“While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about”
My daughter is almost 4. When I went on the journey of becoming a parent I tortured myself over the ‘right way’ to do things. What formula to buy, when to schedule swimming lessons, when to move our daughter into her room.
I got shamed on social media ‘I can’t believe that you’re THAT type of parent’. I was told I was going to give my daughter AIDS because we used donor milk. I was told I should have tried harder with breastfeeding, that we shouldn’t do baby-led weaning, that we shouldn’t have put her into daycare.
And then you grow a backbone. Because you know your family, you know the rhythm of your life, and for heaven’s sake, your children need to see you step into your own power.
The biggest lesson for me was LETTING GO.
Beginning to unearth a flow in my life as a woman and mother that felt less like a constricted pattern of perfection/shoulds/what-ifs — and more like a beautiful season of surrender within wider boundaries.
Here are the 10 Things I’ve Had to Let Go Of As A Parent:
- Listening to other people’s opinions of how I parent
- Judging other people and how they parent
- Strict bed-time routines
- The dream that my almost 4-year-old wasn’t sleeping in our room
- The deep desire for my kid to always having the perfect food
- The romantic idea that the more effort I put into making a meal, the more it would be devoured
- That somehow brushing my daughter’s hair would get easier and that I would feel less guilt about sending her to school with matted locks of curly blonde crusted hair.
- My husband and I would always be on the same page about parenting, approaches, etc. That I wouldn’t be the ‘discipline parent’ in our partnership. That parenting wouldn’t be such a challenge to our marriage.
- That I’m not a good enough mom, that I wouldn’t lose my mind over small things, that I would always be calm-cool-collected.
- That my house would be perfect, that birthday parties would be well-planned out, and that my daughter would have amazing craft activities. That my Instagram feed would look like a billboard of parenting perfection.
I will never have the perfect house, I’m not crafty, birthday parties stress me out, and I will forget her library books all of the time.
I am always 5-6 nights behind the daily reading log entry requirements, we always have a sink-full of dishes, and our marriage needed more communication and less judgment.
Parenting, for me, has been a giant and important lesson in letting go. Because if I don’t, then the spontaneous dance parties to Frozen won’t happen.
And that is where the essence is.
In the moments of insanity and bliss. All wrapped up in a curly-haired kid who won’t brush her hair.