My mother is a fabulous cook, and I vividly remember coming home from school on Monday afternoons when I was in primary school to be greeted at the front door by the aroma of delicious apple pies and Mum’s famous chocolate cake that had just been freshly baked. Megan Krimmer
It was comforting, predictable and exciting all at the same time. Comforting because, let’s face it, sugar and carbohydrates are the basis of all comfort food, predictable, because it happened every Monday, and exciting, because we knew that we would sit at the kitchen table with a piece of chocolate cake and a drink, and talk with Mum.
Mum was a great listener, and she always asked about our day at school. I realise now that by listening to us, she was helping to reinforce the learning we had undertaken – her questions were more than just, ‘How was your day dear?’ They were more like – ‘What did you learn, what was really interesting about that? Who did you play with? What happened?’ All were important questions that she would then use to teach us about learning and about life.
When we spoke about our scrapes at school, whether we had been punished for doing the wrong thing, or we had had a falling out with our friends, Mum listened, often counselled, but she never rescued. This too, was so important. Mum was definitely a firm believer in if you did the wrong thing, then you had to face the consequences. She also believed that the worst thing she could do for us was to interfere in our battles.
Indeed, I continue to be impressed by my mother’s commitment to listen and not to become involved in the small battles. It must have been tempting to rescue me on many occasions and, as a parent myself, nothing hurts more than to see my children struggle or suffer in some way. Yet, my mother’s self-restraint was actually protecting me from being “bubble wrapped” and, therefore, breakable when I encountered bigger, more difficult and more complex situations as an adult.
Sometimes, I know that to get through the day being a mum does feel as if it amounts to just telling your children what to do, it is of course, much more than this.
So how, as mothers, do we avoid just telling our children what to do and how do we be the counsellor, nurse, educator and mother to our children in our frenetic and quite time poor worlds?
I would say, capture the priceless moments – like travel time in your car listening and asking questions (aim for one on one time where possible), pausing for a ten minute hot chocolate break when shopping, or even scheduling a few sit-down family meals.
I would also say, work with the teachers at your children’s school. Despite our time poor world, mothers (and fathers) play a very important role in the education of children. This very positive three-way partnership between teachers, parents and our girls is something which we foster at Roseville College.
Being a mother is a great privilege and a great challenge; it is also very fulfilling and fantastic fun. I encourage you to seize the priceless teaching moments with each of your children. These moments may become some of yours and their most treasured memories in the years to come. They certainly have done for my mother and I.
I wish all mothers a Happy Mother’s Day.
*Megan Krimmer is the principal of Roseville College