Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mothering... Naturally (Part III)

Here's where I'm trying to get to:
The point is not to play nicey-nice, but be my most authentic self. That self being accepting, nonjudging, allowing for room from growth and mistakes, and supporting as best I can who they are.
That goes for my self, children, my friends (not something I have a problem with, usually) and my own family. My mother comes to mind.
If it is clear that I am being true to myself - speaking in my ordinary tones, and being relaxed and Me, then maybe I gain credibility with others, and they may choose to represent themselves more authentically, also. (All of us truly being creatures of love and goodness.)
It's like "Kindness, pass it on."
But always done authentically.

Here's an example.
We're at Christmas Dinner (I'm making this up) and the children are running and my mother starts to lose it, going off in her screaming shrill way. (not making that part up.)
I can just stop what I"m doing, and say, "Hey, guys, let's go outside and practice throwing snowballs at something!"
Now, knowing my mother, she will say something like "What are you going to throw snowballs at?" in a complaining sort of way, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
What I would usually (always in the past) do is say "Mom - good grief, they're children, it's Christmas, and they're excited!" and she would say something like "I know, but...." and I would get mad.

If she goes off on my children, "Don't touch that, you'll break it!" I can say something like "Do you really want to see it up close, Bud?" and to her "Is it okay if we touch it if we're really careful? We'll put it back just how you have it." And she can say yes, or no. But maybe in my coming from a different place, (than getting mad that she assumed if he touched it it would just automatically break) she will be able to find a better way to express herself. - That 'better' being more information, and more expressive of her real concerns.
(shrug.) Maybe not.
Maybe she will choose to always go her same way, never even bothering to notice that there is one more peaceful and helpful. But that will be her choice, of course. She chooses her life.
I wonder, though, if when she's hollering at a child (mine, most likely) if I go in, and say, "Hey, Bub," (which I often do) "do you need help communicating with Grammy?" if she will come to a better understanding, and see that there is a different way to communicate - one in which my children respond infinitely better.

I believe that if I am careful to represent myself as Me, and not one who is trying to be something else (trying on cloaks that don't fit, saying words in a way that my family has never heard from me), and can practice the same loving acceptance of Others, then I and my actions are credible - instead of just appearing as one who lets her kids do and say anything, or "letting them run wild". If everyone is afforded that same respect, then how can they deny it?

The means (and even the end) of these actions is not to persuade others to behave as I am, or even for them to notice that there is a different way.
The point is to grow myself, and be more accepting of others as they are.
I think being myself and being more mindful of these practices and intent shall help me greatly to become what it is I'd best like to Be.


Mama Podkayne said...

Thank you for these posts. Definitely food for thought.

Recently I had a situation similar. I asked Lil"Bug to help me with something, but great grandma was visiting and Lil'Bug said "no". Understandably, IMO. I went on my way only to find great grandma trying to physically force her to do the task. I gently took over, but I was still left unsettled. Now great g. thinks I am a lax and terrible mom, that Lil'Bug is willful and most importantly Lil'Bug chooses not to even help voluntarily like her usually self. It is so frustrating that a tiny moment can echo so deeply for days.

Lerend Zonder School said...

Don't have much to add, just soaking it all in:) I'm sort of at the same place myself, much more advanced than say a year ago as far as accepting others (especially other parents) for who they are and whatever journey they are on. Realizing that this is our journey and this is who we are, but also realizing that everyone is on their own journies that will most likely not resemble mine in the least bit nor should they.

Hard though when interacting with those of different views about my children, and even here I've been able to stand up for my children or "defend" them if you will with more respect and less defensiveness than in the past. Haven't had much turmoil on the extended family front for a long time, which I am ever grateful for, I sort of feel like most have accepted our journey just as we have accepted theirs.

Like you, I think the more mindful I am, the more natural my compassionate side of parenting comes through, which is where I want to be. I'm not perfect nor will I probably ever be, but I'm happy where I'm at right now in my journey.

I agree about the parenting books not getting to the heart of parenting and I think that is why I stopped reading the "how to" type of parenting books. I could never remember what i was supposed to say at any given moment or conflict and felt like I had to refer back to them to get it right, hence trying to be someone I wasn't.

Well, guess I had more to add than I thought:) Anyway thanks for the food for though.

piscesgrrl said...

Some good stuff here. I feel like there are two me's. The one who digs and evolves and questions and learns, and the one who doesn't know how to navigate that self within the family. :)

I admire your tenacity in doing your inner work!