I joked with my oldest not long ago about the fact that he was not going to grow old with memories of his mom behind a sewing machine, but with images of me using every power tool I could get my hands on. I thought it was kind of funny until he said ‘I know mom, isn’t that awful?’ My smile froze and I wondered as he ran off to play, what is so terrible about power tools?
My internal critic reared her ugly head, questioning whether I am meeting my boys needs by being a sometimes tom-boyish kind of mom. Do they know that I make repairs and improvements because I can and because I am home during the day? Do they see that I respect their father more than anything? Performing a small mental head slap, I remember that despite never having been a lace and frills kind of a gal, I do wear makeup and an occasional dress. I also insist that with a strong husband and three growing boys there is no reason I should ever have to take out the trash or mow the lawn.
As a mom I find it easy to teach concrete things like manners and cleanliness, but I struggle in remembering that they are learning every behavior I model as well. That is very, very scary. It’s also a great motivator for me to live more like Christ every day and to remember that God gave me very specific gifts that enable me to parent these unique little men that He blessed me with.
My youngest came into the office yesterday holding a very sharp pair of scissors. He was playing with them while he asked if I would use them to make him a paper ring for his finger. Thanks to over a decade of boy-mom experience, I didn’t scream or hyperventilate while asking my 4 year old to hand the scissors over. In true 3rd child fashion, he insisted on carrying them himself. Avoiding a fight, I gave him a quick lecture on the dangers of scissors plus movement as well as very clear instructions on how to carry said deadly weapons.
I am the worrier, the parent that plays it safe. I insist on helmets and sunscreen and bug spray and staying within 4 feet of the ground. My husband is much better at letting the boys be boys. He protects them while he lets them take risks. I would rather they just stayed home swaddled in protective bubble wrap. As I watched my baby walk with careful precision holding the pointy end towards the floor and well away from his body, I fleetingly wondered if I was only teaching my children caution or if they would learn the value of taking risks from me as well as their dad.
My children won’t ever see the reckless girl I once was, they only know their boring mom who won’t even start the car without seat belts on all passengers. However, I don’t want them to be fearful souls who won’t try something new either.
2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God doesn’t want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. When I first started meditating on this verse, I didn’t like what it said to me. I was too comfortable in my safe place to consider the ‘what if’ of the next stages in our lives. Now, however, I am taking a little risk myself and returning to college this fall. I won’t finish the liberal arts degree I was once close to completing, but go backward to move forward, pursuing the Nursing degree I was always a little too afraid to attempt.
I will not be shy with God’s gifts. I will be bold and sensible. I hope my boys see this in me, the boldness of using my gift for home improvement, the boldness of returning to school at my age and almost starting over to get where God wants me to go. And of course, I hope they also see the cautious and sensible. And I hope they never run with scissors.
Heather is happy wife to Scott and mom to three little men: Tyler, 12; Scooter, 6 & Riley, 4. Raising boys into Godly men is hard work and she loves to blog about the joy and pain of it at http://adayinthellifeboymom.