Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto
Parenting is hard work. Without doubt it's one of the hardest things I've ever done and continues to teach me with new challenges and adventures. We tell ourselves that we can do more and be better while we get stretched thinner and thinner and look everywhere for guidance and inspiration. There's no parent guidebook they say... actually there are too many parent guidebooks so it's hard to know what's helpful and what's harmful!
Brene Brown in Daring Greatly shares her Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto and it's pure gold! If you don't shed a tear and get overwhelmed with emotion while reading this, you didn't really read it. Try again.
I recently read this to my family, especially my boys, and tried to really get them to listen and feel it as I was saying it. I've posted this proudly on the fridge for them to browse any time they might feel the need.
We tell our kids we love them regularly and also expect them to just know this. We believe they need to know what we're thinking, but we don't know what they're thinking! I try to make a point of not only telling my kids I love and adore them, but also that I think they're super cool, courageous, funny, clever and quirky. Words of Affirmation are important to my boys (love the 5 Love Languages!) so I'm really aware of our dialogue and checking in with them regularly in case they get stuck in their head. Hell, I get stuck in my head all the time, we all do! I'm aware that my boys learn so much more from me when I'm a healthy role model then when I'm telling them what they should be doing.
Before they go to sleep I also hug and wish them good night and often they ask me to stay with them and just be there. I love this and know it won't last forever. Sometimes I get some really good tidbits of what's going on in their world as they're relaxed and open but I need to stop and listen for it. The worst thing ever is to rush this time and miss magical moments. I'm aware these moments will be less and less and hold on to the sacredness of them while I can.
I love sharing vulnerability and teaching my boys that they don't have to be strong all the time. There's also a time and place for listening, caring and serving others. Creativity is another gold nugget that must be practiced and nurtured. Stop and dance, draw, sing and paint because life is serious enough.
Finally, the perfectionist in me wants to show my boys that imperfections are just as cool and learning from mistakes and missteps is what living is all about. No one said this parenting thing was easy, but geez it is so fulfilling and always teaches you something. It takes a village to raise a child so don't be so hard on yourself and let the village help. And tell your child they're funny, I guarantee you'll get a magical smile in return for that one! ;)