Monday, September 19, 2011

What I Didn't Know

My son at 2 weeks old was probably
more alert than I was.
I became a parent without much thought. By that I don't mean that I didn't go through an awful lot of effort to become pregnant, but rather that I didn't fully realize what I was getting myself into. I had some vague notions about passing on a love of reading and how I would talk to the kids about how babies were born and how I would forever continue to wear thong underwear. But what I hadn't considered is how becoming a parent would change my life.
"Becoming a parent may happen on purpose or by accident, but however it comes about, parenting itself is a calling. It calls us to recreate our world every day, to meet it freshly in every moment. Such a calling is in actuality nothing less than a rigorous spiritual discipline -- a quest to realize our truest, deepest nature as a human being. The very fact that we are a parent is continually asking us to find and express what is most nourishing, most loving, most wise and caring in ourselves, to be, as much as we can our best selves." ~ Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
Yes, mom is still seeing way less than her kids.
I'm caught up in being polite, my daughter is being herself.
My drive to become a mother surprised most people who knew me because before my own children, I frankly didn't care much for kids. But now that I look back on that, I believe that was because children made me nervous. I didn't know what to do with them. They seemed to see right through me. And in many ways, I think children can really see through your facade. Somehow these tiny people knew that I didn't have it all together, that I didn't have the answers. But what I didn't realize what that not having all the answers was OK.
"Many of us come to parenting with a vision that we're supposed to be a couple of steps ahead of our kids. In truth, most of us are usually a few steps behind.[...] As parents, we're often asked to teach skills to children that we don't yet have ourselves. Our children draw on parts of us that are undeveloped, unpracticed, and, in some cases, damaged. 
When your son and daughter are fighting with each other, you want them to learn to resolve their differences successfully, but you may have never learned to successfully work through conflicts yourself. Before you can teach your kids to listen, identify the problem, express their feelings, generate solutions, and find common ground, you have to learn those problem-solving skills yourself" ~ Becoming The Parent You Want To Be
I've had to look deep within myself to try and understand my reactions to my children. I've read countless books and blog posts, attended numerous workshops and sat through many, many therapy sessions just trying to learn as much as I can about what it means to be a parent. I didn't realize how seemingly inconsequential things in my childhood had become such a part of who I was as an adult. The pain of the past wasn't apparent until my son and daughter held a figurative mirror up and showed me.
"Your children give you the opportunity to grow and challenge you to examine issues left over from your own childhood. If you approach such challenges as a burden, parenting can become an unpleasant chore. If, on the other hand, you try to see these moments as learning opportunities, then you can continue to grow and develop. Having the attitude that you can learn throughout your life enables you to approach parenting with an open mind, as a journey of discovery"  ~ Parenting From The Inside Out
Had you asked me a few years ago what my
definition of success was, it would have been
a completely different answer than it is today.
My life has been a journey that started out on a very straight path. From a very young age I knew what it was I wanted to do with my life. But life had a different plan. In retrospect I am so grateful for all the twists and turns that at one time seemed like devastating losses and monumental disappointments. My simple, if busy, life is exactly where I want to be. I just never knew that until I got here.
"Yet I know that if I really want to encourage my own two children to follow a course in life more purposeful than accumulating wealth, power and prestige, I must first acknowledge the value of such a life to myself. I need to show, by my own example, that the path to fulfillment has but little to do with mastery and conquest and much to do with coming to know oneself, finding pleasure in everyday events, doing work that matters, living in community with family and friends, being loved and loving in return." ~ The Gift Of An Ordinary Day
Thank you for reading!
The Twin Coach 

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