We’re going to stick to the parenting theme this month and here’s why:
- I am suddenly spending a lot less time with my sweet son (because of my new job/and the resulting commute and our new parenting plan/weekend-share-schedule-nightmare) and I want the time we have together to be of the highest quality possible… starting now, not next month, now.
- Even though I am not supposed to be trying to do it all… I can certainly do more than one thing at once! I can still write my morning pages, practice daily meditation, have conversations with my inner teacher, etc. etc. etc. all while focusing on parenting. I can, in fact, meditate on and talk to my inner teacher about parenting… so that’s what I will do.
- I am going to see the Dalai Lama on Saturday, April 21… which is the first scheduled day of the spiritually focused month. Um… yeah… that couldn’t be any more perfect if I had planned it (which my subconscious did, I suppose).
Isn’t life amazing when I stop and think about my inklings/decisions before taking action on them?
Yes. The answer is yes.
I recently read another blog post/article about children and change… that I won’t share here because it wasn’t good enough for me to endorse it, but it was so timely considering my post from Monday and some of what has been brought to the forefront of my awareness about change and my child. Here’s what I’ve been thinking.
My child (yes, spiderman, and yes… he really goes by that outside of the blog world) is a change machine! He is quite possibly the single most resilient being on earth. How couldn’t he be?! six of the moves I mentioned on Monday have been during the course of his life (he’ll be five in two months… you do the math), he’s gone to five different child care center/preschools since the age of four months (and changed classrooms at several of them more than once), and in the last three years he went from living in a home with both of his parents, to living in two homes with separate parents, to living with both parents again, and finally to living exclusively with me outside of regular visits with his dad.
I lived in the same house for the first 18 years of my life. I went to one preschool, two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The kid already has me beat. And to be completely honest, I feel so much guilt and shame for this. I used to think I craved the changes I have since associated with escapism fantasy because my life was relatively static as a child… I have certainly prevented my child from feeling like his life is standing still… and I can only hope that doesn’t result in the same distracted numbing that the changes have provided me over the years.
This divorce, although obviously having an impact on his little nervous system, is something he’s approached as if it were normal. If I am in any way responsible for creating his “normal” (which I think I can, but you can tell me I’m not and I’ll believe you) then I may not have done the best job.
The biggest parenting truth I know right now is that no matter what I say, he will only learn from what I do. That’s a hard one folks… so I’ll repeat it again. No matter what I say (no matter how many times I explain the merits of healthy eating), he will only learn from what I do (which historically has been to make very poor food choices). And it applies far beyond anything food related…
Things spiderman probably thinks are normal (and I’ll include things here that I am completely comfortable with and totally ashamed of and not identify which are which… you can guess in the comments section, we’ll make it a game!) either because he’s experienced them or observes me doing them:
- moving to a new home annually
- sleeping with your mom/parents
- living with both parents, and then not… intermittently
- eating pizza five days a week (okay, i’m going to come out of the shame closet here to clarify that when this has happened it has been because of poor communication between all care providers, it’s not because i ever knowingly feed him pizza five days a week)
- being surgically attached to an iPhone
- picking your nose in the car
- having a dirty house
- hoarding trash in the guise of collecting things for art projects
- having your butt wiped (or clothing be taken on/off, or really anything you can actually do by yourself but you don’t want to and your mother is an enabler) by another person
- eating “meals” in every room/on every surface of the house except for the dining room/table
- making very dramatic noises when injured by clumsiness
- eating food that comes to you through the car window (some of these are from the past)
I’m sure I could go on… I guess, the bottom line is that I know that he’s watching, and sometimes it scares me to think about what he learns from that. And then when I stop to ask myself if it should scare me to think about what I am doing to myself that makes it possible for him to learn it, sometimes the answer is yes. Ouch. So, if I want my son to learn to love himself I have to teach him by loving myself? Wowza.
…and then I stomp my feet and curse and whine and act like a total baby because life is hard, and why can’t it just be easy, and why can’t I just get away with doing whatever I want and still get everything I want… and and and and… and then I remember he’s watching and the cycle continues…