Written Friday 13th, 2007
My MIL picked Max up today around 1:30pm, and is keeping him until… any minute now. My house was a disaster when she arrived to take The Bossman. The bathroom smelled like piss, there were dirty dishes in the sink, it looked like a bomb went off downstairs, upstairs was riddled with toys, and I had tons of laundry to do.
Five hours later…
The house looks the same.
I napped with Bella, ate chocolate and almond butter, read my favorite blogs, watched TV, and I’m writing this post. Some days, ya just gotta indulge.
I think a lot about the philosophy of parenting that shapes my actions as a mother. I’m always tweaking it to fit what is practical and working on learning how to put my ideals into practice.
I often spend time pondering the question, how much control do I really have over how my children “turn out?”
Yes, as the mama I play a huge role in shaping who my children will be in the future. However, it is not so much me as a mother, individual, and adult that plays a roll in shaping my children as it is their experiences in life.
My power lies in the quality of their experience with home life, in the environment I create for them with my actions and words, and in teaching them to listen to their inner voice. My power does not reside in their perception.
This is really hard for me to understand and even harder to explain. I think on the most basic level, I want my children to grow up in a home where they are free to trust their intuition. So, if this is a skill that is already within and only needs encouragement, how do I become part of that encouragement process instead of a hindrance to it?
If you watch a toddler, they don’t take very many things personally or hold any one feeling for very long. They are the perfect people in a lot of ways. They experience life as it is in the moment and not through the lens of judgment, scrutiny, contemplation, or too much analysis (point taken).
I don’t obsess over this, really. Its just that being around children is so new for me that I’m really getting into understanding them.
Lately, I’m paying special attention to the words I use when speaking to Max. My body language and tone is (usually) in check but I think word choice is important, too. I’d like to be a mother who guides her children instead of the mama who tries to mold them.
Observing Max has made me realize that my children perceive life from a place within that runs deep to who they are. Layers of confusion (read: many future therapy sessions) can be added by mistreating them, attempting to make them into a smaller version of my ideologies, lying to them, attempting to mold them, or misguiding them. However, the core of who they are will always be pushing to reach the surface. They will either live life to experience their true selves or they will live life on the surface – superficially. I think I can help them to live as their true selves by guiding as oppose to controlling.
I do not believe that we are blank slates waiting for our guardians and the world to write who we are into the emptiness of our minds. However, who we are as an adult has a lot to do with what we experienced as a child. And although those last two sentences may seem conflicting, they are not. I am going to try to give my kids the power of insight, perception, and inner strength.
How am I going to do this kind of parenting? With my interactions with them. My voice. My actions or inaction. This is something that is different for every family dynamic. Though, I imagine for everyone it is a constant work in progress.
I believe in sitting back as much as possible and enjoying my children’s mind unfold – their likes and dislikes, their observations of others and of the world. It is hard to parent a child this way. It means parenting without judgment. It means parenting/guiding my kids as separate individuals from myself. It means as a parent I have to learn how to talk so my children grow from the inside out. All of this is really hard and I do screw up a lot. But I am trying.
I want my kids to learn to listen to their own inner dialog and I want that inner voice to grow because I have stepped back and allowed it to be.
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