I took a long, cool sip of my tart but sweet lemonade, savoring the summer refreshment of both a cool drink and a night out with girlfriends for a mid-July dinner. The chatter at the long, stone table was non-stop. Moms were conversing about their kids. One teen was off at camp, another taking a history course in summer school, others simply enjoying their break between freshman and sophomore years.
Kids grow up so quickly and yet as it is with child-rearing, there are sometimes hiccups along the way. Noting a troubled tone of voice, it was obvious to me that one mother sitting down at the opposite end of the table was discussing a parental predicament she needed help solving. I was engrossed in conversation with a friend about her recent trip to Portugal and couldn’t really hear the difficulties being discussed. But then the words came through, loud and clear. The woman bemoaning her teen’s misfortunes said, “a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.”
From personal experience, when one of my boys is troubled, I don’t change my day. But, my maternal concerns always seem to lie just below the surface. Is this a good thing?
Recent research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science (March, 2013) looked into “the tendency for parents to prioritize their children’s well-being above their own.” Professors from the University of Amsterdam and the University of British Columbia found that being “child-centric” actually gave parents more overall satisfaction in parenting.
So, I guess sacrificing one’s happiness when a child is experiencing troubling times is not such a bad thing! Personally, I find that doing my best not to display too much of my own angst benefits my child more than matching his level of distress. The child may then think: ”If Mom thinks I’m going to be ok, I feel better about dealing with this issue.”
I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about this subject!
- What does it mean to be a Mother… (accordingtomissmaria.wordpress.com)