Intentional Motherhood: Who Said It Would Be Easy?
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Below is an overview of my discussion with Monique Russell, author of the book, ” Intentional Motherhood: Who Said it Would be Easy.” We discuss parenting out of love versus fear, our identity as mothers, and her experience as a single, teen mom.
It’s a great interview and I encourage you to listen to the complete interview below at Grace for Single Parents Podcast:
Becoming an Intentional Mother
Monique shares what led her to write her book titled, “Intentional Motherhood: Who Said it Would be Easy” She describes having her first child when she was 18 and trying to work, go to school and do all the mothering duties.
Related: Happy Again: How To Discover Your Passion
We discuss parenting out of a place of fear versus love.
“We say that we really just want them to get good grades. We want them to be good humans. We want them to grow up connecting with each other, but we’re really being driven by fear. Not really love, but a fear for them not to make any mistakes, not to have to go down the wrong path, as opposed to really re-shifting or thinking about how to empower them, to make those right choices.”
If I cannot demonstrate to him [my child] what it’s like to be respected in the home, how can I expect him to recognize what that is like outside of the home?
Monique talks about her own parenting experiences where she first realized her parenting style was out of a place of fear and how she moved into parenting out of love instead.
I feel like as parents, we need to take time to be reflective on why we are parenting the way we are parenting and to really think about coming from that place of love, that place of self-control, the place of gentleness, the place of patience and kindness. We tend to have the kindness piece, but sometimes the self-control piece, we lose it and we just let it go.
We talk about how many of us were parented from a dictatorship or authoritarian way and how that didn’t really work for a lot of us.
People say back in the day it worked, the kids just listened. They followed, but, yes and no, because I see women and men that I serve in my practice who are in their mid, late forties, fifties, sixties, who are wishing and praying and hoping for a great relationship with their parents. One where they could have an apology for something that happened in the younger years or being estranged from their siblings, you know, things like that.
We just have to be mindful and be intentional, give ourselves grace. We’re doing the best we can.
We discuss how when we as mothers, begin to change for the better, everyone around us (our kids) grows as well.
Related: Choosing to stay single when your children are young
Monique talks about her unique experience of being a single teen mom and how because of the relationships she built, ended up being one of the best times of her life.
Our identity of being a mom shapes our worldview.
Monique discusses leadership within the family. And our identity is within the family is key.
The way we see ourselves is what drives our behavior.
“When we’re planning for our jobs, when we’re planning for a vacation, when we’re planning where our kids are gonna go to daycare or school, we take so much planning time and we sit down and we think it all the way through. But when it comes to motherhood, we don’t take that same time to think through who we are, what our identity is and what success looks like for us. We’re just living out society’s default version of what motherhood success should look like, and it’s different for everyone.”
She explains how moms can go through a visioning process to start to develop their identity. We discuss how single moms may feel a loss of identity when they aren’t with their children all the time like they used to be.
Monique’s last words to all parents.
“Seriously give yourself grace, like just give yourself grace. You’re already doing a great job. You can’t go back. If you did something wrong, you can’t go back and redo it, but you can start fresh right now. Right here. There were tons of things that I did wrong. And so you can start a new right now today. So give yourself grace and keep up the great work.”
Related: How to Find Community as a Single Parent
Where to Find Monique and Buy Her Book:
Book: Intentional Motherhood: Who Said it Would be Easy