dinner ready. I barely looked up.
She wasn’t yelling at just her kids but mine as well, and I didn’t correct her or tell her that I would handle my own children. I let her discipline my kids. I knew she wouldn’t really “bust their rears”—it was just a little Southern charm—and was simply driving the point home to all the children that they needed to get their acts under control. We gather as a Life Group every Saturday night and as one of the women that is in my home weekly, I trust her judgement with my children. As the children came in for dinner she instructed them to wash their hands and wait their turn. She gathered the little people while I dished out the food. I gave my kids the mom eye, letting them know that they are to listen to the woman who stands in the gap I leave open.
I let her mother my children.
My sister-in-law is all over my oldest daughter. They text each other often, tell secrets, and create inside jokes. Occasionally my sister-in-law will dish out her wisdom and advice—possibly a well-intentioned threat here or there—but I never ask. She has fun with my daughter but will also lay down the law when needed. I let them have that relationship and allow my sister-in-law to stand in the gap I leave open.
I let her mother my child.
I listen as my daughter goes over her stepmom’s rules and the consequences when they aren’t followed. I know my daughter’s stepmother sets boundaries and expectations for our daughter, and for that I am grateful. I smile and nod and remind my daughter to obey and respect the woman who stands in the gap I leave open.
I let her mother my child.
I’ve seen the women at church sternly but lovingly kneel to my son’s level and correct his actions. I’ve seen the same women pull my daughters aside and remind them how to behave and treat others. I do my best to not let them catch me watching. I step out of their way as they stand in the gap I leave open.
I let them mother my children.
I have a tribe. I have an amazing tribe of women whom I confidently allow to discipline, love, keep secrets with, and mother my children. I praise each of them for having the courage to mother another woman’s children the way they do mine. I count my blessings that I have women in my life who will stand in the gap I leave open.
It’s important that my children experience motherly love from more than just me. These women have so much to offer my children, and they take up my slack in areas in which I don’t excel. I leave gaps wide open for them, sometimes unintentionally. I leave gaps in areas I’m simply not capable of filling. These women stand in those gaps. They have qualities that I don’t, qualities my children need to see. They love differently, discipline differently, and pour wisdom and love on to my children differently than I do.
My children need to know that there is more than one way to be a mom, and because none of us is perfect, they can learn from a variety of different mothers. They can learn that although we may mother differently, it is with the best intentions.
I’m not patient, but some of the women in my tribe exhibit a level of patience I want my children to see and learn from. I want them to mother my children with their patience and kindness and for my children to absorb those qualities.
I’m more of a playful mom than a teaching mom. I can goof around with my kids all day long, but I need others to stand in the gap I leave open when it come to instructions and structured learning.
My children are pretty open and honest with me, but I’m not a fool. I know they harbor secrets and have things they need to tell another adult as a buffer before they tell me. The women in my tribe take that place. They are secret-keepers, mom-buffers, and life guides. It gives me great comfort to know that my children have adults aside from me and my husband whom they trust and from whom they can learn. I know the women who mother alongside me will keep the secrets that can be kept but confide in me those that need to be told.
I let other women mother my children because we aren’t built to do it alone.
We don’t possess every quality that a child needs to learn. We can’t do it all and be it all. We need gap-standers. We need secret-keepers. We need teachers and listeners. Our children need to see how other moms mother and learn from them as well as us. Our children need to be disciplined by other moms so they can learn to respect and obey others in addition to their parents.
I let other women mother my children because I need help.
I need a Mom Team. I need to tap out some days. I need to not be the only mom who tells them “no” or instructs them to change their behavior. I need to watch another mom gently kiss my child’s cheek and remind my child that he/she is loved by more mommies than just me.
I let other women mother my children because I need grace and my children need abundant love.
We need to take the time to build relationships. Its lonely being the outsider trying to fit in with people who have already made their group. Im sure being excluded isnt intentional. I bet i have done the same thing. Im envious of your tribe 🙂 i miss the one I left. I hope i am becoming a part of a new one.
Breanna, I consider you part of my tribe. You’ve cared for my kids and taught them. I’m sure you’ve had to “redirect” more than one of them. I also consider you part of my tribe when you sit at my table and share your story with women who need to hear it. Your story inspired me to write about my tribe.
This is beautiful. The only thing I would add would be that I let other people parent my children, not just women. 🙂
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