One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from being a parent is using my willpower to walk the path of humbleness.
Being humble doesn’t come easy to me. It hurts to have to look at yourself honestly and admit you’ve been making things worse. This self reflection doesn’t come from a place of judgement or being self-critical. It isn’t about feeling guilty, although that is a very easy place to get stuck for me. Maybe this doesn’t come easy to me because I don’t like feeling incapable or inept. I know I don’t like feeling like I’ve caused emotional damage. It’s much easier to not look in the mirror and just keep doing what you’ve been doing.
But easier isn’t always the right path. Sometimes we must use our will power to ignore our ego and turn the light on so we can properly look in the mirror.
I’ve been struggling so much with my older two children. There has been a lot of conflict between them and some between me and them as well. Self-reflection isn’t something I enjoy doing, but the fact is if I want to help us move past this, it is a necessity. No, I’m not responsible for their choices , words or actions. But, I’m responsible for my words and actions and I cannot deny that how I act affects not only the situation, but the whole family. In fact, the only person I can control is me.
So I’m doing what doesn’t come natural to me, and what hurts to do, and that is self-reflection and being humble and willing to learn and change my own approach.
I’ve had this book in my stack of to-read books for a while and just haven’t gotten to it. If I’m honest, I will admit that I’ve been putting off reading it because I knew it would make me have to face mistakes I’ve been making, and that’s uncomfortable. I’d rather avoid that. But the time has come to face that feeling and be humble and willing to be open to growing.
One practice that gets me through these uncomfortable growing pains is self-compassion. Being kind to myself and talking to myself the way I’d talk to a friend in my shoes. It is what helped to pull me out of some very dark times in parenting a number of years ago.
Parenting never is dull. There are always opportunities to know ourselves more and grow.
Yesterday we started out our day at home, like usual, but things didn’t go as planned. Against my better judgement, my teen had been out late three nights in a row, which meant he was exhausted. This led to an atypical morning and I accepted that he likely wouldn’t be getting any school work done before we had to run off to play practice at 11:30. When the time came to leave, I’d finished my first grader’s work but not yet main lesson for my fourth grader. I saw it was a gorgeous sunny day, so we packed up our things and took to the park.
We are in the middle of a Norse mythology block. Yesterday we discussed Loki’s story and painted from it.
This morning I managed to quietly get out of bed before the toddler and had the house to myself while I did a quick tabata. I took the trash out to the curb and got to see the full moon and the sunrise.
When I woke at 4 am this morning, I woke with a sudden word in my head: control. This is the problem for my teen. He feels like I’m trying to control him. We’ve been having huge struggles with him lately. I mean, to keep it in context, I know it isn’t that bad. He still wakes up every morning and comes to me for a hug; he’s not drinking or doing drugs; he’s not sneaking out at night, etc. But we’ve been having big struggles with finding balance between freedom and responsibility. He’s such a different person that I am, that I find it leads me to loose my patience with him and fall into old habits of exerting control, which in turn just make him buck more wildly.
So, back to this word that came to me. I realized suddenly that I need to stop trying to exert my force on him, because when he feels like he isn’t in control of his own life, it just makes things worse.
Parenting pushes and stretches me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I know people think I have it all together but I mess up so often. I suppose that’s all we can do. Mess up, dust off, make amends and go forward.
Sometimes the path is hard. It feels hard to put one foot in front of the other. The bushes along the path scratch up your arms and legs. You stumble and trip on the rocks on the path. You fall down and cry. You sit in the middle of the path, sobbing.
You also know that you must go on. You know that the path won’t always be so difficult and you must put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, even if you don’t progress for a while because you keep backtracking to see what exactly led you to this hard path. In the end, you’ll get there.
My planning is done. Everything is tidy. Our first day of school begins today. Grades 1, 4, and 10.
Last night was very hard. Parenting teenagers is not for the faint of heart. My first reaction is to cancel today and feel angry and sad about my plans being derailed. But I know my other children would be so upset to not begin, they are so looking forward to today. And I don’t want to wear the martyr hat. So, I remember I’m the captain of the boat and I put one foot in front of the other and navigate into unknown territory. I let go of expectations and just jump in and see where it goes.
I’m sure tonight I’ll post plenty of pretty pictures that will make some out there feel less-than or jealous that I have it all together. This is why I’m sharing this blog post. I think sharing our struggles, the truth behind the pretty pictures, is a gift to others. We are all human. We all have our struggles and fall down on our face sometimes. It’s easy to pretend it’s all roses with the internet. But the truth is: life is hard sometimes. Parenting is hard sometimes. Mothering can sometimes makes you feel like your heart has been ripped out. We must endure and push forward. Feel it all, give ourselves a hug and keep putting our feet down for the next step. That’s all there is to do.
The darkest day of the year has passed. This turning of the wheel is such a special time. It feels so different than the summer solstice. Each year that we celebrate, it feels calmer and more reverent.
We made sun bread to start the day.
We also made pizza, which I like to make on the solstice as it is big and round like the sun.
As the sun began setting, we went outside to build a fire. We kept it burning while we ate dinner (inside, as it’s very cold out!). We then headed out to burn our Yule log after dinner.
Every year, we get a log of wood and wind cotton string all around it. We then sit and discuss what intentions we want for ourselves in the new year and we write it on small bits of paper. These papers get tucked into the string and the log then gets placed into the fire. Last night, the moon was very full and the sky was clear. It was a perfect night for a solstice fire!
Tonight was our spiral walk with our co-op. There was rain forecasted, so we set it up inside. It was lovely!
I’ve been needing to do my prop paintings for my 3rd grader’s lessons, and this week, I finally got the paint out and knocked them out. I had to do 9 paintings for the first 4 months of lessons. I still have 2 drawings to draw and some modeling figures to create, but those will be done soon enough. The painting can take a bit more time.
Here are some photos from my first night of wet-on-wet painting. Note that I intentionally try to make sure my paintings are perfect. They will be used as the prop while my son and I paint it together during his main lesson, and he can be a bit of a perfectionist. So, it is best if mine don’t look stunning.
I use stockmar water colors.
My kids have been painting rocks almost everyday. My daughter found a painted rock at the library and is hooked! She likes to leave them places for others to find.
Look for a blog post coming soon with a mini run down of what our planned out year will look like. I’m excited to start the new school year next week!
Not much blogging happening as not much sleep is happening. The babe is working on his sixth tooth and this whole cutting teeth thing isn’t a walk in the park for him. I’ve learned that it usually means 2-3 sleepless nights for him (and me).
We’ve had the usual stuff going on. I’m starting to enter full-on planning mode for our 2018-2019 school year. I just finished reading, from cover to cover, the third grade curriculum that we are using. (Waldorf Essentials). Soon I’ll start getting into the nitty gritty of ninth grade planning, too.
As ever, LOTS of babywearing happening these days. Thank goodness for wraps. I don’t know how we’d get through without them. I have so many pictures of babywearing but I still struggle with my feelings of posting pictures of my kids on the internet.