EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 16, 2014

Mother needs a life outside her children

Dear Doctor,

I think I could use some help.

I am a mother of three children. My problem is myself. I know this. I worry all the time about doing the right thing with them.

I read lots of books and look for advice on how best to parent them. My husband, their father, says to cam down, but I can’t.

My kids are great. The teachers love them and they are as normal as they can be.

Are other mothers this bad and just do not show it.

— Fretful

Dear Fretful,

No. All mothers are not like you.

You sound to me as if you are very anxious. For your sake, find a therapist. Some counseling and possibly medication could help you and make your parent career more fun than painful.

Listen to the teachers who are affirming your parenting.

You need a life of your own, one that does not rest solely in your children. I suspect you are a wonderful Mom.

Maybe a poet saw your dilemma best.

Kahlil Gibran wrote:

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, they belong not to you.

You may give them love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them,

But seek not to make them like you, for life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”

Tend to yourself first, and the calling of Motherhood will follow.

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