“At the baby’s birth, we start from level 0. Both parent and child then progress and grow, learning together, learning about each other. Even with your 2nd and 3rd child, you start from 0 again, because each child is different.”
Wise words from the beautiful Rimi Yoshida, a Body Code and Emotion Code practitioner.
As adults we see ourselves as an authority to our children… why is this so? Who gave us the authority to make ourselves the authority? We start the same time they start! From Level 0! Which makes parent and child partners instead.
Partners learn to get along with each other. Partners negotiate. Partners argue and make up. Partners love each other deeply despite differences. Partners respect each other and learn to communicate with each other.
Let’s free ourselves from getting stuck in an Authoritarian role. It is tiring and stressful to pretend to know everything. Acknowledge this partnership. Partnering is a journey that encompasses adaptability and flexibility, allowing it to be fun and fulfilling for all.
“WATCH OUT!!!” I yelled.
My heart stopped 2 beats as I watched my 3 month old dangle off the bed frame. It was a 2.5 foot drop to the floor. My Mother In Law spun around and grabbed her in time. I was breathing heavily rapidly. I wanted to pull my hair out. I wanted to grab something and shake it hard. I wanted to scream and cry. All through the day and into the night, flashes of the incident constantly replayed in my mind. “What if she had fallen off and fractured her skull? What if she had twisted her neck and died? What if she became permanently damaged?” went on and on like a broken record.
That night for the first time, Lia kept crying incessantly. It wasn’t like her. She’d usually fall asleep in 20 minutes, but tonight she was howling for no apparent reason. She wasn’t sickly, she wasn’t uncomfortable, she was sleepy for sure.
What was going on?
After 2 hours she finally surrendered and fell asleep after some really hard rocking. Still, she’d wake up occasionally and continue sobbing. I lay down beside her, events from the afternoon still replaying in my head. Maybe she’s disturbed like I am. Maybe she’s disturbed by me. Maybe she senses my internal chaos and upset. I had to let this go, move on. I was still holding on to the shock when I didn’t need to. I was still holding on to blame for my MIL. The truth is, nothing happened in reality, but the story continued in our heads (My MIL was still blaming herself).
I’m living in a past that’s passed, and a future that isn’t happening.
Soon, Lia fell peacefully asleep and didn’t wake until her next feed.
“We need to give birth to a new vision of parenting. This vision would be based on what we know about the special bond between parent and child, through which even ordinary communication is a sacrament. It would be based on the reverance for what our children can bring to us, as well as what we can bring to them.
By their light, we see what is hurt and hidden within ourselves, and we open creatively to new ways of responding to problems. Through them, we understand that parenting is a spiritual process in which we get back tenfold the love we give.
This is different from old models of parenting, which have been parent centered and based on the idea that the parent is a static figure, all-seeing and all-knowing. It is also different from newer models of parenting that are excessively child-centered and equally out of balance.
We are reaching toward a new model in which the parent-child relationship is at the center. The emphasis is on maintaining the quality of the relationship rather than serving the needs of one person at the expense of the other.
Many of us parents are entranched in our own view of the world. We don’t think of our child-rearing problems as harbingers of healing. Often what we see is disrespectful, uncooperative children who make life difficult for us.
Even when we are in conflict with them-perhaps especially then- children can give us information about ourselves that we can’t get any other way. Our children can be a light for us if we let them.
We take a step toward conscious parenting when we understand how our painful moments with our children can become a road map for our own healing journey. Follow the map, and we don’t have to walk over the same broken ground over and over again. We can find a new path.”
~ Giving The Love That Heals by Harville Hendrix Ph.D and Helen Lakelly Hunt, Ph.D.
As parents, we romanticize what it means to be a mother or a father. We imagine how our children will turn out because of what wonderful, patient, giving and wise parents we would be. However more often than not, the reality of parenting is different from what we visualize and dream of. When the gap between fantasy and reality gets too large, we find ourselves struggling with the truth – stress, frustration, self-blame happens as we begin to wonder where it all went wrong. Marriages take a turn for the worse when finger pointing begins.
Where do I need to get real with myself about the fantasies of parenting I might be harboring? I have to admit that I imagine my daughter engaging in intelligent dialogues with me as I impart wise life lessons to her, packing up her toys after playing because she practices discipline, and respecting nature on our hikes.
Somehow at this point, the crucial questions come rushing in. Listing it down makes we wonder why I have these fantasies. What am I hoping to prove to myself? Why is this fantasy important? Am I trying to make up for what I didn’t get to experience in my own childhood with my parents?
I guess being happy on this journey of parenting means letting go of these notions. Let us not open the door to invite disappointment in. Take a deep breath, inhale courage and peace, let it all go, and open my mind and heart to what might be. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We will forge our journey as we walk the path together.
Parenting’s tricky enough. Conscious parenting? Sounds daunting.
Where do I even start? Is it possible? Is it just an ideal that sounds great on paper but not in practice? Good lord what does it even mean?
I didn’t where to start. I’m afraid of even trying because I might fail. Then I realized that maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Parenting (conscious or not) is a journey. Every day, every interaction, every incident is a lesson. Lessons that teach me about me, and me about her. Why do we expect things to be consistent and perfect? We are in flux all the time. I’ll never get Me right, or Her right all the time. Our decisions are greatly affected by our moods and the events that happen around us. So… can I allow that change? Can I allow lessons? Can I let go of the need to have to get it right all the time?
Maybe the answer lies in understanding that this conscious parenting thing is a journey, not a destination or a checkbox. That progress and setbacks can coexist. That I don’t have the right answers or make the right decision every time. That a journey entails trial and error, and requires a bold mix of humility, guts, authenticity and love.