Are you parenting with purpose?
Before I get into more detail let’s look at my parenting journey. I was a fairly young parent starting out, something that I am truly grateful for, but I do realise most have very little control over this. Having a baby, like most other things, came easy to me; no great fuss, we decided we wanted a baby and it pretty much happened instantly. Great you may think but sometimes you get more than you bargain for! I have never been the most patient person and I guess I am rather selfish by nature, so my introduction into parenthood was anything but smooth. In actual fact I fought it all the way but being young it meant that life could still kick the stubbornness out of me. I was gifted with a perfect baby girl who made it her life mission to challenge all the parts of me that needed it.
The early weeks of being a new parent were probably the most difficult adjustment I have had to make in my life. You are thrown into an unknown world with little or no preparation for what you are doing. Normal daily functions become a luxury (even eating a meal is a challenge) and sleep you can forget about completely! It is amazing what sleep deprivation can do to a person. My early days of being a mom are somewhat of a blur. Certain things I think I have chosen to block from my memory but what I can say for sure is that I have grown immensely as a parent and a person since those early days.
We have moved on somewhat since those early days, two children later and hopefully a fair amount wiser! I do feel that it is valuable to take stock and assess how far I have come as a parent and for that matter as a person! So what kind of parent am I? Well I am neither a helicopter parent, who watches their child’s every move, nor am I the standby and watch-it-happen-type. I feel that I am somewhere in the middle. My decision quite a while ago was never to push my children into things they did not want to do. Do not get me wrong, I care very much whether my children succeed or fail but they need to choose what they fail or succeed at. I once made the fatal error of encouraging (ok pushing!) my eldest to take dance lessons, until one day I enquired whether she was enjoying it. Her little face turned to mine with a rather anxious expression “no mom” – when I asked why she was doing dancing if she was not enjoying it, her very innocent but alarming response was “I am doing it for you”!!!
This event was all the wakeup call I needed; my decision from that day forward was to never push my children but rather to encourage them. I see it every day, parents pushing and driving their children to the brink of near exhaustion, trying to be the best at everything. You really have to ask yourself whether it is all worth it? Will it make them better people in the long run? Probably not; very successful possibly, but well-rounded I don’t think so!
So what am I getting at? Well when I started out as a parent I had no idea where I wanted my parenting journey to lead to, but along the way I have come to realise that my duty as a parent is to be an advisor rather than a dictator, which does not come easy to me because I like to be in control. It may not be perfect but I want to let my children experience life for themselves, not some version that I have orchestrated for them.
Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself. ~ Deborah Reber, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
Teaching our children to be independent and stand on their own two feet will better equip them for life once they have to face the big wide world on their own. As parents we need to be on hand and ready to pick up the pieces if necessary but it is by living life that lessons are learned.
Parenting with purpose is something I am very passionate about and while I may not be a professional or do not have all the answers, I do feel that I have knowledge to impart and want to share my insights with you in the hope that it will be of some help in your parenting journey!
I would love hear from you – what has been the hardest part of your parenting journey and what has it taught you?
Too read more of my parenting insights click here