“You, I love you no matter what.” I say to my 9 year old who has come home with his first ever detention for laughing and being silly in class. And it is true, I love him no matter what.
It is hard to explain sometimes, this love that I have had the blessed opportunity to know, the love of a mother. I honestly had no idea how much my mother loved me until my first born filled a place in my heart that I did not know existed. That oldest child is 9 now and I am earnestly pressed to remind him as much as I can, that my love comes without limits. I want all my earnest littles to learn this now while they are young, when it comes to their mama, her love is literally to infinity and beyond.
I decided a few years back to earnestly pay attention to my language with my children, knowing that when they are older I will be that inner voice that they hear. When they fail I do not want them hearing me chastise but uplift them and encourage them to try again. Finding a way to use my parenting language as a way to prevent shame and encourage resilience.
Proverbs 15:4 says “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.” There is so much power in the things that we say, especially to our children or in front of them. I feel that as their earnest mom, I have the power to create a safe language environment for them. When they were little the focus was manners, pleases and thank yous which is a great place to start. I never thought of the language lessons for my children as they got older.
We have the opportunity to lead by example, especially in today’s online environment where language is put out there with little or no thought to consequence. I feel with my children, expressing love is an opportunity to begin to establish a safe language space. When they are teens and struggling with the hard to talk about topics, I want them to hear in their heart “you know, I love you no matter what.” Knowing that what ever they come to me with, my love will not change or lessen.
“I love you no matter what” includes the times they fail or succeed, the times they hurt or have a hard time controlling their emotions, the times they try and try and feel they may want to give up, or even the times they make a mistake…my love is infinite. In their own biggest messy and complicated struggles, I will love them no matter what. Like my heavenly father loves me, when I have not only created the hole I am in, but leaped in willingly with both feet. He sees me in my failure and my shame and says to me, as he cradles my tear stained cheeks in his hands, “I love you no matter what.” What a gift, and now I have the honor to pass it on to my children.
In this effort, a funny consequence has emerged. The more I say “I love you no matter what” to my children, the more I hear it…myself. I hear myself becoming my inner voice reminding my that I love me too, no matter what. Today, there is so much demand and pressure put on us mamas, from how we sleep to how we feed our children. When I hear this phrase repeated back to myself, I find grace – grace that I feel we all could us a little extra of. Mamas, this may not be the place for you to start but I would encourage, give yourself some grace and find the opportunities to feel and express love, no matter what.
x. earnest mom.