My Beautiful Struggle + [time]

Parenting non-advice

In my meager 5ish years of parenting, I've reduced everything to 2 basic ideas could help me be the world's best mom if I would listen to my own non-advice. Both are counter-intuitive (and at their root, they are the exact same thing).These gems were handed to me and if I were Hallmark, I'd put them on the back of every baby shower card I sold.

1. They feel what you feel.

2. Sleep begets sleep. (More about this another day).

My kids know when I'm rushed, when I'm frustrated, when I just want some time alone - and they won't let me wallow in it. During the moments I'm at my wits end, it's because they're at their wits end. I'm pushing them away and they feel the shrug - and grab tightly at my attention.

When I'm happy-go-lucky, no-sense-crying-over-spilled-almond-milk? They are too. They roll with the punches. They feel what you feel.

This is why the morning rush when you feel frantic seems to go even more disastrously. The kids feel the impending deadline and buckle under the pressure. Yet when I nonchalantly ask them to suit up as if we have all day, they react with less laces that "won't tie" and zippers that "won't pull." By feeling relaxed, I've enabled them to feel relaxed.

This, I hypothesize, is why babies sleep so fabulously in our beds. When we're sleeping and feeling the benefits of relaxation, baby does too. I think this is truest at their littlest and as they grow they begin to feel and emote from their own wells rather than from ours - but at the moment, our hearts are on loan.

Though I would love if the kids would simply own up to their end of the arrangement, we the parents probably need to take our cues from Ghandi and be the change we want to see in the world home. If there needs to be less yelling, I should probably stop yelling. If there needs to be less rush, I should probably take my time. And by allowing myself to feel all of these feels, I give the gift of my children feeling them, too.