The quiet gift that truly counts

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By Beth Pinyerd

1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Mama, mom, mommy, mother spells love to our ears and hearts. When we are given the title of mom, mother, etc. it changes our lives forever. As a teacher, when my young students call me “mama” by mistake as they are caught up in their work or activities, I know they are referring to me as caregiver which is such an honor of love for me as a teacher.
There are so many female role models that have touched my life in their actions of teaching, nurturing, guiding and sharing, that even though they may not have had children, their touch on my life has been like a mother. I know many of you and many of our children are touched by women who love and care for them from the heart, and that is the way the Classroom Observer looks at this when I say “Happy Mother’s Day.” I mean it as a heart issue of someone who has shown love and care to me from their heart. Our young children feel the same way.
This Sunday, we celebrate the lives of those we call mother. Whoever you refer to as mother holds a special place in our hearts. In the United States, Miss Anna Jarvis at Andrew’s Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia where her mother had served as a Sunday School teacher for more than 20 years, celebrated the first Mother’s Day. This was in honor of her late mother, Mrs. Jarvis, who had held “Mother’s Friendship Day,” to heal the pain of the Civil War. Anna Jarvis’ steady campaign moved President Woodrow Wilson to declare that Mother’s Day should be celebrated as a national holiday on the second Sunday in May.
One central truth about mothers is “that mothering matters.” Mothering not only affects children and families, but it affects communities, towns and the world.
As a teacher of young children, early childhood is such a critical time in a child’s life of bonding, learning, the molding of a child’s personality, learning how to adjust, socially interacting with other children, as well as adults. Not only does a child’s ability to learn happen at an early age, but their ability to love is a need at an early age. A mother’s nurturing love and those people who touch your child’s life at an early age builds the foundation of the child’s ability to adjust to his or her environment. The bonding that happens with folks who love them affects a child’s entire self structure, who they are, and identity.
What a huge responsibility we mothers have in raising young children in today’s busy world. But in order to meet the needs of our young children and families, we also have to take care of ourselves, in being able to do the duties that mothering requires. This is not a selfish way of looking at this need, but a survival way of looking at this need when you are in the years of raising young children. It is important for young moms to understand and meet their own needs for the sake of their children and families.
In asking moms of children I teach, as well as the needs I remembered and recognized in raising my only child, the two that stand out the most are hope and perspective. With hope, even though I may have had a bad day with my only child, there is a new tomorrow! We moms are only human, we cannot do it all. Believe it or not, young children are the most forgiving little individuals who forget if you had a bad day and are ready to start anew with a bunch of hugs, kisses, and “let’s meet the new day” kind of attitude if the day before has not been a good one. Our children are our best cheerleaders in the challenges of mothering.
Perspective is another big need. You may have one child still bottle feeding, another that needs to be potty trained, and another who needs mom’s help with homework. Too, for the working mom she has to have an extra measure of grace extended to her in order to accomplish everything needed to be done.
In talking to young moms in a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group, they have said they just want to know how to hang in there when everything gets so confusing and unpredictable. All of us who mother children or care for them realize that we just have to flex, delegate and know this is just normal as we are caring for children.
I had a room mother who had six children who were stair-steps in age. I asked her how she coped. She laughed as she responded to me, saying that when she had her first child if a boiled egg fell on the floor she would take extra time to make sure it was washed off properly before feeding her only child at that time. She said after their home tent increased to six, when an egg fell on the floor due to the demands of the other children, she would just “blow off the egg” and give it to her child to eat. She said as of yet all her children were healthy, wealthy, wise! This is a mom who understood perspective; you have to do what you got to do.
In raising children, moms so many times self impose standards that are not necessary. For example, making sure your home is thoroughly immaculate, everything perfect, vacuum cleaner in hand all the time. Who cares if your home is perfect? Certainly not your little ones. They would rather have “Mommy time,” which spells love, rather than the mommy being preoccupied with cleaning. Children only go through life once, savor each day because they do grow up quick.
Other needs that moms have said is the need for identity, growth, and relationships. With identity, we must realize that we are all made different with certain gifts, traits, talents, and we don’t want to absolutely lose while giving our all to others. Mothers take time to keep your interests up. It may be limited right now during this season of child raising, but don’t forget that you are a person too. Children love and appreciate who their mommies are.
Growth is so important as we mother children. Learning new things, taking time to learn a new skill. Giving yourself space as a mother is not only a need for mothers, but also your family needs you to develop yourself. There are so many opportunities in Opelika and surrounding areas where childcare is provided while a mother is trying to learn a new talent, exercise at the gym, or take a decorating class.
Mothers need to have relationships in our families, with other moms, and friends. Moms need to connect with others in a helpful and meaningful way in managing the life of motherhood. In moving to an area where family is not near, friends become your family.
As I conclude, I hope all you ladies who are identified as moms will benefit from this article in one way or the other. Too, for people in our community, we can see that mothering affects not only families, but communities and the world.
On this upcoming Mother’s Day, be sure to wish those who have influenced your lives in wonderful ways, a happy Mother’s Day! This will be the greatest gift they may receive.
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools, and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures, and events by e-mailing her at donnapinyerd@att.net.

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