Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of parenting on auto pilot. As soon as they’re born, babies cry for milk and the warmth of their mother. A new mother automatically puts her child to her body and if you’re lucky, a bond is formed. As the days turn into months, you might start just thinking that fulfilling kids’ material needs means your kids will survive.
And they will. We all need shelter, food and clothing for our survival. But what about being conscious of the words we say? Of the way we behave? Do we really think about our behavior and how if affects our child?
One snide remark. One burst of sarcasm. One critical retort. One eye rolling.
It might seem insignificant on its own, but after a few times, kids will pick up on these reactions as the way to respond to others.
And on the other hand, do we know how much of an effect a big hug has on our child’s day? An “I love you?” A reassuring smile after a hard day? Our full attention during a story?
I call this conscious parenting. I admit I was guilty of running on auto pilot but now with FZ almost 8 years old (I know, I can’t believe it!), I’ve become more watchful of my behavior and words. I’ve had to dig down deep and rethink how I parent.
I’ve had to come out of my comfort zone so they can experience a childhood of imagination, mess and creativity. I’ve had to take a mental timeout so I could be there for the whining and help them get past it.
But it’s just easier to say “Stop whining and just get over it!!” And there are times I might say that, but now I take every moment as a learning experience – not just for my kids, but for myself.
I believe my kids are a trust from God. I’ve been privileged to serve as a mother to these little creatures of God. If I screw it up, it’s not just my life that will be affected, but their lives and the lives of all those they come in contact with.
It’s a big responsibility and I pray that from here on out, I will take my parenting seriously. I know it’s not easy, and I’m sure there will be plenty of more hills to climb. Not to mention lots of hills I’ll be rolling down. But I will get back up, and I will try my best.