I’ve been going crazy, and that’s because I’ve been going about this all wrong.
I’ve learned that I was looking at parents on both sides of the autonomy fence- The totally free-range, no screentime limits, no bedtimes, not food rules side….and the respectful but strict routine, no-TV, Waldorf side….and imagining that ONE of them must be “right.”
Because that is not what it is about at all.
Parenting is, as you may know, not about selecting the correct category of rules or methods of discipline. It is about being in a relationship.
Gentle parenting tips and methods are helpful stepping stones, to build your parenting relationship from the get-go, or to transition out of less peaceful and respectful ways of treating your children.
But it’s not sustainable unless and until you have learned to be present with yourself.
To be real. Authentic. Mindful. Conscious. Aware. and Awake.
These are the only things that matter, in the end.
And I think they are almost impossible when we are trying to “put on” ANY kind of parenting, perhaps even the most authoritarian and damaging styles. When we are trying to choose actions that align with some “method,” we are almost by default, not being authentically present with the moment.
We are thinking, I need to say this to get that result.
Or, Such and such book says this is the key to respectful kids with good manners.
And we can’t be thinking those thoughts at the same time we are thinking What is happening in my body right now? What am I feeling? What is my child feeling? What do I need? What does he need?
It’s not possible.
So trying to be a “Free/Yes” parent was ultimately no more helpful than trying to be a “Waldorf- rhythm” mama, in that trying to BE anything just took me away from myself and the moment.
The skills, plans, schedules, phrases, methods, and mindsets of each can be extremely helpful, especially as we attempt to change our parenting paradigms away from the mainstream or cultural expectations.
But ultimately, what makes the difference is PRESENCE.
Half way through a 30 Day experiment in logistics, I wake up again to the realization it’s just about humanity.
Being a human, fully there, is the best way to get the best “results” from another human.
It’s that simple…
And it’s that incredibly hard.
There are many many things that keep us from being fully present, from physically distracting iPhones to the full baggage of our own histories, pressing in and shrinking us away from wanting to feel whats really happening in any moment.
But if there is anything I am convinced is true, it is this: The inner work of healing IS the hard work of parenting, and it IS the answer to just about every question parenting might bring.
I’ll be shifting into this topic more deeply for the rest of the experiment, and I welcome your feedback!