Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The village

I bristle when people start talking about, (well, judging really) "daycare." I was there once too, I remember. Sending kids "away" seemed like a strange way to deal with parenthood. You had the kid, you should take care of the kid. And yet, here I am, my child away for 3.5 hours a day, in a place with "strangers."

But no, that's not what it is, I realize now.

My child, curious, talkative, social, engaging, has a big village loving him. His guides at school are part of his village. He doesn't keep love from them. He doesn't hide from them or cry when he sees them. They are part of his village. The village that's raising him.

Everyday I am grateful for that village of willing adults, some related, some not, that share time with K. He's a bright star in the world, and he can be exhausting. But I don't let my lack of energy and my self-judgment cloud his world. He loves school. I love that he loves school.

I know other mamas who can spend 24/7 with their littles and I applaud them, but I don't simultaneously beat myself up for not doing that. It's not fair. It means I'm telling K that our choice to put him in school wasn't a choice at all. If I beat myself up, I'm saying we failed.

But that's not the case.

We just grew our village some more.

And that village is huge, to contain the love of our kid. He's capable of loving outside his DNA. He's interested, he's engaged, and he's surprisingly already aware that his circle of influence is larger. Who am I to keep him from that?

So when I see those comments flying around about who should be caring for my child, I speak up and say that my kid just has a bigger village now. And anyone who has a heart big enough to care for children they didn't originally intend to raise, gets a hug of gratitude from me. Thank you for caring so deeply for my child. Thank you for your patience and willingness. Thank you for inviting us in to your village, too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Being in charge

So mostly I blog about parenthood. Letting go of things BECAUSE of parenthood. Mostly.

And now, I am sitting here home alone while K is with his grandparents, and I'm staring at unpaid bills, unemployment letters, debt collection correspondence, and enticing credit card offers. Hubby is at work and I'm feeling pretty lonely about life.

I have a lot of interests and I'm wondering which ones to pursue.

I work intuitively with homes, I own a seasonal B&B, I write, I love to speak publicly, I used to be an administrative assistant, and now I am faced with the choice to take charge of my life and earn my own income directly.

It's easy to be in charge of a little person's life. Simple tasks: eat, sleep, change diapers, put on clothes, put toys away, take toys out, listen to "birdies," visit with family members, etc. I can manage those things pretty well now.

But what about taking charge of my own life? What about choosing the scary, unknown thing over the thing that doesn't pay enough but is "comfortable?"

What I am learning about parenting is that there are some things I can easily be in charge of and other things that are basically out of my control. I get out of balance when I want to control things I can't, or I don't take charge of things I can. I can apply the same fluidity to my life, as I try to apply to my parenting. It's not a perfect balance most of the time since I'm still learning and my little one is still pretty small. But I know that when he wakes up from a nap, he's always hungry, so I can have food ready. I can take charge in that way.

What are the ways I can take charge of my work life? I can spend more time doing what I enjoy AND what I'm good at. I'm a good writer, I'm a great coach, I co-run a kickin' B&B. I can't control who comes to me or requests my services, but I can keep improving, I can keep sharing, and I can keep doing what I love. See how that works?

I have to remind myself of this stuff daily. I need to constantly engage the parts of me that work, that feel good, that are harmonious. Just like interacting with my child! When things are tough or he gets stuck on something, I have tactics to move him onto the next thing. Or I have an intuitive feeling about dealing with the current thing so that we can move on later. If he's cranky then I know what 2-3 things we can do to work with that. Same goes for me. When I am stuck on something I need to know the right tactics to be able to move myself onto something else.

That's what being in charge means to me. It doesn't mean try to control everything, it means choosing how I can move myself along in my life and letting go of what I can't actually control. Knowing I have that power is pretty awesome.


My favorite baby

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