Sunday, September 27, 2009

Isn't It Ironic?

Lucky you. Now that I have found the guts to post my thoughts in the form of my speech, I am freed from the burning desire to talk about all that heavy stuff. There, you heard it from me, now it is up to you to save yourself. Whew! Let's get back to love and life and unschooling and chronicling my amazing kids adventures and our wonderful life, shall we?

But first, a small rant. So, the other day, the girls had their first ballet class. It went well for them. I, however, was subjected to listening to a mom talk to her friend in the waiting area. She told about how her little girl tells her she wants a new mother. And how when the girl told her she wanted to live with her when she grows up and has lots of kids of her own, she laughed at her and told her she is out when she is 18. I was facing away from the mom, watching my girls dance in the class through the window. Good thing, too, because I wanted to cry for that little girl. This same girl was brought out early to her mother when she lost interest in the preschool dance class and was missing her mother. She had been crying and the mother told her in a sing song voice to dry her tears. No empathy. No understanding. Just the message to stuff it. Lovely.

Contrast this with my kids who tell me I am the best mother they could ever have. This got me thinking about why they would say that and what other people outside our relationship might think is the reason they think that. I can see someone saying my kids think I am the best because I give them whatever they want. Yes and no. Yes, I don't thwart my children's wishes, and actively help them to achieve them. But I am constantly monitoring the big picture and making suggestions for balance, helping them make decisions for themselves, talking about my choices. I do tell my children no. Sometimes it is a knee jerk reaction and I take it back if they push. Other times I have a really good reason ,and then they usually listen and comply. If they don't, I humbly allow for the possibility that I don't know what is best for my children, only they do. I prepare to help them deal with natural consequences, should I be right after all.

Sometimes I put my foot down, and piss them off. I'm not perfect. I think the trick is to build trust so that they will see my thoughts and wishes for them as valuable, rather than be a nag and cause them to shut me out. I don't like to be wrong. If I am not 100% sure of myself about something, I will not force my will on anyone, my kids included. If I only ever push them when I am 100% certain that my way is the best, they will come to see that my advice is sound and will come to me for help. If I only make a bunch of rules and enforce them strictly in the interest of making my life simple (whatever!), they will come to see my advice as arbitrary and often out of step with their reality. I want to partner with my children in life, not be a dictator.

And if they grow up and have a bunch of kids and want to live with me, all the better! I'll be one happy grandma! And I will have help around the farm. ;-) Sounds like a win-win to me. We would be a role model family for the re-strengthening of family and community so desperately needed in the world today. Really, we are going to need to expand our idea of family if we are to have good lives in a lower energy world. You can't do it alone, when you don't have that army of oil slaves at your side. The more families live and work together, the easier, and fuller, life will be.

I will consider myself a very good mother, if my children not only want to live with me, but fully choose the life they were raised living. This isn't about me being selfish and wanting to have my kids never leave me. It is about living in partnership with your kids so that they will consider taking up the family business as a valid option for their adult lives. So that they will want to raise their kids as you raised them, not because they don't know what else to do, but because they choose it fully. So that they are spared the need to rebel against everything you stand for, just because. I'm fully prepared for them to choose differently for their lives than I did for mine. They are not me. But, if they choose to do what I do, I will know I did not push them away, at the very least. I will consider myself blessed.


TheOrganicSister said...

Ugg I hate being subject to that kind of parenting. But at the same time it is sometimes my biggest motivator to stay on track. A not-so-gentle reminder of what I don't want our life to be.

As for community and are those homeschooling and gun laws going in NY? ;) I swear I really think we'd be there if the political environment in NY wasn't so opposite of our own. Mostly because I want that built-in community!

We were just talking last night after just asked if our last meal was going to be chicken. ;) We both agreed slaughtering chickens would be much more fun if we did it Kingsolver style. (BTW, no, we're not going to eat our chickens! I convinced him of the waste of eating egg-laying chickens while they were still laying.)


Miranda said...

Laws, schmaws! There are pros and cons to everywhere. The pros far outweigh the cons around here, I think. Besides the bigger the empire, the harder and sooner it falls. We ARE the Empire state, after all....

Annette said...

My kids all told me recently that they were going to stay with me when they were older. I suggested we all build our own areas on a larger piece of land and they took off with days of planning their own spread and what they'd have and do and how we'd help each other and what they'd each grow etc. Love this life!

Annette said...

ps, I did enjoy this post - you really are an awesome mama. Thanks for posting your speech too.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!

FLO said...

Just wanted to note that this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you'll hear in that lobby. My best advice: get some earplugs or wait outside.

ps- the girls aren't getting our land are they?

Miranda said...

Yes, I am thinking I will go hit the Salvation Army store across the street when the girls are comfortable with me leaving.
And Flo, 8 acres is enough for us all, don't you think?