How to Parent

ice cream togetherI had a major “duh!” moment a couple of weeks ago when it came to parenting. I was shelving parenting books at the bookstore where I work. I tried to remember when the last time I read a parenting book. Other than William Martin’s “The Parent’s Tao Te Ching” (it’s more short meditations on parenting than a how to).  I have gotten rid of every parenting book I used to own. I flipped through the pages of a few of the books on the shelf and started to get that feeling when you know something suddenly make sense.

I stopped parenting months ago.

….and this was a great thing. Let me explain, A was born into the world when blogs were just taking off, there were so many parenting blogs. It was easy to be seduced by what other people’s lives looked like. Many of them spent time telling you how they had success and what to do to have the same “life”. It was really easy to confuse home decorating and architecture for parenting choices. It was easy to stress over every detail of our life and how it would effect A.

But lately things have been really good. I’m not saying my child is a saint, just that I’ve backed off trying to parent some way I’m “supposed” instead I’ve just been focusing on being a good version of me. You know what happened? Life kept going, the house started being less messy, we had more fun together, a farm was planted, a long first draft was written, a boy learned to read.

Am I suggesting that everyone stop with the check lists and timeouts? No, I’m just saying that for me the best thing was to focus on being me, not trying to force myself (and the rest of the family to not be themselves). As soon as we let our natural personalities be love and respect for each other took over. Do what feels natural not what someone else does.

Don’t try to be me or anyone else, there isn’t a recipe I can give you for that, just accept who you are, and who your kids are, and focus on being that person. It might be messy and a little scary to let go of your expectations but life is better if you aren’t trying to be someone you aren’t.

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