Parenting Advice, Maybe…

Because one parent’s experience can be so different from another parent’s, parenting can be a tenuous topic to write about. I, myself, am not out of the woods with my role as a parent.  My son is still in the middle of his adolescence.  So I don’t have that wonderful perspective more experienced parents have when their kids are in their 20s or 30s….at least not yet.  My perspective encompasses 16 years.  So for better or worse, these are the things I do know for sure as a parent so far:

  • When I take regular and routine time out for my own self-care and fun that does NOT include my family, I can be more present (and pleasant) as a parent.  Some of these self-care activities may include a walk in the woods, reading in a cafe, floating on a paddle board, painting, getting together with friends, a short retreat away from home, energy healing sessions, or strolling through an art supply store.
  • If you compare yourself to other parents who appear to be doing it “right,” you will go insane. Truth.
  • When I give my kid space to express his feelings (even the scary am-I-raising-a-mass-shooter ones), they eventually subside and he becomes a reasonable human again.
  • When I approach time spent with my son from a qualitative perspective, as opposed to a quantitative one, we both appreciate each other’s company so much more.
  • When I get emotionally triggered by his words or behavior (this happens to all parents), I make an appointment with my therapist to better understand my triggers. Or if she’s not readily available, I find a quiet space to sit with the difficult emotions, allow them to communicate what’s still unresolved in my subconscious, and then nurture myself through that process…which in the end, may still involve a session with my therapist.
  • Like all relationships, parenting gives me a chance to evolve as a human being on this planet.
  • When I genuinely apologize for my mistakes, he appreciates my humanity more and feels free to apologize as well.
  • When I allow my son the freedom to make his own decisions, I notice he becomes more invested in his choices and can usually keep himself accountable.
  • When I ask for his opinions (because I’m truly curious and not trying to control or manipulate him) about school, life, and the world at large, he lets me into the deeper caverns of his mind and trusts me with his vulnerability.
  • When I explain why we have certain rules, he understands and doesn’t argue, even if he doesn’t like the rule.
  • A mother’s intuition is real. Sometimes ya just a sense that your kid needs you in some capacity even if it’s not outwardly obvious.

I wouldn’t say I have it easy, but I know I have it easier than other parents. Whatever your situation is, parenting is a tricky path and it can’t be done successfully in isolation.  You have to find your tribe, your village. The best members of my tribe are the more experienced parents because they offer a broader perspective. And my friends who are not parents because they offer a completely objective, honest point of view, which is valuable and necessary on this crazy journey.

In the meantime, instead of saving up for college, I’m saving up for his future therapy sessions…just in case  😉