On Friday my youngest daughter (pictured above) turns 7. And I will have a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old for a season. And it surprises me how long I’ve been doing this parenting gig. And how much I still feel like a complete novice. I’m still so unsure of what I’m doing and I’m still so very desperate to get it right for their sakes.
Often this manifests itself in an attitude of instruction, “please use your cutlery; don’t swing on your chair; please finish your mouthful before speaking.” Whilst this example is from the dinner table, some days it feels like my whole day is issuing instructions.
I have been pondering how I can cultivate tenderness in my every day. Thinking about how I can make my daily interactions less about the doing and more about the being with.
It comes down, in the end, to me letting go of the teacher role that I have going on.
Yes, I need them to function as polite and respectful human beings, but at what cost?
I sheepishly raise my hand in acknowledgement of the numerous times that my girls have come to me because they wanted to share and I turned it into a teaching point.
Something comes over me and I want to make sure they know. And then I lose them, because they knew, they just wanted to chat with Mum.
And in those moments, I make our interactions about getting things right, rather than grace to be.
I need to remind myself to choose to listen, when everything within me is wanting to teach.
I need to remind myself that sometimes just being with someone is enough.
I need to remind myself that sometimes they don’t need their problem solved, they just their problem heard.
I need to remind myself that I’m not the only teacher in their world. It doesn’t all rest on me, (or even me and their father). There are lessons that they will learn in life from so many different arenas. Lessons that are both good and bad.
Our family just needs to be a soft place to land. A place where we are free to be ourselves. A place to express what we are feeling with no judgement or condemnation (and also no unwanted teaching points!)
And cultivating a tender heart starts with me. It starts with me loosening control. It starts with me understanding that I am going to get some things wrong.
It starts with me accepting that I am an imperfect mother and that I am raising beautiful imperfect girls who will occasionally forget to use their cutlery.