Monday, August 19, 2013

monday musings: on parenting

Its true children don’t come with their own personal instruction book explaining how to raise them. No, parenting is very much a learning by doing experience. I’m sure that sometimes children wished their parents came with instruction books too!

From the moment River was born I felt simultaneously in bliss and over-awed, in bliss that this precious little being was ours to love and nurture, and over-awed by the responsibility to ‘get it right’. By get it right I mean parent him to be the best that he can be.

River turned seven a few weeks ago (we celebrated with sushi see above and a bonfire), and I can feel and see the shift in him from childhood to boyhood. I watch him taking the world in, soaking up every nuance of life and the people around him. He is hungry. Hungry to learn, hungry for life. At the end of this next seven year cycle River will be fourteen and heading into the heart of his adolescence. I am conscious of giving him every opportunity, now, at this age, to grow in his confidence and capabilities.

As each birthday comes around for my children I find myself reflecting on the ways they’ve grown and how Pete and I have grown in our parenting. Or not grown. Its a good time to be mindful about what needs some work.

Over-thinking things is something I've done too often in the past, including how to parent. I’ve learned to let that go and found a happy place of being mindful rather than overwrought with analytical thinking that leads to second guessing myself.

I approach parenting with the adage ‘begin with the end in mind’, that is, think about the men and women you’d like your children to become and lay the foundations from birth. Pete and I want our boys to have respect for themselves, for others and for the world they live in. We are raising them to use their initiative and to realise from a young age that they are part of a bigger picture and that starts with contributing in our home.

I look around at the young men and women I know and am curious about how they have been parented, I ask their parents for tips and advice and file them away ready to put into practice.

The biggest obstacles I see on the path of parents and their children in these times are technology, fake food, and added to that for teenagers is the alcohol culture that has become an unfortunate excuse for a rite of passage. How to deal with these obstacles are posts for another day.

At this moment, in this season of my parenting I am filled with joy watching my boy’s personalities and passions unfold. River the actor, fisherman, surfer, guitarist, such a social being, always asking ‘what I have to eat mum?’ Sol the artist, painting daily is his meditation, colour and drawing held his attention from a young age, lost in imaginary play, boundless energy from the moment his eyes pop open, such physical strength, in awe of his big brother.

I am also challenged and tired by hearing ‘no!’ from them and when they squabble and whine.

Above all, I am beyond grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to parent these boys and to do so with Pete who is a wonderful father, who is fully present in every sense of the word. The three of them challenge me to grow, to be the best I can and to dig deeper. Even when I feel exhausted, thinking I can dig no more, I find more and I thank them for that.

Where are you at with parenting? Share your tips and experiences in the comments...


  1. What a beautiful, reflective and wise post. I too love to reflect on our parenting and look at how it has and can evolve.With Poe also heading towards seven i too see the changes in him, becoming more grounded in himself, secure, kind, compassionate and helpful. Thank you for sharing your reflections dear one. xxx

    1. Thanks Jay for your lovely comment. I enjoy being reflective when I get the chance! We are back home now in chilly Victoria with the wood heater burning hot and hot water bottles warming the flanelette sheets. Feeling very lucky to have had our Northern Rivers time and that you and yours were part of it xxx

  2. I gave up reading parenting books years ago. Now I just trust my instinct and follow my heart. Parenting is messy and complicated and I know I don't always get it right. All the great moments well and truly make up for the hard times. If only we could slow it down a bit...they grow so quickly! Now and then I pine for the babies I once had, but life must move forward! It's a total joy this parenting gig..and such a privilege.

    1. I so agree Michelle about slowing down a bit and our babies not growing up so quickly...I know we'll be saying that when they are 50 too! And yes given that I have adored babies all my life, the more I have around the better but you are right life must move forward. Nice to hear from you xx

  3. i just spent 4 days on great keppel island with friends and their 2 year old son, and it was lovely seeing how he's grown from a 1 year old into a little boy with words and actions! he was so happy to explore with no special toys or treats needed when nature is plenty! hope you're journey back south was good. it was lovely to meet you (and Jay). i felt such warmth from both of you. The bonfire was about 10 times bigger than I imagined! x

    1. Thanks Nat our trip home was smooth but quite long with a sleepover in Melbourne before we finally got back to our little beach shack here on the Peninsula. Our morning together with Jay was definitely a highlight really great to meet you and yes it was a mighty bonfire! xx

  4. My middle girl recently turned seven, it truly is a wonderous age. I love watching her process new concepts and ideas, growing in so many ways each and every day. It is beautiful to read of a mother loving her journey


Thanks for your comments. I read every one!

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