Thursday, May 27, 2010

DAY 89 - Parenting 201

           Parenting backwards ...             

   Photo courtesy of Google Images

While doing Conscious Living and learning to take care of ourselves with more care, Darleen has been listening, and hopefully supporting Jan in her trials and tribulations with parenting.

Jan does still have 3 of her 5 children at home, in various stages of teenage and entering adulthood phases. As well her 2 eldest, have just in the past year ventured off on their own. This is a difficult time for a mother. Oh yes, it is what we live and breathe for - to raise the children to be self sufficient and on their own. We often find ourselves dreaming of our house and hearth being back to House Beautiful magnificence. Laundry will be finally done, our milk carton will never have just one drop left in the fridge - oh life will again be perfect. The love of our life husband will return to being the sex god and romance will sweep us off our feet. And then we wake up.

Life will never return to BC (before children), and we will never STOP being a MOTHER. We will continue to hold tight to these children, and not want to let them go. How can they be ready to make their own decisions. Heck, we barely feel able to make our own decisions some days. We feel a urge to help them along their way, and prevent them from making mistakes - particularly the same mistakes as we made. If only so we do not have to relive them again and again.

BUT ... they don't want our help, and as gently as possible, let us know - and sometimes this can involve some very heated discussions. Texting has only added the ability to really let them know, just one more time about the errors of their ways. Facebook and other social media allows us a 'peek' into their lives. It is frightening to admit that they are acting with the same rash irresponsible behaviour, at times - as we did at that age. Did we teach them nothing?

And we remember - the years of raising them. And the errors we made, and wonder if only we had done a better job at Parenting 101. Of course it was a learn as you go program, and we had to keep working with what we had created. Not like a piece of clay that you can roll into a ball and start over again.

It can be darn depressing to look back, even though they are all still in one piece and functioning on their own. These thoughts entered my Conscious Thinking as I read the chapter on Parenting in The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. 

Gretchen discusses how the month of April is her chosen month to concentrate on being a better mother/parent to her young children. Memories of my own parenting flooded in, while reading this chapter. At first I was filled with depressive thoughts of how I had failed as a mother, and how lucky Gretchen is to have 'got it' earlier in life than I had. My children most likely will require years of therapy and new age medications to deal with the faulty mothering they experienced. Ugh..

But .. suddenly I saw myself mirrored in her discoveries - even the same books that she happened to find as her guiding lights - Siblings Without rivalry and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk    by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I read those books when my girls were the same ages as her girls. And also - HOW TO TALK SO TEENS WILL LISTEN & LISTEN SO TEENS WILL TALK. WOW!

I was put at ease, that just maybe,  I had done at least not any worse than Gretchen is doing NOW.  I saw similarities to how everyday occurrences get in the way, with our best laid plans to be the BEST mother - and we snapped at the kids, or said "because I said so!" BUT most days we did  a good job of being a Conscious good mother, and tried to be a little better each day.
We both practiced the 'Acknowledge The Reality OF Peoples Feelings' - even when they are only 2 years old.  Many of Gretchen's experiences, challenges and joys have been almost identical to mine.

Be A Treasure House of Happy Memories
Yes this part of the chapter, particularly hit a tender spot with me. I recalled and realized that I had done this with just a natural knowing it was something we needed. Many of my daughters lives was spent with me as a single mother - maybe that made Happy Memories and our own special traditions more important.

I recalled how our special stories have become family happy memories, and the statement  - Love YOU 2 Much, was created by my  2 year old twins. 
It is now engraved on my Mothers Day gifts.
How we did not sing as much as Gretchen - we DANCED!

Sometimes You Just Gotta Dance  
- tomorrow, I will share a story of a  special dance. 

Today, I share with you my latest Epiphany on the road to Happiness.  
An AH HA moment. I suddenly realized that looking backwards with focus on the moments of happiness, and how I created or encouraged - that I lost my sense of dread and feelings of failure. 
I am a good Mother!! 
I will be an even better Grandma!!

Jan,  I expect, can recall the many times of happiness with her children grown,  and still at home. Doing so, makes it maybe a teensy bit easier to let them go out into the world without us.
As long as they have a fully charged cell phone, that we can text them!

It seems easier at times to see our mistakes, but the happiness is in remembering our special moments  and holding on tight.

Shake it Baby

Getting older may be  just the place to be
            - as soon as we get the hang of it!!

...darleen & jan

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