_ I originally published this a year ago. I wanted to pull it up and repost it since I have had so many new subscribers since then! Enjoy!
I want to be very clear to all of you about something. I am not, or ever intend to be a self proclaimed or "ordained by society" parenting expert. I am only here to write about my experiences in an effort to share what has worked and hasn’t worked for me. If you can gain a different perspective or see an idea you’d like to try, then great! If you completely disagree with anything I say or believe that nothing I share has any benefit to you other than the fact that you know you don’t want to do things the way I have, then that is just as perfect. Either way I don’t feel like I am wasting my time here. Everything I share is solely my opinion and my viewpoint and I am not here to seek validation.
So here’s for my opinion part: I believe parenting is a process, just like any other relationship, but often more complex because we each have a unique perspective regarding who our children are, how they learn, what their personality traits are as well as what their strengths are. I believe you betray your relationship with your child when you parent in a way that doesn’t feel completely right to you. I’m not saying that you can’t try different things to see if they work for you but what I am talking about is adopting a parenting “method” that you feel coerced into or uncomfortable with for any reason.
I believe the most effective and quickest way of disconnecting from your kids can happen through adopting a new parenting style that is not grounded in the relationship you desire to have with your kids just because you read a book or took a seminar. If it doesn’t feel right to you right now, don’t do it. Also if you are considering a new parenting style, be sure you have conversations with people who have already tried it. And I am not talking about those that have very young ones that have been doing it only for a few months. Talk to as many people as you can to get the full picture from those that have done it for at least a few years. These are the people that can tell you the pros and cons, what worked and what didn’t – not someone who decided that their way is the right way and who is interested in either self promoting or who wants others to do what they are doing because they need the validation.
Self-proclaimed or society-ordained “gurus” are probably the biggest offenders for undermining your parenting. They most often give the worst kind of advice because many, at a certain point, start adopting a god-complex and act as if they have all of the answers for you. Sometimes self-promoters don’t always have the healthiest intentions in doing what they do. Don’t give your power away to them and let their opinions rule your life or make you feel guilty in any way. Especially the ones that do go out of their way to make snide or passive aggressive comments about parents “like you” in order to manipulate you to feel like you are the one missing something. While you don’t always have to dismiss them completely don’t let their strict definitions constrict your life. Take what may help you and ignore the rest.
I don’t believe in deciding what is right for other parents especially since parenting has a tendency to expose people’s vulnerabilities at times. When parents feel unsure of themselves and vulnerable (and we all do at one time or another) they are more apt to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who need to feel that what they are doing is the right way, so they proselytize and gain followers. (Isn’t that what cultists do?) I refuse to do that or endorse anyone else who does. I parent through being connected to my kids. If you can find a way to do that through your own unique parenting style, which will most likely be different than mine in more ways than one, then you are on the right track.
Above all, I believe that you need to find your own style that works for you and your kids. If you don’t feel right about certain aspects of your relationship with your kids, stop making things more complicated than they need to be by looking elsewhere for answers all the time. You need to take responsibility. I know for some parents, it’s more frightening to take responsibility than to run through a list of everything they “tried” and then be able to blame everyone else, or worse, their child, when none of those things worked.
Our kids are not from a different species than we are. They are not pets and we don't need to pick up a book to learn more about them. It is much more simple. You need to remember what it was like to BE a kid, without projecting your own childhood “stuff” on them, and you need to always be focused on how much you love them. If you try something and it doesn’t work don’t be bitter and hold onto blame. You chose to do it and simply ignored your own reservations or didn’t get enough of the full story before you tried it. Everything will have pros and cons for you and only you can determine what those are not matter how anyone else presents their viewpoint. You have the power to find what works best for you!
_I had the feeling a lot of people need to hear this today!
Always know that no matter what life throws at you, people who love you know who you are. You don't have to revisit the past or prevent something for the future. Your only job is to not lose yourself. The rest will work itself out! Trust yourself to just BE!
Have a wonderful day!
. . . . . . .
_I wanted to continue this discussion regarding doing it all with four children because I had someone post a comment on my Facebook profile that said that you should always put yourself first, BEFORE your kids. Woah! Really? In order to let anyone who saw that know that I disagree with this wholeheartedly, I figured I'd post a blog about it.
The question was how do I get in "me" time? How did I write and publish a book that took a lot of learning, research and personal experimentation in a year? How do I fit in time for my own friends and hobbies? They all sound like legitimate questions, don't they? But are they really?
The premise behind questions like these is that having more children automatically means that mom sacrifices her own interests because she no longer has time for them. Now add homeschooling on top of that and "me time" sounds impossible. For me, accepting these assumptions became unacceptable. It took some time and experience to realize that believing that self sacrifice is just how it is would never work for me. I am not happy expending ALL of my time and energy for others, including my kids, because I realized I was losing "me". Sound familiar?
Once I changed my perception, the rest started falling into place. I'm not saying that fitting in things I'd like to do hasn't been a challenge. But I will say that the times when it feels most challenging is when I put high and unrealistic expectations on myself. This is easy to do when I know I have the ability accomplish a lot. I have come to accept that there isn't any hurry!
First and foremost, personal fulfillment in the form of friends, hobbies, and my entrepreneurial activities are just as much of a priority as my kids' needs and interests. I realized that I don't ever want to set an example for my kids where I was bored and somehow waiting for that someday to come so I could do what I really wanted. I also don't want them to think that the opposite is ok either. I will never put my own interests before my children. I believe both set a really poor example for them.
Here are some things that have helped me along the way -
There are many hours in the day! Pay close attention to how you are spending them. For the things you feel you "have" to do, are you doing them as efficiently as you can? Is there a lot of wasted time? Is there a way to be more efficient in the planning of your errands? For example, could you do errands together with a friend you haven't seen in a while and fit in lunch while you are out?
Are you watching a lot of tv? Are you getting the same type of satisfaction or entertainment from too many of the same type of show? Can you let one or two go? Can you DVR them or watch them for free on the internet at a more convenient time?
Are you spending too much nonwork time at the computer? Are you finding yourself randomly clicking on things without a true purpose and zoning out on it for longer than you really would want to?
Get excited!! Make a list of everything you WANT to do! You may surprised at how many things you will be willing to let go of or do more efficiently if you knew you would then have time for something more fulfilling! Don't forget the intangible things! This past year I focused on having more meaningful friendships with people I wasn't afraid to be a little vulnerable with. (That was huge for me!) But once I set that intention, and let go of the "how," the people that were not good for my well being exited my life and I had so many more good ones enter. For the ones that stayed I was able to strengthen my relationships with.
If you want some inspiration, check out my annual blog Liberal Arts Living II. I already have a list of things that I am working on for my next annual blog and it is so much fun!
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
. . . . . . .
This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.