I've found myself in a rut since writing about my aspirations for my children. The intent of the exercise was to focus on what I wanted them to become over the long-term so that I could consider what they need from me today in order to grow into their future selves. Once I truly understood this, I could focus my efforts and time to making it happen. I would have a blueprint that I could lay my actions against and see whether they were in line or distracting me from my goals.
As I got to the end of my post, the thought dawned on me that I would need to model the behaviours I wanted them to develop. After I looked over the picture I'd painted, I felt painfully ill-equipped to deliver on it.
Which then got me to scrutinizing some issues I've struggled with for years. Was I turning into a parent that insisted on perfection? As the years passed and my children showed no signs of developing one of the traits I wished for them, would my frustration and feelings of failure (in myself) lead them away from becoming confident individuals? Then the nature versus nurture arguments started...Given their own innate personalities, was writing my wish list in the first place setting them up for failure? Were they already pre-wired beyond my control?
And how do I model confidence when I'm not feeling that confident myself? How do I teach kindness when my eyes clearly flash red in the heat of an angry moment? How do I model creativity when my creative hours are when they are in bed? I was feeling like I needed to be one hundred percent "on" all the time, and the enormous pressure was weighing heavily on me. It simply wasn't sustainable. It felt like I was one-dimensional.
As I get all this pent-up angst out of my system, clarity and solutions start to unfold before me. Every time I strive to model certain behaviours or values and fail, I have an opportunity to model perseverance and humility. I get to model that this life is a journey and that while our bodies may stop growing, our minds and spirits are often blessed with miles of open space for growth. I remind myself that while I am an important teacher in my children's lives, I'm not the only one. Surrounding myself with others that hold the same values dear will help model those values through their actions. Having their presence in my children's lives will support me when I fall short. I need to keep reminding myself it truly takes a village to raise a child!
As the layers of pressure of the past week melt away and the insecurities are seen for what they really are, I find us in a playful place. Where I can wrestle with Nicholas, and he's happy for the silly attention. Where I can bestow compliments and warmth on Jaelyn as I hold her in my arms and her eyes shine with joy. Where I can sink Astrin into fits of giggles with tickle kisses. Somehow, they must sense when the pressure is lifting off me - us, in fact - and when we can immerse one another in the best kind of love and attention.