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May 24, 2022

Can We Defer Parenting?

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.

I’m not calling it correct but when I was a mother to boys only, there was a certain amount of parenting that I would defer. 

To their Dad.

Things I wasn’t sure about. Like how often they should shower. Or be forced to speak. If they should be allowed toy swords or the right to refuse a clean face. 

It was like I was silently communicating my discomfort re: I don’t know much about this breed. So when I get uneasy, I’ll wait to see what you do. 

Along comes our third, a daughter. She has lately become much more aware of the changing world she is in. 

Just like we all are. Or should be. 

I find myself paying closer attention. To the way we speak to each of our kids. The accolades we impart on their subconscious. The signals we send to their souls. The involvement of both of us, with each of them. 

Closer attention. To what outside forces attempt to control. To what kind of people inspire and ignite us. To what we don’t want to become. To what we stand for. 

I breathe all this in and subsequently freak out. Because that’s a tall order of upbringing. 

Then again, it’s addressing the issue at hand. 

One at a time. 

The baby WAILED straight fire when I put a headband bow on her today. I took it off and quietly told her “It’s not to be forced.” 

Our middle child cried hard about the weekend ending. We sat with him through his feelings. 

The oldest was appalled he didn’t get to pick out a snack at the gas station right after he butt-kicked his brother. He learned there are consequences for acting like a punk. 

Maybe thousands of these tiny, often exasperating, moments build on top of each other. They stack and strengthen and form into something it’s impossible for us to see at this juncture. There might be a few shaky calls here and there, and I think that’s normal. Shoot, the biggest screw ups I know in this world are parents. 

Those same people are the ones I hold in the highest regard. 

Their stories are saturated with uncertainty, wisdom, pain, strength, fear, triumph. They have been completely overwhelmed. And honest. And beaten down. Totally unsure. In awe. So proud, their insides hurt. So heartbroken for their children, their insides weep. 

They have worried themselves silly while figuratively (and legitimately) sending their kids on their way to merge onto a congested highway. 

Feeling it all — that’s what parenting has called us to endure. We must live through these emotions in order for these kids to go do the things the world needs, living their own story. 

Here’s to the parent reading this today that is totally unsure of the last parental call they just made. I see you, I am you, I’m with you. Above all, listening to our intuition. The next right move is a quiet moment away of being still. 

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Bethany Bell  |  Contribution: 4,770