I haven’t talked much about my parenting style this month (probably because I haven’t talked much about parenting at all!) and I want to, but it’s hard for a couple of reasons:
- I don’t follow any one method, philosophy, modality, and it’s hard to explain anything that is all over the place
- Talking about parenting is a ripe opportunity for conflict and I’m a rampant conflict-avoider.
- cloth diapering (did it for 7 months until it was a choice between that and my sanity and my sanity won)
- natural childbirth (I wanted a 100% med free homebirth, I got an epidural free hospital birth and I’m still bound to redo that at some point even though I want no more children. Can you say surrogacy?)
shortly after that epidural free birth
- on-demand breastfeeding (did it for 23 months until he self weaned–and I was broken hearted. I was really looking forward to nursing to the point where it made other people uncomfortable)
yes, that’s my boob. you’re welcome
- babywearing (the child was attached to my body via some kind of sling, wrap, or carrier for 90% of our waking hours, and even more of our sleeping ones)
- alternative vaccination schedule (our “alternative schedule” has included zero innoculations to date, and I don’t expect that it ever will… but I remain open)
this kid doesn’t know there is a reason (needles) to be afraid of doctors.
- co-sleeping (we still do this, and I don’t have any pictures of it, because I am sleeping while it’s happening)
|gratuitous baby picture number one!|
|moby wrap–world’s greatest invention.|
I remember when I first met Naomi Aldort (and then read her book) and started trying to “be her.” Um, that was a disaster. She is a brilliant woman who says things like “a child is like the wind… Would you be angry with the wind for knocking something down or would you just accept that it is the wind?” and lives this philosophy of complete acceptance with her own children. She basically teaches that a child doesn’t need to be actively taught how to behave, they will learn all they need from observing you, but she also keeps her own kids in a 100% pure environment where they are NEVER exposed to any undesirable behavior (like they cut out all of their relatives and friends who won’t comply with their guidelines and will leave a park if other kids show up) . Once I realized that I couldn’t and wouldn’t do that I was able to forgive myself for not being her.
Fast forward to today. I screw up all the time and have moments where I am not even the best me never mind being aldort-esque, but in general I maintain a pretty high level of compassion and empathy for my kidlet and that makes me the mom I want to be.
|like this picture is really cute, but is not about accepting my child for who he is (because he is not a pumpkin)|
One tool I use to do that is derived from a self-help tool that I wish I knew who to credit for but I don’t (I got it from a friend who got it from a therapist… it’s all over the internet. and what I find hilarious about it is that there are always typos. I’ve attempted to correct them all here, but even if I didn’t catch them there is always right #5 to back me up)…
Read these, they are your personal bill of rights:
2. I have the right to. say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.
3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.
4. I have the right to change my mind.
5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
6. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe or it violates my values.
8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings or problems
10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.
11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
13. I have the right to feel scared and say ‘1’m afraid.”
14. I have the right to say ‘1 don’t know.
15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behavior.
16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.
17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
20. I have the right to be in a nonabusive environment.
21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
22. I have the right to change and grow.
23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others
24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect
25. I have the right to be happy.
And to see how I use it as a parent replace “I” with “my child.”
…and then to take it one step further to make sure no one is forgotten… Try reading it like this:
Voila. A manual not only for parenting, but for life too. Simple as that (I kid, of course).
Because it’s never that simple here are some instructions for how to use this tool:
- Print the list out and post it somewhere you will see it daily
- Read it (to yourself is fine, out loud is even better) at least once daily
- Pick two or three that stand out to you first and take note (over the course of a few days or a week) of the ways they play out in your life (these are probably the rights that you exercise most freely now)
- Pick the two or three that seem least interesting to you and start looking for the places where they show up in your life (I’d be willing to bet that these are the ones you need the most work on
- Take them one at a time (start wherever you want–the strongest, the weakest, top to bottom, whatever) and commit to learning how to practice (decide what it means to exercise each right… and then do it) them.
There, now it is simple. (ha ha)
The thing about parenting (um, life?) is that we don’t get to nor do we have to take credit or blame for the outcome. We can do our best, but our children (our lives?) will turn out to be whatever they turn out to be… and if we can love them completely for that (so they can love themselves) then we’ve done our jobs (ahem-in my opinion).
|this is an example of a person who knows he is loved.|