Who's parenting who?
This parenting thing is so tricky. Some days I look at Ranaan with glazed over eyes and there isn’t a word in the dictionary for the overwhelm or exhaustion I feel. Sometimes I think to myself, what were we thinking? Other days I’m beaming with pride at the snowman picture that came home from school. The crooked smile on the head at the bottom of the body and the hat falling off with the scarf on it’s nose, and find it more breathtaking than the time I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre! But truly, I think the trickiest thing about parenting is parenting myself.
It’s ironic to me that for all of the years that I was “flying solo” without kids, and had the luxury of being selfish with my time and thoughts I rarely made time for introspection. Instead, at any inkling of a tear or imperfection I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction and buried whatever it was deep inside vowing that as long as I couldn’t see it no one else could either.
“Practice” entered my vocabulary probably around the age of 3 with the introduction of the violin. It was something I would spend, albeit begrudgingly, a lot of my adolescence and into young adulthood doing. Repeating a pattern of tiny black dots over and over to create a melodic phrase until it took the shape I meticulously envisioned. All the while I never considered applying this “practice” to my inner self.
I recently potty trained our two year old - talk about practice on both of our parts. For some reason I always thought you just go through life happy but it too takes practice. I wish every time I was kind to myself or made the “right” choice someone did a happy dance and sang a song for me like I do at our house when bodily fluids end up in their intended receptacles. Instead, my brain defaults to anxiety and negativity - “what if I make the wrong choice? what will others think etc?” vs “I made my decision and I’m proud of it yay!!!” Roderick, our 5 year old, will go around the dinner table and say “I love daddy, I love mommy, I love Erwin, and I love myself” and each time he does my heart explodes with pride but I'm also a little envious because I’m not sure I could say that and always truly deep down mean it. Setting our kids off with the right tools in their tool box to be able to say “I’m proud of myself” and mean it are vital and basically introduced with the shit (pardon my French!) but need to be nourished and practiced everyday so they can navigate through the sludge. So you go mama! Embrace the happy, release the shit, and let your kids train you to practice inner positivity. 🎶💃🎶