Posted in Authors, Blog, Featured, Just for you, Life as a mom, Mother, Shawna, Working or staying home

It matters

The other day, I met a nice lady at the park and spent 10 minutes chatting with her about mothering while I pushed my toddler on the swing and held my sleeping infant and she chased the twins she was nannying. She had been a stay-at-home mom back when her three kids were little, so we did a little bit of the easy commiserating that moms often do, and talked about how much we loved being with our babies despite their demands and foibles.

A few minutes later, she said something that shocked me: She said she thought the way kids turned out had very little to do with any sort of external influence, including the way they were parented. She said barring any severe neglect, it pretty much made no difference where babies and kids spent their days.

It’s not like I’ve spent my whole life under a rock or watching Supernanny reruns or anything, so I am aware that there are people who think who we are is all nature and no nurture. I just didn’t realize that any career nurturers actually thought that.

I mean, what would sustain you if you thought your time with your kids was going to make no difference in their development? It’s not like I’m an ego-maniac or anything, but I have to think my work here matters. I don’t delude myself that no one else could do it well, or that I’m single-handedly turning the girls into Beethovens, but I do believe they’re getting something out of having me home.

A nanny might be able to do it just as well (Ok, I’ll admit it: many nannies could do it better), but I am also their mom and that’s worth something, too. I smell like the first place they ever lived and I don’t go home at the end of the day. I also really, really love being around them and they know that. They’ve probably never even thought to question that and they probably never will.

There are so many parts of personality that are intrinsic, and no one knows that better than a mom. There are some wonderful things about our kids that we don’t get to take credit for, and some annoying things we shouldn’t be blamed for. But moms also see their kids modeling what they see all day, gaining their sense of self-worth from the attention they get, their restraint from the limits set on them. They are learning how to love from us, and who could possibly be better to teach them?

It’s not everything, but it matters.

And if it doesn’t, I don’t want to hear about it.





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  1. Holy …. How could someone think that nurture doesn’t have the slightest effect? My siblings and I always talk about how my parents values and lessons are in the back of our minds influencing us. Sure, we may choose to completely ignore them from time to time but they did make a difference. Parenting makes a difference in how we see ourselves and the world. I agree personality is intrinsic and only the individual is capable of making changes but the choice to do so also can be influenced by how they are raised. I stand with you Shawna. It matters.

  2. I absolutely agree that it matters.

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