I’ve been on this huge journey this summer in terms of ways I can be better with my kids, I got into this uncomfortable “normal” a few months ago where I was in a mindset that my 4 and 5 year old were just annoying me. Not fair to them, not fair to me. So we went on a trip together and I got off social media and I just devoted all my time to being grateful for them, thanking them and being present. It was just the four of us for 2 months and it was magic, being able to be mindful in shifting my perspective. We got back and the kids did a couple really shitty, expensive fucking up of things and while I didn’t yell, I said some really mean things. Because, and this is important, you can be mean without yelling or hitting (I’m calling you out “gentle parenting”) and you can be firm in order to be heard a little loudly, with respect. (which never includes hitting a person, just to be clear, violence has no place in parenting, even if you call it swatting, etc.)
Finding a balance between “Hey, things cost money” and financial shaming; I never want them to feel like they don’t deserve nice things or that things are more important than how I treat them. So I had to put myself in check again in a major way and seek support within and without of myself because if I am ever not being the parent I want to be, that is on me. I decide how I react and I have done far too much emotional work to keep reacting from this old way of thinking, these old patterns, particularly this time: that money is scarce or on a pedestal and I don’t deserve it and I should feel guilty when I spend it like my mom did. I deserve things. My kids deserve things. We can save for what we want, we can make mistakes. They are kids who do shitty things in learning how to person and it’s my job to grow with these instances instead of project my insecurities and fears on them. If there is anything I am unhappy with in my parenting, I do not sulk, I do not lay around in guilt. I get better, I seek more tools, I ask for help. That is my responsibility.
We work really well together, because I sit with them and apologize, I ask for their input, how can I help you?! The other day. Escher punched Ezekiel, so I pulled Escher away from Z and that hurt Escher’s feelings. Ezekiel felt confident enough to say, even through tears of being hurt “Mom, you didn’t have to do that. You hurt his feelings. Just talk to him next time, okay, just talk to him.” And I said “Thank you. I will, next time I will, that was a really insightful thing to say, I appreciate your perspective.” They help me help them, they are comfortable opposing me and bringing up new ways and I make myself be open to it without labeling it back talk, nobody grows that way. The child shrinks into themselves, losing their voice and the parent continues reacting out of childhood trauma. Don’t stifle your own growth and that of your children.
We all chose each other. When the kids fight, I remind them. Sometimes Z says “I dunno why I chose Escher” When feeling particularly mad and I just frankly say, “Welp, you did, so I guess we will find out in this lifetime. Seems to me like he is already teaching you some important lessons about patience, what a gift.”
I love travelling with my children, through miles of road and miles of life. I love the dynamic we have created. People say “You are so lucky, your kids are so good.” And yes, they are. All kids are inherently good. But this took work, emotional toil, for me to be able to create a platform for this to play out. For their respect and goodness and loveliness not to be stifled by my ego.