Parenting. What a mind twist. There are as many ways as there are days. The possibilities for approach are endless. It is both - it is what it is AND it is what you make it.
What is my approach? My philosophy? It is slow. It is as idle as it is intentional.
We spend less time running around to activities and on schedules, and more time creating a home we don’t much want to leave. Everyday socializing, valuing business, and being on the go are not the given. Staying in - together as a family, tending to our home, focusing on creative projects, and engaging in play - are our given. Then, when we feel the burning desire, we will do those other things. But, not the other way around.
I want my child to feel comfort in being with herself. I want her to feel entertained and stimulated by her own mind. I want her to feel more calm than restlessness. I want her to be able to self soothe and self invent. I want her to know what she wants and to go after it, but not to feel as though she is always searching for something outside of herself.
I am her mother. This is her home. She is small and yet she is vast for the filling. She has a long lifetime stretched before her. I want to protect these tender years and have it be that her family and her burgeoning self are the greatest influence on setting the foundation of who she is deep in her bones, at the seat of her soul. She has many more years for the rest of it.
We live in a fast paced culture. And because of it we are largely missing connection, we are missing the beauty, we are missing the point. I do not want to set her on a speed that races her through her precious life. I want to set her up to walk through life as present, deliberate, and steady as possible.
She does have parameters. She does have expectations. She knows what to expect and when to expect it. They are there to protect her, there for her health, there so that everybody in our family is considered, respected and hopefully gets what they need as an individual. They are there so that she understands others are affected by her. But inside of those boundaries of understanding and care - she is free. She is free to play how she wishes. She is free to pursue answers to questions she may have. She is free from being managed. She is free to not do what does not feel right to her. She is free to not do a thing.
We protect the time to seize the moment. Take adventures. Change our minds.
We hold the space to rest, restore and rejuvenate ourselves.
At this pace I get to see what is important to her. What is troubling her. What sparks her genuine curiosity. What little things are on her mind. I get to see how she thrives and how she struggles. I get a glimpse at her passion. I get a front row seat to her growth and evolution.
Is it really so simple? No way, we are still working on it all. But having a family philosophy of values and lifestyle goals helps to make it simpler.
How can I afford this - time wise, money wise? We have some privilege, AND we sacrifice. We prioritize foregoing other activities and luxuries to ensure this slow and simple and present lifestyle.
Am I doing it all right? Of course not.
Do I have room for improvement? A lifetime's worth.
I am still seeking greater patience, calm, the grace to be less reactionary..
But something about emphasizing this slowness, this idleness, this space - something about it is the right way. She shows me...
She always creates “our family”. With objects like her stuffies, or carrots at the supper table, or lyrics in her songs. She has made four thousand family portraits.
And she sees us in everything, all around. Anytime she observes a set of three of anything, be it - a three leaf clover, three beats of a drum, three edges of a triangle, three clouds... it is always the three of us. It is always our family.
I take this as she knows where she belongs. She knows who she is. Her world is reliable. We are what she wants and needs, at least more so than not. As a mother, there is not much more I could hope for. I will save worries for another day, and today I will feel comfort in her knowing.