In a sea of information overload, how do we find our own voices as mothers and human beings? I was contemplating this article by Stephen Covey and the creation of voice. He speaks about what “voice” is, and what this could mean in an organizational context. However, I was pondering this question more in relation to parenting and mothering.
First of all, there has to be a period of listening intuitively to oneself without a lot of input. In general, this seems to be non- existent for many people simply because it is so easy to just fire off a question in a chatroom or on Facebook and get quick and easy input from many people. However, I think it is so important to be able to find one’s own center. How do I *really* feel about this decision that has to be made, how this situation unfolded, about my reaction to this situation? When we apply this over years of parenting, we often need periods of silence and “away” when our children are leaping through large developmental changes and we feel as if the sand is shifting under out feet. Then we learn over time what our voice really has to say. We learn to know ourselves.
The events leading up to single decisions often take at least a few nights to settle, to hear what one’s gut really says, and then perhaps to get input from your trusted partner or a trusted friend. Time also applies over years though – it can take years of experiences to really form your general mothering style and voice and priorities. It takes time, error, sometimes mistakes and unpleasant experiences and is constantly being refined. That is parenting in the real world.
It is so easy in the beginning of mothering or every time your child changes developmentally to want to do what everyone else is doing. I mean, after all, in the superficial world, it often looks as if it is working out grandly due to XYZ choice(s). Look at all those beautiful blogs of beautiful lives and perfect children. However, people only put what they want people to see on the Internet. Remember that everyone has triumphs and struggles and some people are more private than others. Only you know your partner, your child, your family dynamics. Don’t be afraid to be different!
Make sure your decisions are aligned with your values. If you have a mission statement of any kind, that can be a great place to check out your decision against your values.
Finally, take the action with decisions that clearly align your life with your values. This is what shows your voice more clearly than any words ever could. It shows what you believe.
Please share with me about finding your parenting voice.
This is fantastic. It is so supremely helpful to have alternative viewpoints from someone with confidence and conviction. In other words, reading dozens and dozens of articles on this blog has had in itself an enormous impact on my ability to make parenting decisions that feel right. It’s still difficult to go against the grain and be different, but I do know you’re right, that the “right” answer is usually (or even always) within, if we can just trust it. It’s easier said than done but I keep trying to do more decision-making with heart than head.
All best to you,
Thank you. I needed this. It can be overwhelming reading all the books, articles and blogs, worrying about doing it right. Backing off and listening to our owns voices can be so empowering. I totally agree with the part about perfect looking lives online as my husband and i have been questioning ourselves lately. Our son’s behaviour has really declined and surprised us, and we’re sat here thinking about these lives we see online and wonder how we’ve gotten it so wrong when our life looks nothing like theirs. I feel this causes unrealistic expectations of ourselves as parents and of what we expect of our kids. Great post. Xx
As parents we want so much to do the right thing for our children that we begin to question ourselves, particularly if someone we see as an external authority has a conflicting viewpoint to our own, or is telling us to do things differently. It is hard sometimes to recognise that we have moved away – sometimes far away – from our own values. These days, everyone seems to have an opinion on parents and how children should be raised. As you say, it is information overload. But until we return to an internal locus of evaluation we will never feel confident in our parenting. We will be forever adrift in the stormy seas, not knowing which direction is right for us. I imagine we all need to heed this message and to tune out the cacophony of viewpoints until we can hear our own voice once more. Thank you for the reminder.