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Miss Ruthie Speaks . . .

. . . Responsibility Part IV

African American news - Miss Ruthie and tips on motherhood and responsbilitiesResponsibility as a mother:

For me, being a mother is a special gift from God. If you read the book, "Miss Ruthie," by my husband Joe, you would read that I lost my mother at the age of two. Included in my legacy is the loss of both grandmothers. My father's mother died when he was a baby and my mother's mother died when my mother was a baby. It's a blessing from God who has allowed me to have children, raise them, live to see them grown, and have children of their own – my grandchildren!

For almost every mother I know, motherhood causes a certain responsibility they did not have before their first baby came. The mothering instinct kicks in and there is this strong bond... even if she doesn't know everything to do, she can sense how to care for her baby. She knows she needs to watch over her baby, feed her baby, keep her baby clean and change her baby's diapers. Her level of protection is heightened, and as one of my sister-in-laws once stated, "To the point of killing" for her baby. Most mothers can relate to this.

However, I have also met mothers where there was not disconnect. For those mothers there was some sort of illness, either mentally or physically, that caused them not to be natural protectors of their children. For instance when I was a Family Advocate for Head Start, I met mothers who had to be taught how to watch and care for their children. And for some this was difficult because of their limitation and another family member had to step in and help. The saddest thing about this is when mother is defective, more than likely their child will also be defective. A popular belief was held when I worked with these mothers, neurotic parents make neurotic kids, and the kids suffered.

While working with mothers in Head Start, I also found variations of irresponsibility. Some would generally be available to their children but would not pay too much attention to them. The children were left to fend for themselves by getting their cereal or junk food breakfast, while mom was still in the bed. Many times older children were in charge of helping the children get off to school. Mother would not have clean clothes or lunch for the kids. The kids would go to school unclean themselves and/or with dirty clothes on. They often had dirty socks, socks with holes, or no socks at all. And when the kids showed up at school in this condition, they are subjected to be reported by teachers for neglect to Child Protective Services.

For mothers who have children returning to school now is a good time for responsible parenting. You know they need back to school supplies. Hopefully, you have also planned to have the back to school clothes your child need such as, school uniforms or suitable school clothes, shoes, socks and underwear (shorts/boxers/panties). Also, plan now to get warm clothing such as sweaters and coats and even hats and gloves for the cold weather, if the store has them stocked yet.

Be prepared. Have a plan. Have a routine and follow it ... religiously, each day of the week. Please don't allow your kids to stay up all hours of the night. They need to go to bed early, getting at least eight hours of sleep, so they may be well rested and ready for a full day of learning at school. Help them by preparing them a healthy dinner and giving them a warm bath before bed. Read them a story. This is a very good activity for their dad. Joe enjoyed reading to our children. Please don't make your morning stressful and chaotic for your children by having to rush around finding clean clothes, socks and shoes to get ready for school. And I hope you have food for a healthy breakfast and a bag lunch if that's preferable to school lunches. This all means that you must be a responsible mother to have these things ready for them; you have washed, you have shopped, and you have prepared breakfast and lunch.

Then get involved in your child's school and stay involved. Meet the teacher and have a plan and a goal for your child. Communicate with the teacher at least on a weekly basis. Support your children. Be an advocate for your children. This is one thing I learned from taking a parenting class, one summer when my children were preschoolers. I was to observe my child's actions while engaging in the various activities during play time. Once, when another child took a toy from my son, I made a note of what I witnessed. The instructor questioned why I did not intervene. She said, "You're the mother, if you don't step in for your child, who will?" Sadly, I had to get permission to advocate for my child, but I learned from this experience, and no one had to tell me that again, ever. Mothers, you have permission to speak up for your children... at all times!

Last and most important, pray for your children, everyday. Say a prayer for your children as they go out the door. Pray God's covering over them as they travel to and from school. Pray that God will protect them at school from hurt, harm and danger. Pray for a good school day and a good school year and that they would get the most from their school experience. Pray that they would be good children, follow the rules, obey the authorities, do not become bullies, and not be bullied. Pray that they will be blessed with good friends who will not negatively influence them. Pray for their teachers. Pray for their school.

I pray your strength in the Lord to be a responsible parent and as you care for your children.

Responsibility as a mother, to be continued ...


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