So what am I here to say about this business of parenting and the practice of mindfulness? Of being a single, divorced mama of two teenage boys?
I’m confused, all the time. I never know what’s the right thing to do or say.
I feel torn watching them drift further and further into their own lives and away from mine. Proud. Scared. Glad. Grateful. A tight, little ball forms in my chest when I think about how much they mean to me. There are no words. Yes, even when they are driving me fucking crazy. Pushing for later curfews and sleeping over at so and so’s house (I was always up to no good when I was sleeping at so and so’s house). Cell phones, video games and headphones, a barrier, a battleground an escape, sometimes from me. Sometimes for me. Harsh sarcastic humor that acts as armor in a world that’s often hard to understand.
What a gift to know them, and be a part of their messy, weird, confused, brilliant lives. Probably the greatest gift I’ve ever received.
So I’m all in.
I want to have a sense of humor about this whole mama thing. My favorite parenting reads are funny and offer perspective (other people laughing about the things I’m freaking out over reminds me it’s ok to relax. A little.). Which can in turn draw me out of the “I’m in this alone and I’m totally fucking up” vortex. It also helps the part of me who is a worrier and a control freak get my shit (oh dang, there she is) under control.
This might be a good time to mention that I know—I know nothing is under my control. And still, I try. Really hard. I’m madly in love with my guys and all I really really want is for them to be happy and never ever have to experience anything bad or hard, or repeat my mistakes and I want for them to be happier, more successful, basically, better than I am (which is a complete disservice to them by the way). Also I want them to be normalish, and at the same time let their freak flag fly. I understand that it’s not their job to make me feel good about myself as a parent and human being and yet, the common thinking is that if my kids are fucked up, it’s my fault. I would of course be the leader of that marching band. Self-flagellation is one of my natural born talents.
Enter mindfulness. How we treat ourselves, most definitely reflects how we treat our children (or our mate or our friends, coworkers, ex-husband, parents, siblings, etc…). Or maybe it would be more revealing to say, how we treat the people in our lives is a reflection of how we treat ourselves.
Oooo. Ahhhh. Ouch. I offer helpful suggestions (try to fix and change), I get tense about mistakes and wonder how things could have been done (should have been done differently), I get raging mad when I feel ignored, dismissed, stepped over.
I want to be funny, and what I actually am is earnest. Bloody earnest. I like the way that sounds. Bloody earnest. It means I’m sincere and pretty deep about it. This job calls for laughter and lots of it.
Hell, this life calls for laughter and lots of it.
Today I’m venturing into a mindful parenting series here at the love letter projects. Just to see what might be revealed about the ever changing relationships we have with our children. The relationships we are creating with them. The relationship we desire to have with them. Not always the same thing. This is an intro of sorts. Let’s call this the first of five. Yeah, I just made that number up.
A mindfully funny (earnest) exploration (sharing) of parenting, in my case, teenage boys. Please join me. Share in the comments. Your wisdom, your successes and your flat-on-your-face messes. We’re in this together. You are not alone. And hey, if you are a teen or a young adult, please jump in! Hearing your thoughts and experiences would be valuable beyond measure.