It’s important to me that my kids realize I am a woman with depth and not just a Mom-droid. I do my best to remind them of my humanity by weaving stories of my childhood with their present-day preoccupations. I’ve told them how I once lived and dreamed all on my own in Chicago. They’ve seen me fall apart when I’ve had too many days without me time. Yet, there are days when I feel insignificant because they look at me and see an automaton with spending abilities, cooking skills and a driver’s license.
Conversely, I study their psyches and souls with intensity. I constantly puzzle over and decipher their emotions. I am invested in the well-being of my children. I believe in the power of meaningful parent/child relationships. I believe they are built on a mutual honoring of our spirits and steadfast championing rather than schedule maintenance, homework policing and suburban schlepping.
Moms Are People Too
Moms are women in the midst of self-actualizing. It is incredible easy to become immersed in the lives of our children. Moms disappear every day. It doesn’t have to be that way.
How to Show Your Soul
Chase your calling: Don’t be afraid to say your dreams out loud. It’s a lesson in self-care for them to see you creating space for your beloved activities. Let them catch you investing blood, sweat and tears in something you can’t not do. I’m not suggesting neglect. I’m suggesting living with a bright and full heart in front of your kids. Share a sense of autonomy and fulfillment with your children.
Express Awe: It’s healthy for children to hear you sigh over something that takes your breath away. Let them in on your moments of grace, flow, heaven. Spend slow un-rushed time in nature. Tell them at bedtime what made you light up that day. Don’t feel compelled to say something they did. You are a separate being.
Tell Stories: Nothing creates solidarity and empathy like personal stories. My kids love hearing about how (poorly) I handled peer pressure as a girl in school. How my first kiss came to be. What I did at my grandparents’ house in the summer.
I read blog posts from other writers to my children if they move me and I feel their stories are compelling and offer a worthwhile message. Some of their themes- Be different, not better. Creating because you love the work, not the result. Failing is part of success. Sometimes the kids’ attention drifts, and that’s OK. I know I am asking for grown-up concentration. I also know seeds planted, bloom later.
Be Vulnerable: It’s true kids need structure and a sense that they can depend on you, but an efficient machine is hard to warm up to. Let down your guard. Admit mistakes. A friend’s therapist told her that people with perfect parents are the ones she worries about the most. They will never be able to live up to those standards. I lean toward the fallible side. My kids have seen me nervous, anxious, embarrassed and at the end of my rope. I am not proud of this. Like most people, I’d rather present myself as strong and capable but my soft center oozes out occasionally.
Benefits of Being Soulful
Empathy: In Born for Love, neuroscientist and child psychiatrist, Bruce Perry, argues that fostering empathy can combat the negative influences of modern life. We have learned to close ourselves off from the world with technology and busy-ness. Spending time with open hearts and minds can re-generate bonds that enhance resonance, universal meaning, love.
I want my kids to cherish relationships and respect others. I want them to see me as a being with feelings. How can they see anyone else’s soul if they’ve only seen their mother speed through life with a taskmaster’s mentality and a status-quo blueprint for life?
Natural/Unique Thinking: It’s easy to follow the mechanical parenting herd. Just keep checking off tasks. But going beyond and deeper than what the book or your neighbor says, gives kids a beautiful, almost secret,view of living. Possibilities abound. Sharing and honesty transfers to education. Learning becomes a natural, insightful way of relating to subjects. Thoughtful questions lead to understanding beyond book material. There’s a freedom and safety in knowing others exist on a deeper level. It makes it OK to explore and express as an individual.
Awakening: By revealing my humanity to my children I believe they will have an easier time discovering and honoring their own souls. Good and bad feelings of the heart will guide them rather than robotic reflexes.
Do you feel like you are living mechanically? How open are you with your kids? What messages are you sending them?
- In Defense of Introverted Parents (space2live)
- When Parenting Overwhelms (space2live)
- The One Thing You Should Never Give Up When You Become a Mom (suburbandirt.wordpress.com)
- Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids? – Huffington Post