In my opinion birthing classes should be immediately followed by mandatory parenting classes.
All my life I inherently knew that my primary vocation was to be a mother first and all else second. Had I had any semblance of an idea what it actually meant to be a parent I may have better explored that word “career”. All I knew was that I was a very happy, loving, fun person and that I was always surrounded by animals and kids. Naturally I assumed that this meant I had all the makings of being an exceptional mother.
I was fortunate to not have to work back then when we lived on a mountaintop with 360 degree views. But as beautiful as it was, breastfeeding my babies while watching the clouds change formations and furiously bring on mother nature’s toil, it was an incredibly lonely time – and yet the isolation allowed for my focus to be completely directed to taking long adventurous explorations and thus began my lessons on what it meant to be drug and alcohol free, sweet, responsible, intelligent, creative and caring gentleman. Never to early to start I say.
With Wade and I being communicators, we were not comfortable with “time outs” preferring long, dragged out discussions on what went wrong to bring on the tantrum. We did however, try the Cry it Out method, but with each baby at two years of age came the THUMP, a sound symbolizing escape and freedom as they discovered they could climb….and jump, out of their cage/crib. Sadly, all the angst and painstaking devotion to Ferberizing was all for naught.
When the first one turned thirteen a new kind of parenting began. Not one to go with the first option that presents itself, I met with numerous counselors in the valley until I found the right one to help us. It took me a year. Trust your instincts is all I have to say. With each counselor I met, if I walked out of the office with any doubts, I scheduled a new appointment with someone else. An expensive process no doubt.
Where one therapist would spend the first fifteen minutes of my money talking about why she was such a great therapist leading into?the first question to?my 13 year old son with, “So what are your goals?” another would ask my son directly if he was addicted to anything and when met with a no as a response would look at me and in front of my son state that I was the problem and perhaps instead of being a hovering mom should take more classes on how to raise a teenaged boy. You may bawk at this but I would leave the therapy office feeling like a ton of bricks had been lifted since I was the problem. That I could work on. But then I’d go home and learn that my son had missed half of his first semester. Back to finding another therapist.
Each time I brought a child in for one or another health reasons inevitably the therapist, acupuncturist or some other kind of healer would wag a finger at me and I would look at them wide-eyed preparing for the lecture of what in the hell I did wrong this time. “And YOU!,” they would exclaim, “I have ways to help YOU not worry so much,” or “And YOU!,” “I know you feel close to your child but YOU don’t need to burden them with half of what you share,” and out we would leave, me with my tail between my legs realizing that I was indeed a big part of the equation.
So yes, I have always been present and caring and have had a consistent loving and solid relationship with Baddy but that doth not mean that life is coasting by and that I have three tidy boys, conscientious and polite. Boys who are always respectful of adults and teachers, who look people directly in the eye with clear understanding and purpose in a conversation and who always run to assist others in times of need. Au contraire my friends. Au *&(^’n contraire.
If only I could have told that cute, bouncy little girl back then that the true definition of parenting was, “to be giving of oneself completely to one’s child in a tolerant, intellectual and understanding manner. To consistently fill oneself with educational materials on each year of one’s child’s life, for just when one thinks one has it, said child will change. To be fully present and mindful. To trust one’s intuition. To NEVER have a solid night’s sleep. To be prepared to either meditate or medicate.”
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