Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Invitations, Not Resolutions
I don’t do resolutions. I don’t do them because there are so many things that are easier to say than to do. I don’t do them because they are made to be broken, and I wish to be whole. I don’t do them because I deserve more than token self-improvement once a year. I don’t do them because I deserve compassion and love every moment of every day, and the shame of failed resolve never.
I do have intentions and aspirations though, not annual, but arising from every day. I intend to treat my child — as well as myself — with the respect and compassion he deserves. I aspire to be the parent I glimpse in myself in those moments when he is falling apart and I am overflowing with love and patience and creativity and am able to smooth things over seemingly without effort.
Of course, they are intentions and aspirations because I so often fall down. A resolution, once failed, is broken. An intention, to the contrary, can act as a guide in the broken moments: So you messed up, it says, what can you do now?
Because in every moment, I have a chance to do better. In any moment, I can choose love, and compassion, and creativity, and joy. At any time, even if I was just yelling and screaming and snatching and controlling (resolution fail!)… I can stop. And breathe. And let my intention fill me, and choose another, kinder, path.
Sometimes I am able to. Sometimes I choose joy in the first place; sometimes I can stop myself mid-yell, or better, exhale my angrily inhaled breath in a silly stream of tongue-blowing release. Sometimes, inevitably, I cannot, and even as I recognize that the path I am on is not the one I wanted, I cannot seem to let go of the rage, the fear, the need to have things just so when my child is determined to have them just so in an incompatible way. And then? Then is when I call forth my aspiration again, and first forgive myself for not being the way I wanted to be.
I do not think yelling (in the bullying way of a powerful parent to a marginalized child) is OK; I don’t think it’s effective, appropriate, or beneficial to any human relationship, much less the parenting one. But even when I do it, I am still deserving of love and compassion — just as my child is as he throws himself on the floor because I cannot make the planes stop flying overhead, or will not offer myself as his human punching bag.
And maybe resolutions work for some people. Maybe some need that break, that absolute abandonment of a prior way of being; far be it from me to tell another how best to live, and obviously, I lack perfect answers. But I, I do not resolve. I invite, and intend, and aspire.
This year, as in each moment, I invite into my life: compassion for the hurt; love for the angry; creativity to search out satisfying solutions; laughter for those falls and flaws and faults; and joy in even the darkest moments. And oh, let it begin with me.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
• To Yell or Not to Yell — The Adventures of Lactating Girl
• It Is All About Empathy: Nurturing a Toddler’s Compassion Potential — Baby Dust Diaries
• To my babies: this year… — BluebirdMama
• Mindfully Loving My Children — Breastfeeding Moms Unite!
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Resolutions — Code Name: Mama
• Imperfect Mother — Consider Eden
• Resolutions — Craphead (aka Mommy)
• FC Mom’s Parenting Resolutions 2010 — FC Mom
• What’s in a Resolution? — Happy Mothering
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions — Hobo Mama
• Natural Parenting Resolutions — Little Green Blog
• This year, I will mostly… — Look Left of the Pleiades
• Parenting Resolutions — The Mahogany Way
• I Resolve to Breastfeed In Public More Often — mama2mama tips
• Moving to Two Kids — Megna the Destroyer
• Use Love — Momopoly
• My parenting resolutions — Musings of a Milk Maker
• Talkin’ ’bout My Resolutions — Navelgazing
• Parenting Resolutions — One Starry Night
• Invitations, not resolutions — Raising My Boychick
• No more multitasking during kid time — The Recovering Procrastinator
• I need to slow down, smell those roses AND the poopy diapers — Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma
• Resolutely Parenting in 2010 — This Is Worthwhile