PARENTING MIGHT ALSO BE DISCIPLINING YOURSELF
I just got off the phone with my mother 15 minutes after I left my therapists office. It was perfect timing. Like, to the millisecond. I was just about to download the audible book “Simplicity Parenting” when my mother schooled me in parenting right through the speaker of my cracked iPhone. It was like, “bingo!”. There was simplicity in her words, but a tremendous lesson. And it was like a light bulb went off. And here’s why.
I still don’t know what I’m doing y’all, and I’m 8 years into parenting. Like sometimes I’m a Momboss high five-ing myself because I’m nailing it. And other times, it’s as if I don’t have a single clue. I have great instinct, I usually go with my gut, I follow my heart and I lead with love. That’s about it. The rest of it is just messy. But here’s what Mom said that really kicked me in the face.
She said “Honey, you’re going to have to discipline YOU. You’re going to have to get tough. And it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight.”
Sigh. Discipline myself?
I do that everyday. Can’t be too hard I said to myself as I told Mom “yeah yeah I totally get it.”
But here’s the thing. She’s right.
Shit. She’s always freaking right about this stuff. Always.
So let me back up. I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to my babies. I just am. I’m a bit of a cuddler. A lover. A squeezer. A kisser. A hold you in my arms forever kind of mama. No apologies here. That’s just who I am. And that’s great.
But my kids are not listening as of late. By this I mean the twins are 4 and are running this house like it’s a circus on wheels and I can barely catch my breath. It’s like having Dennis the Menace times two every hour on the hour. It’s chaotic. And hard. On me, the marriage, life. And my boys are cute. Like super cute. And I can’t be so soft all the time to my cute little shits that I love forever. Mama has to tighten the whip tighter. And even tighter than I think. Tighter than I’m comfortable with. Awkwardly tight. So tight that you can see on their faces that they get it. That they need to take mama seriously. That mama means business. That mama isn’t playing around. That mama loves them fierce, but they have to respect mama. Or mama’s gonna lose it. And then we all lose. And that is the honest truth. Note to self.
When my Mother stated this to me so simply about how parenting is very straight forward, it made very mature sense. Not that I hadn’t heard some form of this before, but as I age and as I gain years of parenting under my belt, I realize the only constant in parenting is change. And we have to be willing to look inward and pull and stretch and go where we must go in order to raise the best humans possible. And it made me realize that my work is not done. Not even close. So, I birthed them, fed them, grew them, nurtured them, potty trained them, taught them everything. And I’m only getting started. Exhale. And in order to simplify parenting, there needs to be some hard boundaries, some more order, and some more honesty with myself in how disciplined I am to do the deed. So here’s my plan of action.
Yes, disciplining me, is step 1.
Readying my poker face and toughening my soft spots to be less soft at moments I need to be less soft, is paramount. It’s first and foremost and it’s not going to be easy. And remaining consistent with this on the daily is only going to help the situation as they will begin to routinely see things changing.
Creating a simpler kind of space, is step 2.
Space. Our home, our people, our routine. Less is more. Less junk. Less toys. Less perfection of a schedule. Less running around endlessly. More creativity. More conversation. More outdoors, more observation, more imagination. More exploration. It sounds like a lot, but it’s really not. It’s just not what’s current.
More time off my device, step 3.
Sometimes I think I need to always be on my device because I might miss an email, or a call, or let’s just be honest, a post. But truthfully, we’re not missing anything. It can wait. And the children learn from you. They observe, they learn, they repeat. (See where that discipline comes in?) I know. It’s hard. I’m not excited about it either. But what if you turn off and you go outside and dig for worms. Or build a fort. Or try painting even if you suck at it. Or go for a drive till you find a river. And walk through it.
Balance, step 4
There’s no such thing. But here’s the deal. Nobody, including myself expects for me to be swinging from branches starting tomorrow and cut off the internet indefinitely. But my intentions must be set in motion to create a substantial shift in the household. Once I put that into motion, I must balance my life accordingly. I might fall on my face. I may suck at change. Or I might succeed gracefully and raise amazing humans. Either, way, I’ll shoot for balance and that’s the whole damn point.
I go pretty hard on myself in a lot of ways, but these kids are the next generation of humans to make their stamp on the world. I want them to be kind, considerate, well behaved, compassionate and well rounded. And sometimes we need a push back. And that’s why I’m here writing it to you today. So good luck to me. And you, if you’re on this train. K, love you bye.