Ten years ago I had no idea what it meant to be a parent. There I was in my effervescent maternal glow, ready to burst at the seams pregnant with AJ. All the glory and radiance of impending motherhood around me and no clue whatsoever what lay ahead. How could anyone possibly?
Motherhood, birth and parenting are not mutually exclusive to each other. They take work. Hard work, dedication, soul searching and honesty. Raw honesty about the people we are before conception and the people we deconstruct and rebuild after our children come into our lives.
I have been a parent for ten years. In that time, I know very few things with absolute certainty. One is that parenting is an evolution. With each goal post and check point we reach, we need to stop and re-evaluate. A new strategy, a moment to reflect and gather before we move on. At the moment we are lined up at three goal posts: support them, evoke their curiosity and just be.
Support them. Not just through their illnesses and their first day of school. But support the things my boys hold important in their life. Pokemon Go, Minecraft, talking like the BFG, seeing Nanna every week, choosing names for their YouTube channel and more. Their ideas, their passions are something we openly embrace and the whole family supports and gets excited about. The conversations flow, the ideas flow and keep us all together. It also opens the conversation for our boys to get excited about what we do too. Excited that mum is writing a book and giving Dad tips on what soccer drills he should use for the team on the weekend. Four lives, just as important as each other.
Evoke their curiosity. I cannot begin to tell you how important this has become to me. As their mother, as their friend, as someone I want them to look up to. Curiosity drives me. I want curiosity to drive my boys. Drive their passions, drive their interests, drive their boredom. Planting the seed of curiosity in as many different ways is something I am making an extra effort to do. Often it is as easy as a conversation. A what if moment to get them thinking. Sometimes it is encouraging them to do something new. Whatever it takes, curiosity is a priority.
Just be. Some days it means we all kick back on the couch together, some with a book, others with a tablet, some watching the latest soccer game. No set agenda, no set rules, just be. Home is more than four walls, a garden and a front door. Home is a sense of belonging. A feeling that you can just be with the people you love most and in that moment need nothing more. A comfort knowing that the outside world is exactly that – outside. Knowing that these quiet moments are as important as the celebrations, the holidays and milestones combined. This is the safety net, the security blanket, the chicken soup that takes time to boil and is essential to the soul.
I will never stop learning how to be a parent. I will never be blinded that even with my best of intentions I may not succeed. But that won’t stop me from trying. That won’t stop me from changing my ways. Evolving as times change, as needs change, as I change. My boys will grow and change no matter what I do.
Birth does not automatically flick the switch on for perfect parenting, more so in a world where perfect parenting does not exist. Little things that make my relationship with my boys’ work, little things we can build on, that is a start.
What goal posts are you standing at?
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