Mama Monday: Loving the One You’re With (You)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mamas!

by Nattu from (e-cards)

by Nattu from (e-cards)

Whether you’ve always loved Valentine’s Day or feel it’s a faux holiday not worth noticing (my feelings are mixed with a side of hopeless romantic), the fact remains that any excuse to express love to your nearest and dearest is worth running with.

And you don’t have to spend a cent! Laura Egley Taylor’s Mothering blog has been featuring truly lovely Valentines crafts to make with your kiddos, and Scott Noelle (I subscribe to his daily newsletter on parenting) has an easy and inspiring suggestion to pleasantly litter your life with love notes to self.

It’s not easy to grow up in this society with a healthy, unabashed sense of love for oneself intact. Narcissism and arrogance are often mistaken for self-love (the threat of being called same is used as a wedge to keep people disingenously humble), but true self-love does not come from a place of selfishness or pomposity.

My children’s pure love for me has taught me how to see myself in new ways–their love has fostered my own healthy appreciation of myself, with all of my imperfections. That fosters my own ability to give back to them. When children see their parents modeling healthy confidence and self-care, that’s a lifelong gift that informs their relationships and will impact their future parenting someday, too.

How did your parents model self-love or self-disparagement? How did that affect you, as a child? How are you carrying that forward and what would you like to improve/share with other parents? When do you notice contentment with yourself?

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on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 1:00 am and is filed under Mama Monday.
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12 thoughts on “Mama Monday: Loving the One You’re With (You)”

  1. The last paragraph rings true for my family. Seeing myself thru the eyes of my children has been one of the best learning experiences in self-love. Learning how to laugh at myself (and not take myself so seriously), to focus on my strengths and not just my weakness, to be confident, to love every little imperfection are all attributed to my children. And in turn, it helps me teach them better. They are getting a clear picture of how to be a more complete human being.

    My parents were not the healthiest models of self-love – my mother basically became a hermit and my father had a raging addiction and was not in the picture most of my life. But I think their images of what not to do/who not to be were a great lesson as well. I was able to determine what I thought was healthy self-love and have been working towards not following in their footsteps.

  2. Great article. My husband and I are breaking the chain of how we were raised. Love is unconditional which also means you allow the person to be who they are. Having our two boys (19 mo. 5 mo) we also have learned even more about the meaning of love. They see us as incredible beings, that are there for them. They trust us and in turn we learn from them of how to treat ourselves. They are not hard on one another, they do not judge, they accept us when we are at our worst and best. This is love, a beautiful feeling that can grow and grow and grow.

  3. My parents had very different parenting styles in general, so this is a hard thought to ponder. My mom was just a wonderful mother, and it was clear to me (even at a young age) that her self-love and self-worth was being shown through her children. She devoted herself to us, and seemed to truly be happy doing so. My father didn’t have a lot of contact with us, especially while we were very young. He was the disciplinarian, and other than that we didn’t interact with him much. My father was a victim of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of my grandfather, and I understand now why he was the distant type of father to me and my siblings.

    My husband and I are also trying to do things very differently with our son! His family is not close at all, and it’s like pulling teeth to get them all in the same room! They don’t seem to enjoy family time at all, and it baffles my mind why they wouldn’t want to really get to know their grandson/nephew. Our son sees us as the people that love him most, that want to spend time with him, and he gives us so much trust, joy, and love in return. He sees both of us be affectionate with each other often, and we hope to be better examples for him.

  4. Coming from a young family is hard, my mom grew up with me.. those things that parents usually teach you I taught myself. I had my first child at 28 ten years later then my mother, I am breaking the cycle.. my one hope is that I teach my two girls that they are responsible for their happiness. Whatever obstacles or insecurities they have they can overcome and I will be there cheering them on.. I find it to be a honor to be able to be that constant for them.

  5. My parents both modeled self-respect and respect for others. They demonstrated good decision making, and made sure that there were consequences when we made poor decisions. I think today, many children do not have to face the natural consequences of their actions. Along with that, there is a diminished sense of self-worth due to accomplishments.

    I am 5 months pregnant with my first child. I hope that my husband and I can use the models of both sets of our parents to raise our son to be respectful and loving of himself and others.

  6. My mom was a single mother, so I saw SO many ups and downs through my childhood. In a way, seeing my mom struggle to keep food on the table, and balance work and family, made me so much more of a stronger person.

    My dh had very similar up bringing as I did. We are both trying our hardest to just concentrate on LOVE,and working our differences out in a loving way. Showing our daughter how to treat others w/ kindess, while being a strong individual.

    It is up to me us parents to teach our DD love, and to be there for her in all the places my mom wasn’t. I am SO blessed to be given this beautiful life to care for <3

  7. This is such an intriguing question. I always appreciated that my parents cultivated their own interests in addition to running around after us kids. I saw that taking care of yourself as a person (and not just as mom or as husband) was important too. I think this helped give me perspective when they divorced recently. It helped me to remember that they are both just people with separate feelings and values, not some romantic ideal of who mom and dad should be. Watching them show confidence in their individual personalities let me see that we are our each worthy of respect, love, of having and of sharing our own thoughts and opinions, despite any flaws and weaknesses. None of us are perfect, and my childhood wasn’t perfect, but I think this is one thing they both got right together.

  8. being a parent is hard work, especially knowning the impact you have on your childrens future feelings towards themselves. My mother always put herself down, she was always saying she was stupid or fat, or needed my dad to do things, its funny but I always knew that that was not right, I have made it a priortiy in our house that we never put ourselves down, I am not going to have my kids start thinking that they cant acheive a dream because they arent good enough, it just wont be in their psyche to do that (I hope!) Without love you have nothing, you can have all the material things, but without love your life has no meaning

  9. My mother raised three, strong, unique, loving girls. I hope to pass this along to my daughter. Every day she will feel the support and love she needs to grow to be a beautiful, caring, young women that one day can pass that support onto her daughters.

  10. Ooh, I want tobe your mom, Elizabeth! This morning was a bit of a mess, to be honest. And I was not calm, graceful, or well-mannered.

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