Before I became a mother, I had this one big fear.
I feared that if I do become one, I may not be up to the job. I feared that my parenting skills will suck, resulting in wayward children who will subsequently become dregs of the society. And then, when I fell pregnant with Anya, my hormones probably went into overdrive, turning my heart into marshmallow filled with fluffy melt-in-your mouth gooey love for my unborn child. Hence, my fear was all forgotten.
Actually, no. The fear was not forgotten. Rather, my confidence was boosted by the strength of God, the knowledge gained from church's parenting class, the teamwork from the Husband and the support as well as encouragement from loved ones, friends and church leaders. With that, my fear diminished significantly. Of course, babies being babies, being all so cuddly and endearing does not send one any signals of possibilities of being wayward much later in life, helped too.
But. All that fluffy soft love that has being floating around the Husband and I has taken some transformation since.
Anya is turning 3 next week. Cuddly helpless baby no longer describes her. Even Arielle, who is 16 months old now, does not come close to that description. In replacement, what I have now is a child (Anya, not Arielle) who is capable of her own speech, thoughts and behavior.
You know how some men always say that women are the most complex creature on earth? I beg to differ. I'd say children are the most complex ones. Well, at least for my own, I will say so: One day, she is that pure and simple bundle of joy whom i know like the back of my hand; in the blink of an eye, she turned into this complex being who demands her every right, question everything that I do and defy every boundary that I have set. She has her quiet wistful moments where I can't quite grasp what is on her mind. On the other end of the spectrum, she also has her loud boisterous moments where every threat that I mete out does nothing to quieten her down.
And when I find that the old tricks that I have learned from our parenting class (infant stage; we failed to find time to attend the toddler and beyond stages) no longer worked; that was when the fear started looming bigger again. This time round, the fear is sharpened with an aching knowing how deeply you love your child to not wanting her to turn out wayward.
In recent months, I have been asking around for advice on issues and topics relating to discipline. I have picked up a few books that have proven to be God-send help as their methods appeared to be in line with the Word and there have been little improvements (hurray!) since. That said, I am not letting down my guard! Children grow really fast, and as I have realized, so must my spiritual walk and my equipping as a parent.
With that, I have another little revelation: while the girls are sensing more tough love from Daddy and Mommy hereon; Daddy and Mommy are agonizing over how tough it is to love and raise children.
Now, back to the transformation of the fluffy love. So at this point, this love has taken on dual personalities. Some times, it is tough going, trying, requiring loads of self-control and treading with caution. Other times, it still is fluffy, cuddly, warm and fuzzy - all soft and heart-fluttering. Now, before some of you go saying, "That is why should not have children.", may I beg to differ.
Trying as it may be - being parents, I do not regret becoming one nor allow my fear swallow me whole because I am certain that only parenthood can allow one to experience many more different dimensions of love that one do not get to experience in other forms of relationship.
And so, tough love it is, and I am thankful for every bit of it.