I don’t blog very often about motherhood or any advice on children simply because it seems to be a minefield of naysayers and judges out there that want to pick a fight with mothers. I also realize that I am in no way an expert at all on parenting and haven’t wanted to stick my neck too far out there in that realm of things. The other day, however, I was thinking about an assignment that I had in college from my Art of Being Human professor (yes that was really a class and yes it was awesome…thank you liberal arts colleges!!) and it made me want to write a similar piece focused on parenting and this moment in time. The assignment was simply to write a paper starting with “This I believe” and you could pick whatever topics you wanted, it was meant to open us up to seeing what our beliefs were at the time and to get to know one another. So here goes nothing!
This I believe…parenting edition
I believe that parenting is tough…amazing, worth it but really tough. I believe that one of the hardest parts of parenting is when you think you have it all figured out and then boom that moment is passed and you are back in the not having a clue portion.
I believe that as parents we need to support other parents! Seriously and I don’t just mean behind our keyboards I mean supporting them in the real world. A simple smile during a toddler meltdown can be enough to make a mother not feel so alone or offer to help someone with carrying their groceries to the car while they wrangle a newborn. I could go on and on about helping each other but I’ll curb that discussion for another time…but any new mother knows how overwhelming it is going out with a newborn and feeling so alone.
I believe that childhood should be messy! Once upon a time I imagined that my daughter would be adorably dressed all of the time and totally presentable…flash forward to actual motherhood and I am totally okay with her playing in puddles, the shavings pile at the barn or crawling through paint while “crafting.” Thinking back on my own childhood I had the most fun while I was getting dirty and I want that for her. Plus dirt washes off!
I believe that getting outside is the best remedy for most problems. I can’t stand being cooped up in the house for very long and neither can Avery. Sunshine, fresh air and good ol dirt are the best boredom or bad mood busters.
I believe that we must work on patience…every single day (if you were born with a ton of patience you are a lucky lucky person). This one is hard and sleep deprivation and stress are real things but the more I focus on being patient with Avery the easier things become. When I am stressed out I try to think about how I want Avery to describe me one day when she is writing Mother’s Day cards and I certainly don’t want her to describe me as rushed, impatient or annoyed.
I believe that we must model the types of behaviors we want to see in our children in our own every day lives. I am not saying that this is a foolproof method to having a perfect child because they are their own person but it sure is a good starting point. If we want our children to help others, be kind, be generous and be grateful then we must also model those behaviors. Hold the door for people, help someone pick up dropped papers, say thank you when someone does you a favor…all of these small things stick with our children.
I believe that parents who are working towards their own goals and dreams have children who understand being able to reach for their dreams one day. This is a tough one because guilt and time get in the way all too often. As parents we tell our children that if they work hard they can be whatever they want to be but do we actually model that hope for them in our own lives? When we as parents are working towards goals and dreams then we are showing them that all things are possible. And I’m not talking just in a career sense here, I am talking overall life. Want to have more spontaneous fun in life? Then you have to make time for that to happen. Want to learn something new? Then find a class in your area…it could be anything yoga, pottery, whatever..and join it. Show your kids that they can make a life of happiness if they set their mind to it and involve them in making that life a reality.
In the end I think this particular quote by Shanti really sums up my beliefs on parenting…and life in general.