Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just think'n



I have been emailing with Nikki and she has me thinking a bit more about parenting...

We chat about the nature/nurture thing which she has blogged about recently but what Nikki got me thinking more about is balance - which we are ALL STRIVING to attain...

I was saying even been a parent now for 11 years I still feel I don't have the balance right. I think a lot of this is expectations I put on myself about what I need to 'achieve' and how I expect my children to be. I think the balancing act is difficult also because children are ever changing and growing... and so therefore their needs and behaviours...

So Nikki changed my thought processes and suggested...

if you are still feeling you are not getting the "balance" thing right after 11 years, maybe there is no "right". Maybe instead of feeling like we over-balance too often, we need to accept that there are times we'll do things great, and times we'll mess it all up. And that this is common and OK and normal. Rather than beat ourselves up and try harder next time, we accept that we just need to stop, realign and start again... without the self-angst... what do you think?


This was like a light bulb moment for me (why did I not think this myself?). Yes.. absolutely... yes. Yes - I work to hard to balance that I over balance. This has lead me to look at how I handle the children again.

What I think we are missing is community parenting - the support of having experienced elders and a large group of people helping each other. Families are living at much further distances from each other. Grandparents are working longer and retiring later so they are not as available to support. I also think as parents we feel 'we should' be able to get this right. We feel bad when we don't and shame - so we don't get help. Parenting is also harder because more people are leaving their homes to work. So they don't have parenting practise or the elders are not there to provide parenting support.

What are your thoughts?

I can banter on. Lets face it - life is the way it is now and we need to make it work the way it is. So I guess this comes down to finding supportive elders you trust who you can have access to. When it is hard or you feel like you are about to boil have something in place to help yourself and even the children. Maybe a phone call to someone you can talk to, or a pet you can talk to or an activity to help you keep calm. I have found in my parenting experience if I remain calm I find it a lot easier to cope. Even when the children around me seems to be falling to pieces. I also often encourage the children to take a deep breath before they blurt out the latest drama to me. Lately I have had trouble doing this.

I have gone out today and bought the book "Buddism for Parents" I have heard lots about it and think it is time I have a read of it.

12 comments:

Kelly said...

for me finding balance is about acceptance. I look to my partner to help me feel good about my parenting choices and to guide me when Im feeling insecure about my choices. For me its also about finding support in community wherever i find it- here online, with friends afar and close. And i think forgiveness and acceptance about your rules and values. Full on democratic parenting i think is the bane of us all! we have to lead and teach our children. Stay calm and focussed. You prolly know more than you think you know!

Bec said...

A lot of extended families don't live near each other either. Your dead right; it's not about being the perfect parent; if you can acknowledge when you over/under do it then you learn from that and move on. We are only human!
Not feeling alone is a big thing. Not so long ago I was out of contact with some fellow homeschoolers in that I wasn't getting any emails sent, nor phone calls nor able to attend any group meetings. I was really struggling to hold it all together. Then lo and behold in a space of a few days I caught up with them all to find out that they had ALL been going through the same struggles. After those few phone calls things suddenly seemed alot better - it wasn't just me!
Would love to know your review on Buddism for Parents....

Marita said...

I think Nikki is spot on. This was pretty much the advice I got from a Steve Beddulph lecture last year on the "Secrets of raising happy children".

I agree about the need for community support for parents, or admitting that we might need a hand. Last year my mum, sisters and best friend were lifesavers for me.

Great post Sarah

Chookyblue...... said...

I know it will never be perfect but I do the best I can at the time.........sometimes you feel like your head is just about water.......aspergers is difficult to live withat times but there are joys with it also....

Leonie Guld said...

Heres my take on the whole parenting thing. Some days are just HARD...real hard...I am sure you are aware that my situation is a little well....different. Its you MIDLINE...YOUR CENTER...that keeps you balanced. If your midline is to high you will be running around like a maniac...if you midline sits to low then you are uninvolved and withdrawn. Your midline or centre needs to sit where YOU are COMFORTABLE to RETURN to. You RETURN to it when its not crazy....thats the balance. The spot you RETURN to. The monks have a saying....Practice stillness, sitting down, standing up and running. The pace is irrelevant...its the position of your midline or your center that is important. If it is to high or to low you will topple over. Somedays I don't find peace until I have put my head on the pillow...thats ok because I have been on the run for a reason, those kids need looking after and I need to care for them. If I can find peace for 5 min's a day thats FANTASTIC because some people don't find any peace in a lifetime!!! Keep the whole balance thing real and practical!! Balance is not balance when it is forced. xx

Kris said...

This is interesting! We were just talking about this today. Jess and I were visiting with a homeschooling friend who has two with aspergers. We kind of came at this question of balance from a different direction. Such great expectations are put on mothers today, both from the outside and by mothers themselves. It makes everything we do so much harder I think. We came to the same conclusion though. We just can't do everything or be everything. And then we have to accept that. I have to say that I like where Steve Biddulph comes from in the parenting debate. I read his book when Jess was a toddler and it really changed the way I viewed her. The way I interpreted her actions. It also made me feel calmer as a mother. I think that is very important. I sometimes move away from that calmness and things do feel more "right" when I get back to it.

Most importantly, don't beat yourself up over it. Just start again.

Deb said...

That is so interesting to read this post Sarah. I think a lot of the time as parents we just need to give ourselves permission to relax and then realise we are just normal human beings, not super beings. We expect far too much of ourselves and a lot of the time we judge ourselves on others. We do just need to be ourselves and be happy to accept that we achieve what we can and tomorrow is always another day.
We are all wonderful women and especially we are wonderful Mum's
hugs Deb

Jantine said...

Thank you for sharing this! I recognize your feelings and indeed it is about knowing you do what you can and sometimes it doesn't seem enough. Just keep starting fresh every day! I do have the same problems and with a 10year old with PDD-NOS and ADHD I think I know how you feel sometimes!

Jodie said...

My love, I have to agree.... Maybe there is no perfect balance. Maybe every single day of parenting is on an ocean... some days calm, some days wild (and currently at my house it is tsunami).
Maybe it is about finding whats suits you , what is "balance " for you and just working with that.
Be kind to yourself.

Tammy James said...

Ahh that Nikki is a wise woman isn't she!

Nikki Cardigan said...

Isn't it amazing how speaking with others can help lift the haze... help to find some clarity and some normality*. I am nodding big nods at your thoughts about community and support. Having someone listen and care and drink tea with and tell you things will be OK is invaluable. Just knowing there is someone watching out for you.

I think blogging has helped bring a bit of community into my life. "Meeting" people who I would never have met. People who say they are still looking for balance after 11 years and get me thinking in ways that help me feel better about myself. Thankyou Sarah xxx



*as for the idea of "normal" and "normality", I mean in the sense that so long as you can find one other person who feels like you, that makes you normal!!!

Leanne said...

Life is short and then you die....so enjoy it don't waste time on things that are not important. Lucas' room is like a brothel I could yell and scream about it but I don't why waste time arguing over it. He cleans it occasionally. I never go in there for fear that I might be taken by a rat. I have a friend who always ranted to her son about his room they argues and argues and then one day they had an argument and he left the house both angry with each other. He was in an accident and didn't come home was a tidy room worth it. Enjoy your kids they will all be grown up soon. Nobody is perfect.