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Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

Boiling it Down

My main goal as a parent is to be able to provide an environment for the kids in which they have as much freedom as possible to develop into the people they were born to be. I want them to feel safe, and supported and free to experience their internal worlds. I want them to grow up secure in the knowledge of who they are. I want them to know from the very depths of their beings that they are okay just as they are, that their true feelings are always acceptable, and that they don’t have to do anything or be anything to have value. I want them to be able to trust themselves.

I sat my older two down the other day and told them that it was very important that they understand that I do not care what they do with their lives as long as it is something that they want to do. I don’t care if they marry young or never marry or if they live in a basement apartment and collect cats or become investment bankers, or move to another country or have loads of money or have none, or develop an obsessive interest in Star Wars figurines or hoard things or live in a commune, as long as they are actively making those choices. I don’t want them hurting other people, but otherwise, it’s their own life to live. One of the worst things I can imagine is one of them unable to live happily because of their worry of What Mother Would Think.

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Photo courtesy of L, from one of her diving trips.

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My mama and I have as complicated a relationship as any other pair of different yet similar kinfolk do, and it’s been further complicated by choices both of us have made. I fled home as quickly as I could in my teen years, trying to put distance between me and the overwhelming murkiness of our family’s unspoken tensions, but, not surprisingly, much of what I did as a young adult was in reaction to the kind of person I perceived my mother to be.

That rather cryptic admission aside, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I live my life, what sorts of values I want to pass on to my children, that sort of thing, and it’s with growing appreciation that I’m realizing how many of those values, most of which I’ve arrogantly given myself full credit for coming up with, were things I learned from my mother.

Tolerance is a good example. Two of my mom’s favorite sayings were “Isn’t it wonderful that we’re all so different?” and “Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?” I used to  look at her in annoyance, thinking that no, it would be a much better world if people were more like me, which just goes to show that it was me that  must have been more than a little difficult to tolerate at times. Patience is a virtue that I wasn’t born with, but it is something my mother has buckets of. She’s also the least judgemental person I’ve ever met. I have to work hard at non-judgementalness, because of my tendency to believe so strongly in what I do. She’s able to have a good time, my mother, and has always been able to put things into their proper perspective. “Like water off a duck’s back” is the way she put it when I wondered aloud why she didn’t Do Something Already about an irksome comment or an annoying event. Gak, I would think, she’s so…..so….so…..PASSIVE! There was no way I was ever going to be like that. It’s only taken me 25 years to admit that big chunks of my life would have gone much more smoothly if I could have let at least some things go. My mom never fought for her place, never demanded what was rightfully hers, and as a young girl, it angered me. I now have a greater understanding of what she faced, and I admire her for her resilience.

‘There are two sides to every coin”, my mother would say, and it’s with that in mind that I’m gaining an appreciation for the things that I never understood about her life.

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Back on Track

All I needed was a good night’s sleep. Well, two in row, actually, plus a day off school.

The kids did no school work this morning, and spent the bulk of their time outside, where their shrieking couldn’t reach me. After lunch we went to the pool, and they spent 2 hours splashing around with 5 other kids, while my friend and I huddled by the pool stairs, venting our spleens. I did a couple of laps, managed to ignore my children completely, and now I feel completely rejuvenated.

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