Monday, September 9, 2013

How many of you moms feel like your role as a parent is undefined?  And you are doing way more than your share?
Ok ladies.  If you felt the urge to raise your hand, you’re pretty normal.  But here’s a question… why be normal if normal gives us migraines, aches, pains, depression and frown lines? 
My name is Shelby Smith, I am a Supermom of five beautiful children, ages 17, 16, 14, 11 and 8.  I am a homeschool mommy, a cyclist, a runner, a mentor, a public speaker, an actress, and an acting teacher. I am a lover of; fun, chocolate, going out to eat and uplifting, inspiring and humor filled movies! 

So, as much as I would like to say I have it all figured out, I won’t. Cuz I so don’t. However, I have been very fortunate enough to be blessed with a faith in a higher power who opened up some doors for me when I asked.  As you see, I have several teenagers…all teenagers AT THE SAME TIME!  Ahhh!  I wanted to get it down just right with the first one so I could sail through the others’ teen years brilliantly.  I forgot to read the part in the mommy manual that reminds us that they all come different
I was actually experiencing this big difference one afternoon, wondering why the relationship with one of my boys wasn’t where I wanted it to be.  We seemed to go head to head a lot (probably because he and I are so alike!  That darn Law of the Mirror, a topic that I will cover in a future article).  I was especially distraught one day, feeling like I was trying very hard, yet only experiencing more non-desirable results.  I was alone in my hubby’s truck, crying.  I pulled over and poured my heart out.  I want to be a vigilant parent, but I also want to allow for some freedom of choice and agency along the way.  I didn’t want to come on too strong, but I want to command respect (totally different than demanding by the way).  I want to be a friend they can confide in, but I also know it is important to maintain a parental role.  WHAT IS MY PART?  That was my question.  As I sat in the cab on the side of the road, blubbering and sniffling, a picture popped in my head.  It was a simple triangle, a relationship triangle, separated into three parts.
 The top portion represented my higher power, the lower left represented me, and the right section represented a person I am in a relationship with, in this case my son.  You mean to tell me that we all have our own part in the whole scheme of things?  As I pondered on this concept, I realized that quite possibly my part was leaking into the other parts…was I trying to do my God’s part? 

Was I stepping on his toes?  And was I making decisions for my son that should be made by him?  So if I was exceeding my portion, then it would make sense why I felt Overwhelmed, heavy, OVER burdened, taxed…and even quite possibly experiencing sore shoulders and back from bearing more than what I was meant to bear!  This concept was huge to me.  If I could get an idea, even a small glimpse, as to what my part was with this special spirit, it could give me direction and focus.  It would help me give him the space he needs, and the boundaries to keep him safe.  And our relationship would improve!
 In the film world, and as an actress, I am given a certain part to play.  I never would even begin to start taking on someone else’s part.  I wouldn’t memorize their lines, or try to play their role.  And no matter if my fellow actors choose to play at 100% or 50%, I have committed to do my best and do my part.  This seemed to open up my understanding by leaps and bounds.  So, what does my part look like in this case between my teens and I?  Almost as fast as I asked this out loud, a list began to emerge from my thoughts.   I grabbed the nearest writing utensil and my latest, unpaid bill envelope and wrote as fast as it all came:

Lead by example.  Those kids are smart!  And they watch us.  Being a good example is key.  And when we mess up, being a good example of being accountable for our actions and admitting when we are wrong will make an impression!

Teach truth.  Find foundational beliefs that suit your family, and teach them often.

Establish rules and guidelines.  Our kids will fight them, but subconsciously, they appreciate the feelings of safety that wisely set up rules provide.

Discipline prayerfully and with love.  No guilting, shaming, blaming, belittling or lecturing.  (This one was a big one for me.) 

Love them unconditionally.  Make sure they know how much they truly are loved.  This includes praying for them, listening to them, and providing quality time with them, even if that means listening without including that piece of parental advice you feel they so desperately need to hear at that very moment.

Have FUN!  Find opportunities to make each other laugh, create fond memories.  Reflect on those times often.  It will remind them that you are not the meanest parent in the world!  (See our pic of tying sheets to our wrists and ankles in the middle of a HUGE country wind storm!)


Now, these are MY guidelines.  They work well for me, my kids and my family.  These may fit well for yours, use them! Or you may want to meditate and customize them for you and yours.  That’s what is so great!  We all have our parts to play, and the answers can always be found within us, or within someone close to us.  Asking is the key!   Now, stop beating yourself up.  Those bruises are unbecoming of the SUPERMOM that you are and are meant to be!!
“What e’er thou art, act well thy part!”

 By: Shelby Smith SuperMom of 5.

2 comments:

  1. I love this article so much! There is so much I could say, but, "Amen," basically sums it up! I especially love the discipline prayerfully. I have a few experiences with that. Each time the results are perfect and filled with love. Anger or frustration (which is my go-to reaction) often robs my kids of the chance to really learn from their own mistakes. At least that has been my experience.

    Thank you for sharing your list of guidelines. They are surely inspired!

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