I’m giving a talk tomorrow on Gentle Parenting. I’ve been doing so much research over the past few weeks so that I can cover a wide array of topics but also so I don’t sound like a total ass! When I was going over my research I came across a little piece I wrote 2 years ago (let me wipe the tears now). It encompasses my relationship with Adeline in just a few words, and I love it. After an entire day of insanity, as a mother, all I needed was Twenty Minutes of her to erase all of the bad!
Twenty-Minutes – 2013
My youngest is three and at her most challenging age thus far. Most days are spent wheeling and dealing, compromising, crying, splitting up fights, yelling, threatening and at some point one of us (usually me) in a room thinking up our next move. Not all days are this intense but it seems more and more lately. I have been through the 3s before with my oldest and I remember feeling discouraged, angry, guilty and frustrated but either my patience has diminished or this child is part devil!
I hate fighting with her but there are times when we need to leave the house, wear clothes, eat food, not spit on the carpet, not rip drawings off the wall, not punch her sister, stay out of traffic and keep her screaming to a low roar. I try communicating with her; help her understand her frustration but some days we just go to proverbial blows. I put in the time with parenting books and philosophies, which are valuable and have helped with so many problems but what they do not supply me with is the ability to not lose my shit after the four-thousandth loogie she has hawked on the floor. So, I just try and remember she is three, she will not always be three and things will get better (even though some days feel like eternity).
The other thing I rely on is bedtime; sometimes I count down the hours until I can finally have a moment of silence and sanity. Bedtime of course is no easy task. It is so bittersweet with the refusal to brush teeth, her refusal to stop screaming or jumping on the bed but the moment she finally gives in is heavenly! The twenty-minutes it takes for her to fall into a deep sleep feels like the most rejuvenating twenty-minutes of life and I live for it. She crawls into bed, rolls over and says “mommy hold me.” I curl up next to her tiny, warm, silent body and take it all in. Those twenty-minutes are magic for our relationship. She has the comfort and security of her mother and I get to recharge and remind myself that these days are fleeting, and to try and enjoy them. No matter how hard the day has been, those twenty-minutes make it all ok, make each day worth it and nothing heals my broken day like those minutes right before she falls asleep!
A wonderful business that helps provide childcare and workspace, is having a series of talks, one in which I’m involved in. The Workaround will be hosting me and a discussion on gentle parenting. I would not call myself the master of gentle parenting and positive discipline but I’ve had my hands in many groups/organizations that focus on just that thing. The focus of the talk will be to help parents understand behavior and how better to guide children and help with frustrations. These are lasting techniques that can help create an environment of communication that will have long term results!
Come by and check it out!
This weekend we had a father’s day fete. It was originally meant to be held at the park, but inclement weather moved the party indoors. I knew this would be a problem because having a 4 year old and a 6 year old means not wanting to keep them trapped indoors for too long (especially in a non-kid apartment). The party was adult-centric and therefore not fun for children. There was a small outdoor space, books, coloring and a few things to do, but mostly it was my kids sitting around bored. I had a realization at this party that this may have been the first time I ignored their boredom and conversed with adults. It sounds like a normal enough thing, but for their entire lives I have catered to their needs/wants/desires over my own. It’s not that I haven’t had adult time or partied, but almost every plan we make includes a kids’ clause. We go places that are fun for kids, we party with parents of other kids, and at home we watch kid shows and cook kid-friendly meals. Our lives seem to revolve around children, instead of our lives revolving together.
In a way I feel like I’ve ignored an important part of parenting, which is to show the girls how to adult. They need to see their parents conversing, exploring ideas and making/keeping friends. Besides, my kidless friends have a lot to offer my children. They have different careers, they view the world differently than me, they are young, they are old, they are creative, they are fun, they are smart and they aren’t parents. My children need to know how to be good parents and to feel loved by their parents, but they are going to spend many years being humans who do not have kids.
After the party, my youngest said “that party was no fun, the adults were ignoring the kids and talking to each other.” This was a great opportunity to talk about how adults need to be adults sometimes and not just parents. I explained to her that I am a mom,but I’m also a woman, a friend and an adult who likes to do things that are not always for kids. I told her that we do things for the kids every day and rarely do things that are just for adults. After we left the party I took them to the playground, we ate pizza for dinner, watched kid shows and went off to bed. We compromised in our excursions yesterday and, despite their protests, I’m feeling like this should be a more regular thing!