Birthdays have always been my favourite day of the year. It’s a celebration of life, and it’s a reminder of how fleeting and precious all of this is. Birthdays used to come at the end of a slow walk around the sun. Now I leap and run and cartwheel and fly. Life gets faster. But it also gets better.
Reya turned 3 this January. I thought I would reflect on some of the biggest parenting lessons I’ve learned as we stepped into the toddler years.
This parenting experience I am having is truly fascinating. I’ve spend the last almost 3 years building this brand new relationship with a brand new human being, and yet, I’m the one who feels brand new.
My daughter invites me to examine life more closely. To experience simple things with more depth and intention. To see so much of myself mirrored in another person. Everything has become a giant question mark, and life is more exciting this way.
Reya is almost 3. And there is a lot going on at almost 3. I’m just trying to keep up.
My very best parenting lessons come when I pay attention.
One day, I was paying attention, and I noticed that whenever Reya does something that I do not like or approve of, my go-to phrase is “That isn’t very nice, Reya.” or something of that variety.
The traditional structure of parenting has been where where a parent imparts their knowledge, wisdom, advice, instructions, expectations and sometimes even their demands onto the child.
That child then has two options – obey or rebel.
If the child obeys, he/she is a good son/daughter and wins the love and respect of the parent.
If the child rebels – the relationship is challenged. Life becomes difficult for the parent and the child in different ways.
Before I became a mother, I knew that this method of child rearing was not what felt right to me. Now that I am in fully immersed in parenting my little 2 year old, I think a lot about what kind of parent I am to her.
One thing I know for sure is that parenting is a two way street. I have an important and valuable learned wisdom to share with Reya, and she has an important and valuable innate wisdom share with me. I don’t subscribe to the belief that one is superior to the other. They both have it’s place in the parent-child relationship and in life.
Yes, she is new to life but so am I.
The day my daughter was born, a mother was born too.
If you have spent any length of time reading my blog, you will know that my blog posts tend to be rather in depth and verbose. I usually go deep into one topic per post.
I’m interested in trying something a little different for an upcoming blog post. I’d like to talk about a few different topics in one place. And I’d like to talk about the things that matter most to you and your life. Kind of like a rapid fire Q&A.
I thought the best way to do this would be to offer you a chance to ask an anonymous question in the question box above. It can be a question that relates to your personal life or it can be a more of a general/universal topic that you’d like me to touch on. I’ve done this a few times on instagram – here are some examples of questions people have asked:
- How to achieve peace of mind?
- How to be a peaceful parent?
- How to restart meditation when you are out of practice?
- Your thoughts on self love?
- How can I support a friend who has gone through stillbirth?
I can’t promise that I have all the answers (in fact, I can promise you that I don’t!) but I’d love to share my thoughts on whatever is on your mind.
I’ll answer a few of them in an upcoming blog post (that’s if I get any responses at all eek!)
3 years ago today, I was labouring to deliver my stillborn daughter. I was frightened, overwhelmed, traumatized, and heartbroken. It hurts to think about it.
This is not Reya’s first Christmas, but it is the first Christmas that she has some awareness of. She refers to all the Christmas decorations in store fronts as “chrissy-mas mess” and is so delighted by it all. She knows about snow, and snowmen, and christmas trees. She hasn’t quite got to grips with Santa Claus, and this is something I’ve been thinking about for some time now. How do I feel about this? What the purpose in perpetuating this fantasy for my child? Is this lie worth it? What do my children gain from this?
Just a fun little video for a peak into my friday night last week. Cleaning. Flowers. Red velvet cupcakes. And a mini haul of a few of the items I picked up for Reya from the Gap!
Shortly after I gave birth to my stillborn daughter Mia, my husband and I were given the difficult task of picking a place to scatter her ashes. And though this task was both tragic and morbid, we somehow found ourselves embracing it for what it was. We knew that this would be one of the only things we get to do for our daughter as her parents. All our other parental responsibilities that we so longingly dreamed about, were stolen from us.
In this video I talk a little bit about some of the principles and values that really guide my husband and I in how we raise Reya.
Thank you so much for watching!