This week has been the worst some families will ever experience. There are families (not just in the USA but this is in my heart and tears) that have lost little ones…. ones they love like I love my boys.
I have been thinking so much about these families – the searing loss, the aching and I so recognise how easy it is to respond in fear. To worry for my children, for the people who inhabit the world they are growing into, to fear the diseases, the dangers, the predators….. but even though that might motivate me (for a time) to love and cherish my children more it is not where I want to parent from.
These are the words I want to banish from my parenting. These words, their feelings, the actions they motivate – these are not the mama I want to become.
Fear, when we allow it to set up camp – controls us, it robs us, it makes us cling to children where we should be throwing them in the air, cheering at their attempts to learn new skills, it makes us hold them back from the world they need to experience (I’m not talking about unsafe risks, I’m talking about the joys – and sometimes pains – of being a child). Too many children in many places are robbed of their chance to experience childhood, skinned knees and all. I will not let my fear rob my children of their opportunity.
Obligation – along with its long-suffering companion the heavy sigh – is robbing mama’s of being the mama they long to be. So busy having to do this, should be doing that, ought to have done……. maybe it’s abandoning the home baking this week, or leaving the dishes in the sink or ‘forgetting’ homework for a night. Parenting out of obligation just leads done a very slippery slope to resentment. It does mean the physical needs are met but don’t for a second be fooled that an obliged parent is giving or receiving joy from her family.
Guilt – I have made mistakes, my parents have made mistakes and their parents before them too. If I focus on these I spend so much time in ‘self-improving/being trapped in a cycle of regret/ not doing it the way my parents did it‘ that I take my eyes off the goal – this moment, this experience, this opportunity to laugh or cry, this chance to skip down the road. Guilt traps us in the past. I want to parent right here, today, in this moment.
I love this quote – it reminds me I want people to treat my children with a fresh slate each day and I too need to start each parenting day with a fresh slate too.
So what words shall we speak of?
It is a joy to have my boys. A joy not allowed to everyone who longs to parent. I will enjoy this moment. This mess that speaks of a home inhabited by small children. Joy in the noise that demonstrates children relaxed, children expressive, children who do not have to silence their thoughts. I will lie in bed at the end of the day and thank God with joy for the minutes, days and years I have been given with these boys so far.
Celebration – every day is a gift. I am not promised tomorrow for myself or my boys and so I will celebrate today.
Future – I will parent with the future in mind. With my hopes for men who will be filled with compassion and strength. Men who will be generous in their actions, their laughter, their friendships. Because while I choose and hope to dwell right here in this moment I am also growing men. For me this is like stopping to smell the roses – looking at the delicate buds, marveling at the flowers but remembering to water that same plant because I hope it will bloom for a good many years more.
This week I started teaching my biggest boy to sew (he made a Christmas gift for his brother) and I sat in the sandpit (in my Sunday dress and ‘pearls’) with my littlest boy. Because I enjoy them, because they make every day worth celebrating, because they are without a doubt the best thing I have to invest my life into for every single day we have one another.
(I realise this is like the longest post ever pretty much I’ve written it for me…. but I’d be stoked if it encouraged you too)
This year I am making more of a conscious effort to have quality moments with my boys. B.M.W.B (becoming the mama I want to be) is my way of recording and hopefully inspiring other mama’s too.
Simple. Achievable. Intentional: becoming the mama I want to be.