Q. Why another book on mothering?
A: This is a book written by moms for moms who want to meet their children's most important needs. It slices through all the possible things we could do as mothers and frees us up to do the one thing that matters most: love our children. That's the heart of mothering.
Q. As you seek to minister to mothers of preschoolers, what counsel do you offer regarding balancing a mom's needs with those of her child?
A: When it comes to recognizing and meeting your child's needs, remember this:
- Recognize that you, too, have needs.
- Understand and accept your child; then understand and accept yourself.
- Realize you can't meet all of your child's needs all of the time; other people can help.
- Examine what you liked and didn't like in the way you were mothered.
- Focus on the main thing: loving your child. The rest will fall into place.
Q. What does a child need most?
A: We have identified nine basic needs of a child, and a language of love that a mom can use to meet each need:
- Security: a hold-me-close love
- Affirmation: a crazy-about-me love
- Belonging: a fit-me-into-the-family love
- Discipline: a give-me-limits love
- Guidance: show-me-and-tell-me love
- Respect: a let-me-be love
- Play: a play-with-me love
- Independence: a let-me-grow-up love
- Hope: a give-me-hope love
Q. Let's discuss some ways to express one of those kinds of love. How about belonging?
A: Children need a sense of belonging. They need a place and a space to call their own. They need to know they fit into a family that surrounds them with a love that makes room for them. A good home underlines and emphasizes the belonging of all who enter. Like a welcome mat that pronounces a greeting, this home ushers all members safely inside where they can be refueled and refreshed for living in the everyday world.
Q. What about the give-me-limits love? How can a mom express that in the context of discipline?
A: There are times when children simply need discipline. Their actions ask for a give-me-limits love, and nothing else will do. We discipline them because we love them, and they ask for that kind of love. For us as mothers, discipline means setting limits and then carrying through with logical consequences when the boundaries or limits are overstepped. Actually, the first major ingredient of discipline is love.
Q. What is the best counsel you can give a busy mom who may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the demands placed upon her?
A: Five years from now, what will you remember most? What will matter most? Sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves these questions to gain perspective about our priorities. Perspective comes when we're able to see the bigger picture, or greater purpose and fit the moment of today into that bigger picture of tomorrow.