Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Full Responsibility Parenting

on September 20, 2013

A Mother’s Lament by ~Yohnnilee Fan Art / Traditional Art / Drawings / Books & Novels©2010-2013 ~Yohnnilee

A few days ago, I wrote some lovely words about not interfering with my children, about letting them have their own experience, about trusting that they can manage their own lives. I clicked post, sending my insights into the world. I felt good about my enlightened parenting. For a minute. Then, life resumed its relentless march.

Ellana came down dressed to go out in tights and a shirt. Daniel got in Jonathon’s face and made silly faces, which caused Johnathon to groan and speak harshly to his brother. YouTube and i-Pad games took precedence over homework, for a long time.

And I . . . interfered.

I used what my daughter once called The Tone of Voice, the same tone of voice which I admonish my children not to use. I offered dozens of suggestions in rapid succession. I pushed and prodded, which, in my Not Interfering post, I implied would build a foundation for resentment. Way to go Swan Mother. Yay, me. <sarcasm>

Knowing What Kind of Mother I Want to Be, Not Being Her

Cover ImageI wrote a book about my journey to recognizing that my children are magnificent exactly as they are. I’ve been a mother for a long time (15 1/2 years). I’ve done lots of things wrong. I’ve read piles of books and blogs. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I have a clear picture of the supportive, gentle, and loving mother I want to be.

So . . .

  • Why do I offer observations and suggestions, when my goal is non-interference?
  • If I love them exactly the way they are, why am I frustrated?
  • Why is my best so flawed?

Total Acceptance

“I have come to drag you out of yourself, and take you in my heart.  

I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky.”

originally, Rumi (now, my family, to me)

We do not live in a bubbles. The moods and actions of people around us affect us. Weather affects us. Moon cycles and solar flares affect us. Childhood experiences and what our spouse said this morning affect us. Humans are complex creatures.

There is no excuse for me to speak unkindly, but I apologize to my children, not here. I do not want my children to apologize to the world for being who and how they are, so I accept myself as I am — even when I don’t like myself or my behavior. I keep doing my work and remembering Carl Rogers’ curious paradox:  When I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.


4 responses to “Full Responsibility Parenting

  1. redngold1 says:

    I think, when our son does what he does, enjoys being alone, screams when a fly is in the house, clings to me in the grocery store, or he sees the humor in a thing before anyone else does, then I think he is hard wired to be like he is.
    When I experience fear of heights, when I enjoy being alone, I think I am hard wired to be like *I* am.
    I think that knowing something intellectually and acting spontaneously are two different things.
    Sometimes they merge. Sometimes they never will.

    Reading something and saying, “I believe that.” can be instant.
    Rewiring takes time with no promise of outcome.

    Changing a behavior, our own or someone else’s, or even just *trying* to change a behavior, can bring some unexpected results and usually does.
    I finally stopped banging my head against the wall when I looked up and saw that neither the wall nor my head had changed much.

  2. Kate Street says:

    I love this post and LOVE your authenticity! I hear you, Sister! Beautifully expressed and beautifully written. ♥

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