Hold them while you can.
Forgive yourself, and let go of that inner voice trying to chip away at your parenting mojo. It can be relentless, as can the outside voices trying to pull you in different directions.
My little person with the huge heart and spirit is 7 this week. Yes, yes I know .. time flies and all that. I have actually never uttered those words, and I find that they can suck the joy out of your days. Please don’t let them add to the already fleeting nature of raising small children.
We all know that the days are long yet the years are short when you’re a parent.
If you focus on the little joys, the ordinary moments, this is where time slows down. This is where you find the magic.
Just be there, wherever you are. just. be. there. Climb into bed with them while they still invite you to. Gaze into their eyes before they discover the concept of personal space. Touch their creamy skin before it becomes sacred to them and your touch is no longer welcome. (I’m still in denial that this will ever happen!!)
Motherhood is everything and ‘not everything’ all at once! I am a Mother, the best Mother for my own child. I am also a whole lot more. Yes I always knew I would be a Mother, I have never been under any illusion that this was something I needed to ‘complete me’ though. I did have moments of doubt that it might not happen, throughout my 30s.
I hope never to judge another parent, it is such a fine line dancing between sharing your own life lessons and this being perceived as judgement. My life lessons are only ever shared with love and non-judgement! In the school community I have found a mix of judgement, kindness and indifference. It really is a melting pot. Many parents think they’re not judging, although it takes many forms. A look, not responding to a smile or an invite or an attempt to connect. I have seen all of this and it is judgement. I am learning so many things about Motherhood (and humans) inside the school gates!
Motherhood for me is a cherished role. It is my chance to shape and nurture another human being, the responsibility of this is huge. I have learned that it is not my role to pick him up every time he falls, hover over him, create unrealistic expectations or to dim his light in any way. I have also learned that children respect you if you have passions of your own, and that they are inspired by the way you live your life.
I adore these words from Melissa Ambrosini’s book Mastering Your Mean Girl:
“Just because you choose to fill yourself up and address your own needs doesn’t mean you love your children any less.”
Mother guilt is a powerful force. It is real and it can be relentless at wearing you down some days. Solo parenting takes this to a whole new level. “Am I doing everything I can to ensure my precious little man knows he is loved? How does he really feel about having two homes? Was there something I could or should have done to keep us all together?”
These are just some of the questions I find myself repeating. I am getting better at letting them go though, I know that I am doing the best I can in every moment. Some moments that is far from perfect. Then I remind myself there is no such thing as the perfect parent.
He is teaching me just as much as I am teaching him. He looks to me for protection and boundaries, love and unconditional affection.
I have learned that it can be isolating, especially if you’re parenting with anxiety. I have a lot of family, who don’t share my love of intimacy and the village mentality. They are not a part of our daily lives and it has taken me years to not take this personally! It still hurts my heart, I ache for them to be there for us, to care about the little moments and milestones. I understand how it feels to make it through days on end truly alone. I am stronger for it, and I am not going to let my lack or longing become my story.
The most important thing I have learned is that only you can judge you. Take care of your own heart, your own body and your own spirit so that you can be the best parent for your own child.