I sometimes struggle accepting my kid the way he is. I want him to be himself but deep down I have thoughts about how he could be different. From the bottom of my heart I want him to thrive, but what I seem to forget time after time is that what I think will make him thrive, may not at all. Why? Because quite simply, he’s not me.
But let’s face it, we don’t always like our parents, siblings, friends or partners. So why should it be different with our off-spring? We don’t need to like our kids 100%, I don’t know if it’s weird if you do but I say it’s normal if you don’t. The question here is: what do you do with what you don’t like about your kid? Do you judge it? Do you try to change it? Do you let it be?
Let me just clarify that I’m not talking about things like your toddler painting all over the walls with non-washable crayons. I haven’t yet met any parent that loves that. I’m talking about instances where I go: why doesn’t he want to play in the mud with his friends? Or splash in the pool? Or smile? Why doesn’t he smile?…Oh dear, could he be depressed at 3?
God, am I a freak?
Anyone who lives with young children though (or adults for that matter), knows that they change; like we all do. Kids sleep 8 hrs straight one night (do they?)and wake up a million times the next; eat loads one day and nothing the other; hate snow one day and love it the next (here’s me hoping!). So, all the time spent trying to get your kid to be a certain way is wasted because he/she may actually turn out to be the way you want in the end. Lol.
In all seriousness though, I don’t think I’m responsible for liking everything about my son. He’s a gift, I didn’t choose him. I’ve been lent him for I don’t know how many years, but certainly no for forever. What I’m responsible for 100% is supporting him in finding out who he is. Now, let’s face it, we all struggle and we all mess up as parents and in the end life goes on. My son won’t depend on me forever and one day he will hopefully realize that he doesn’t need my approval or anyone else’s to find his inner truth. So let’s not panic.
I am moved to write about this though, because I sense I’m not alone here. I consider myself a gentle and sensitive mum who also (and annoyingly) doubts her kid frequently – is he normal? – and that doesn’t sit well with me. Shit. What did I just write? I’ve just realized that the reason doubting my kid doesn’t sit well with me is that it has nothing to do with my kid but everything to do with me. In doubting my kid, I’m actually doubting myself. Of course that doesn’t sit well.
How do I know this? Well, it’s a fine line, isn’t it? Of course I should listen and trust my instincts when something doesn’t feel right, but I’m talking about taking this ‘curiosity’ or ‘concern’ to an extreme. I can sometimes constantly wonder if my kid is normal. Or should I say, if I am normal. Hmm, I need therapy.
I need to freaking slow down so my head can stop spinning like a washing machine. But I admit the biggest challenge I’ve faced as a parent so far is letting go of the idea that I can be an ‘almost perfect’ mother. I say ‘almost’ because of course nobody can be perfect. But ‘almost perfect’ is equally deceitful. (I blame the million articles on parenting that appear on my FB feed daily!)
I’m not perfect, which means I sometimes dislike my kid. That’s ok. I’m convinced he doesn’t like everything about me either. So basically, there’s no issue on that front. The issue lies on how I react to whatever he is that clashes with my intelectualizad view of how he ‘should’ be.
Let’s just leave the children in peace. THEY are the teachers.
Here’s my boy having a shower. About a month ago we started going to swimming lessons. My boy would not get near the water. The teacher then told him: it’s just like having a bit bath! Hmm the wrong thing to say I’m afraid. This little man has hated baths since he was tiny. Lol.
We also started going to to forest school my boy and I. On the first day my son didn’t want to try anything new and the response of the leaders was gold: ‘you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, when you feel ready let us know’. He was ready a second later. He knew he didn’t have anything to prove there so he felt safe to ‘fail’.