Not Just Getting Through

by Rachael on July 12, 2011

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month participants have shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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In considering my parenting philosophy, I turn to an essay by Vito Perrone, “Toward Large Purposes,” that informed the writing of my philosophy of education some twelve years ago. In the essay, Perrone urges teachers to question and discuss their purposes in educating young people; without such an engagement with purposes, he argues, the tendency is to “drift” and to become “preoccupied with simply getting through the days and weeks.”

Ah, yes. How often I am occupied with “simply getting through” another morning with the Critter — oh, the drama! — getting through another meal, or getting through another nap time, another bedtime, and so on … But in each of these activities, however quotidian and apparently trivial, I am expressing some aspect of my relationship with him. What are the truths I hope to express?

Slow down ... unless it's time to run!

Slow down. Days are for living in, not for “getting through.”

Take care of our earth. The earth is our body and the Critter’s inheritance. Taking care of it is as much a part of taking care of him as is teaching him how to eat well or brush his teeth.

It’s not about me. The Critter is not a mirror, reflecting me; nor does he belong to anyone but himself. His behavior is not an expression of my skill or worth as a parent. It’s rather an expression — sometimes appropriate, and sometimes not — of his needs. My job is simply to communicate with him, discern and meet his needs, and help him to find ways to express himself more effectively.

My karma is my responsibility. The Critter is not here to make amends for any regrets I may have about the past. If I have unfulfilled dreams, they are mine to fulfill, or to let go of. The Critter will have dreams of his own.

Discipline begins with self-discipline. How can I teach the Critter to be gentle if I’m yelling all the time? How can we teach the Critter to take care of his things if we’re letting clutter pile up everywhere? How can I teach the Critter that his dreams matter if I let the shitbird frighten me away from my own true heart’s desires?

We’re always learning. And thank goodness, right? Because slowing down? I’m not so good at that. Self-discipline? I’m not so good at that, either. But I don’t have to be perfect all the time; I just have to be open to experience, ready to receive what the moment has to teach — just as the Critter is.

Trust yourself. Why forgo both praise and punishment? Because, perhaps more than anything else, I want the Critter to trust himself. Go ahead, Critter, be a fool! I certainly am!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
  • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
  • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured‘s parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
  • First Year Reflections — As her daughter’s first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
  • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
  • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
  • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
  • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
  • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
  • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
  • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
  • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom’s parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
  • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
  • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She’s come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
  • My Parenting Inspirations – Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
  • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
  • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It’s the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
  • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter’s life.
  • On Children — “Your children are not your children,” say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
  • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
  • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
  • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
  • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she’s using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
  • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
  • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
  • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it’s important for her daughter’s growth.
  • What’s a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
  • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
  • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
  • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
  • Parenting Philosophy? Eh… — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
  • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
  • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
  • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
  • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there’s no right answer when it comes to parenting.
  • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
  • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
  • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
  • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they’ll need.
  • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
  • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she’s doing.
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb @ Living Montessori Now July 12, 2011 at 7:37 AM

Wonderful thoughts for helping your child follow his own path and dreams! Great ideas about following your own dreams as well. And I LOVE the statement “Days are for living in, not for ‘getting through.’”
Deb @ Living Montessori Now recently posted… Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy

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Dionna @ Code Name: Mama July 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Often when I feel like I’m just “getting through,” that’s when I know I need some mama time. And that’s important too, of course – modeling self-care. On a different note, I love your point that our children are not reflections of ourselves. That helps in two ways – to help us to remember to treat them with respect, and to be gentle with ourselves during moments of frustration.

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Ana @ Pandamoly July 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Excellent post! I wholeheartedly agree with the commentary on keeping things open – we certainly don’t have to be perfect by any means (who is?!) but it’s great to take every opportunity to be a learning experience. Some days are easier to “get through” than to “live in” but sometimes we need those frustrating, exhaustive days to really relish our time for relaxing and being together. Great job! : )
Ana @ Pandamoly recently posted… Parenting Philosophy? Eh…

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Momma Jorje July 12, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Hey, you taught me a word! (quotidian)

I try, try, TRY to be present in as many moments as I can manage. It can be all to easy to slip into just “getting through” each part of the day. I don’t want to look back later and realize I missed SO much. I try to relish and live in the moment with my children (and everyone else, too) and hope they learn to do the same.
Momma Jorje recently posted… Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the Future

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Christine July 12, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I love this post, Rachael. So much to think about! I am still in yesterday’s mindset about support (and the lack thereof.) Maybe I’ll stop complaining soon but I believe we would be better at slowing down if that were valued or encouraged in our society. And I believe we would all be so much better off for it. But everything is ‘now.’ And children are the ‘long-term.’ So there’s a tension there that I find hard to navigate. And exhausting.
Christine recently posted… On Children #vlogtalk

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Amanda @Let's Take the Metro July 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM

One of my favorite parts of this post is teaching our children that as much as we take care of our own bodies we must also take care of the Earth. Beautiful and so in line with what I do. Or at least pretend I do.

I also love the separation of your own personal journey and mishaps from your son. It certainly is not his responsibility to make you feel good about yourself, but it is such a comfort to know that he is there along that road with you to help you in ways he isn’t even aware of.

And, of course, the fact that none of us are perfect is the best way to end any parenting philosophy post.

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Lauren @ Hobo Mama July 13, 2011 at 5:45 AM

I really love the way you write. This post has a lot of resonance for me. Like the self-discipline thing? Yeah, how will I model putting things away (for instance) or eating well? I like your notes, too, about our children not being mirrors of us or fulfillments of our own karma. I need to keep both those thoughts in mind.
Lauren @ Hobo Mama recently posted… July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Making an allowance

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Shannon @ The Artful Mama July 13, 2011 at 3:29 PM

I loved this! I liked especially the distinction you made about “Days are for living in, not getting through.” I’ve heard that before about days being for living but not heard that extra emphasis on living in our days. The whole point to life, which having children brings clearly into focus is about being in the moment.

I loved this post. I can see my own philosophy here and gather some new perspectives as well.
Shannon @ The Artful Mama recently posted… Parenting Philosophy: Being Present

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