Sometimes I wonder why we make parenting so hard on ourselves. Seriously! Do the indigenous tribes of the world sit around and read a million books on breastfeeding, and then co-sleeping and then how to parent and how to be gentle and educational methods and how to raise productive citizens? No, of course not. They have each other, they have traditional ways of doing things, they have elders who help, they have huge close communities.
Our problem is that we have lost our way in our society and we are re-creating the parenting wheel ourselves, bit by bit, in our own homes. The wonderful book “The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker” by Manfred Schmidt-Brabant is precisely about this subject. We have lost so much of the intrinsic, the from the heart parenting, that sometimes we wonder if we will ever see it again. And in the meantime, our children look to us to lead and to guide and to love and to cherish them.
Here are some rules of simplicity in parenting that really struck me tonight:
Love your child. Hold your child, tell them you love them, breastfeed them, sleep with them, be close to them. Look at the world from their eyes, but do not assume they feel about things as you do or understand the things you understand – they are not a miniature extension of you, they have not had your experience, they have a different consciousness! Respect them, and also respect them enough to know when they need you and your gentle help to guide them.
Enjoy life and be confident in your life! Enjoy your children. Don’t you think they know when in your heart you feel irritable, trapped, resentful, wondering where your life is? If you cannot enjoy this life that you were given, please, please, help yourself out. Discuss your feelings with your spouse and with your extended family, find a friend to talk to, find a mother’s helper for a few hours each day, talk to a counselor, go see a doctor to rule out any physical causes of depression, create a community for yourself. Your children deserve a whole human being, a whole beautiful and wonderful and wise woman to take care of them!
Re-frame your own attitude. Parenting should not be the end of your life; parenting is just the beginning! Find things for you that you need to do to be that whole person, work with your spouse or a friend to make it happen, but also realize this is BIGGER than just you; this is not all about you; it is about these wonderful spiritual beings that decided to come and be with you and be a part of your family! Family is a bigger and more beautiful thing than you alone!
Know that you set the tone in your home. Men do things differently than women, they parent differently; so why nag? Where and what does nagging get you? Model and set the tone. Healthy eating, healthy sleeping, healthy communication, rest, peacefulness, fun together, joy, being outside: the keys to a healthy life no matter what your age!
Find the positive. Find the positive intent. Instead of assuming the worst of your children, your spouse, the friends you thought you had, assume something positive. Assume the people who love you want to help you, that they do support you and understand you. Cut those people some slack; we are not perfect beings in this perfect world! Maintain some of a feeling of joy and innocence regarding your world, it is possible! Look at the possible needs behind your child’s behavior and don’t discuss it with them, for heaven’s sake, but use it to help guide your child! Uplift your child, move and dance with them and love them to where they are supposed to be in life and who they are unfolding to be!
Love your children, love yourself and love each other. Simplicity in parenting!
Blessings to you all,