“Who would you rather be your mommy, your actual mommy (you know, grandma) or…YOU?”, my five year old daughter asked me while we were sitting on the couch together the other day.
I paused to contemplate my daughter’s innocent, simple, and incredibly profound question. Would I want ME to be my own parent?
My daughter played with her toys as I thought about it. I put myself in her shoes and imagined myself as the little girl I once was. I then got up and went over to take a good look at myself in the mirror. I stared and I asked myself the same question: would I want me to parent ME? And if so, what kind of parent would I want me to be for me?
I had to take some time to think about it, and did so for the next day or two.
Thinking about the question brought me to a new level of understanding of the type of parent I want to be. My daughter’s question forced me to really look deeply into myself and ask myself whether or not I really like the parent that I am. I put myself in my own child’s shoes, but not as her, rather, as myself, and thought, what is it that I would want from me, if I was my own parent. The answers flowed out of me. I didn’t require a parenting handbook or any advice to answer the question. I just had to look at myself and inside of myself for the answers.
This what I came up with:
I would want lots of hugs, understanding, and encouragement. I would want presence, listening, and realness. I would want a smile to greet me every day when I came home from school. I would want me to read to me and hold me. I would want me to believe in me. I would want me to be firm with me tell me when I think I am being irrational or unkind (but I would want me to be loving and kind when I did so.) I would want me to teach me things, and at the same time allow me to find my own way and my own voice.
My belief is that if we want to be confidently directed parents, the best place to start is by looking to ourselves and into ourselves first for the answers to what kind of parent we would like to be.
Here are some questions to help guide you in finding the answers to the type of parent you want to be:
- What did you learn about parenting from your own upbringing?
- What did you like? What did you not like?
- What styles of parenting have you been exposed to that you like and / or not like?
- Who are you?
- What are your values?
- What do you believe?
- What style of parenting suits you best, based on who you are, what you value, and what you believe.
And ultimately, would you want YOU to be your own parent?
If so, what kind of parent would you be for yourself?
These are deep question and so, take your to think about them. I know I am still thinking about that last one ;).
In support and admiration,
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