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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pondering parenting

Do you ever notice how easy it is to judge others before you’re in their same situation? Have you ever thought you’ve got something all figured out until you’re actually in the middle of that something and then you go, hmmm, that’s not how I pictured this going! Now that I’m a parent, my inclination is that this must happen more often than not when it comes to all things parenting. “I’m not going to do such and such, I’m only going to allow such and such. My kids will never do blah blah blah. I can’t believe that mom is letting her child yadda yadda. Did you see what those parents are putting up with? Did you hear about the mom who nursed her son until he was 5? My kids will never eat fill in the blank.” And on and on. Honestly, there are millions of things to think about when it comes to raising a child from infancy to adulthood. If we will nurse, how long we will nurse, what kinds of foods we’ll feed them, how the foods need to be made and packaged, if they will go to childcare, if they will be punished for “bad behavior,” if we will hold them a lot, buy them developmental toys, let them eat sugar, let them watch tv, what kinds of bath products to use, what language to use, what tone of voice to talk to them in, what friends they can play with, what school district to live in, when to cut their hair, if they can get their ears pierced, what sports to have them try, what activities to have them try, how to play with them, how to allow them independence, and the list goes on and on until our brains nearly explode! Before we’re parents, how on earth can we think we know exactly how it will go? We assume some things and are completely sure about other things and we don’t even know and haven’t even met our kiddos yet! Instincts, parenting styles, experience, lifestyle situations, religion, family background- these things can all affect how we raise our kids. Only the parents and kids in a family can determine what is actually best for them. No one can know me, Jeff or our kids better than we can, just like we can never pretend to know someone else’s family situation better than they do. I can say I’m drawn to certain parenting styles, and in my heart I hope I am able to do certain things and not do other things, but until I’m actually faced with tough situations, I can only hope my instinct will be what my heart wants it to be right now. Or if my instinct isn’t what I hope, then maybe I can overcome that instinct with how I’d rather parent. Until then, I want to make a commitment to my Olivia.

Livi, as your mommy, I promise to try to always assume your motivations are not malicious. I promise to love you all the time, without question, just because you are you, not because of what you have or haven’t done. I promise to protect you and keep you safe. I promise to respect who you are and who you become. I promise to nurse you until you and I are both ready to stop. I promise to nourish you the best I can. I promise that I will make mistakes, but that I will try to learn from them. I promise that if you make mistakes, my love for you will not waiver. I promise to do my best to make you FEEL loved, so that you KNOW you are loved, no matter what you do or don’t do. I promise to try to listen to and understand you, even when you are a baby. I promise to try to look at your behaviors and understand the reasons behind them, rather than focus only on stopping or starting the behavior itself. You are a whole person, not a robot or a pet. You have thoughts, feelings and emotions. You have fears, frustrations and struggles. I promise to do my best to take into consideration all of these things and to shower you with love, unconditionally. I promise to raise you the best I can so that you may become a compassionate, respectful, independent, loving woman.

PS, I'm reading 4 books about parenting this summer. I've already finished one:
Beyond the Sling by Mayin Bailik. I wish I would have highlighted or underlined certain pages that stood out to me so I could reiterate them here. She is truly amazing, regardless of if you agree with her parenting techniques. I resonated with a lot of what she had to say, and then a lot of it made me shake my head and/or roll my eyes. However the way she and her husband raise their kids is completely their choice and I am down with that :)
The 2nd book I'm reading is Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. I'm on page 40 or so and I'm blown away by his ideas. Once again, I've already learned so much that I am totally all about, yet I haven't taken note of those things to share here. I guess that's OK since I'm not trying to teach you all anything about how to parent, I just find it to intriguing and helpful! Maybe I'll post a few of the things as I go along. We'll see how motivated I am ;)


3 comments:

sara said...

such a sweet post...
and so spot on, too. parenting puts so much in perspective, doesn't it?!

i want to get/read beyond the sling but just keep feeling like i don't have time to read it... probably because i don't! but i want to make it happen because it looks great.

and isn't alfie kohn rad?! he's my hero.

xx

sara said...

such a sweet post...
and so spot on, too. parenting puts so much in perspective, doesn't it?!

i want to get/read beyond the sling but just keep feeling like i don't have time to read it... probably because i don't! but i want to make it happen because it looks great.

and isn't alfie kohn rad?! he's my hero.

xx

Sarah said...

this is so wise, Ter! I resonate so deeply with this post! Thank you for sharing!