Guest post by Kevani Macdonald, reposted from her new blog http://mountainmoms.ca/ – because not everyone tells the truth about parenthood, and the ongoing onslaught of revelations and struggles. And because Kev captures so well this gut-sinking feeling I’ve had myself, that if I really want my kid to self-actualize, I need to focus my efforts on myself, and being the best version of my self I can be, and not just telling him what to do.
Kev and her creative collaborators, Dee and Maja, are posted regularly on their blog. Check it out.
Halle-freakin-lujah my 14.5 month old, 23lb medicine ball of a daughter is finally walking!
While all that carrying has been keeping me in shape, I definitely share her joy in her new ability to get around on her own.
As I set her down to find her feet in this world, it is like that physical weight has shifted to a mental one as the full gravity of the responsibility of raising her finally dawned on me.
I’m not sure if it was triggered by seeing her toddling around looking like a real person or by all the podcasts I’ve been listening to on my commute to and from work but something flipped the switch. Light bulb – it is our responsibility to instill in her the values that will guide her through the inevitable tough times in her life and see her emerge on the other side of them as the happy, confident, compassionate etc etc woman than I know she has the potential to be (as long as we don’t mess her up too much in the mean time).
As if this realization wasn’t enough, here’s the real kicker. Once I got clear on the values I hope she will grow up to have, I realized that I need to start modelling them – and fast.
There’s no point dreaming of a teen who knows that home is a safe place to discuss her hopes/fears and talk out solutions when her dad and I are down to communicating in a series of grunts and our longest answer to the question “How are you feeling?” is “Tired and I think I’m getting sick again.”
It’s useless to expect her to learn the skills that will allow her to rise up above petty schoolyard disputes and be serene in her own quiet confidence when she’s just watched her mum phone her dad and bite his head off for not putting the baby seat back in the car or something equally trivial.
How can I teach her to follow her dreams, take risks and create a life filled with passion when I get frozen by the fear of making any decisions that could affect our finances.
I’m glad to say there are some things that I do feel we are already equipped to showcase for her around health, love of the outdoors, good friendships, self discipline and work ethic.
As for the rest of it, I’m choosing to see it as an opportunity to improve myself, driven by this powerful motivator of trying to be the sort of person I want my daughter to respect and emulate.
It’s not going to be easy, but just like she is doing right now, I need to put my best foot forward and just keep getting back up when I fall down.