Have You Forgotten You’re A Parent? (What truly is “parenting done right?”) (Episode 229)
Have you forgotten you're a parent? Yikes. That seems like an easy answer of no, right? I mean, how can you forget you're a parent when there are children's clothes and toys all over your house, you're hearing the noise and the chaos, and the constant demand for a meal seems to be your main MO? It's not that we've necessarily forgotten parenting...but what does it really mean to step up as a parent?
I recently flipped through a "back to school" edition of a parenting magazine, and read an article where they polled teachers on what they wished parents would know before they sent their kids back to school.
And the over-arching theme wasn't asking parents to do better with practicing flashcards with their kids...it boiled down to a desperate question - have you forgotten parenting?
“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” — Linda Wooten, writer
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The Great Resignation...and my soapbox
Before we even get to the parenting aspect, I have to just hit on a big issue with humanity right now. There is a lot of talk around the "Great Resignation" and an "anti-work movement". I don't think people are just getting lazy. I honestly don't see this as everyone is just looking for the easy road and to get paid to do nothing. I don't believe it means everyone just aims to mooch off of others.
I believe, quite honestly, that people are fed up with being treated like anything less than human. Look at the news and the protests of workers, like at Amazon and the candle factory in Kentucky who are not willing to place their safety in the hands of their employers. There is an overall lack of trust in our world, and the biggest lack of trust is that anyone else cares about your best interests.
There is a deficit of people simply being good humans to each other. Here in the US, there is a lot of focus on competition, fast pace, and a "my way or the highway" approach. That doesn't bode well for human connection. That's moving forward in spite of other humans in your way vs. working together for a common good in the world.
Those people saying they won't go back - while there are always the slackers and exceptions to every rule, I believe so many of them are saying they won't go back to being treated as less than a valuable human being. They've realized how much they were running on fumes, and how much more productive they are now when they make space to recover. Some have gone deep with exploring their mental health, the ruts they've found themselves in, and are determined not to spiral down that same path anymore.
Yes, it's a wake-up call to employers. It's a wake-up call to look hard at what you're asking people to do, and whether or not it's a realistic demand on a human who's life is worthy to be here. Yes, trash collectors, janitors, and many other jobs that are "essential" may not be the essence of someone's life purpose; however if it pays the bills and they find positive community in the work environment, you're likely to see people stay more loyal to that job.
People leave work more often due to toxic relationships and lack of respect for what they do. Not just because they don't feel like working. Before we place blame on laziness here, let's be real clear on if what we're asking people to do is truly respecting and valuing them as a human being with a life beyond working for this paycheck.
Bringing Humanity to School
As unschooling parents, we've talked about the four tenets to raising good humans. The reality is that there aren't "good" and "bad" humans, but we have the opportunity to look though a lens of seeing - and being - the good we want in the world - the things that bring us joy and lift each other up - vs. the bad of tearing each other down and seeing life as a negative. And this - "great resignation" and all the divisiveness in our country - this element of going back to humanity is essential.
So let's get back to the topic of these teachers in the parenting magazine, and what they really wanted from parents more than anything.
“Motherhood has completely changed me. It’s just about the most completely humbling experience I’ve ever had. I think it puts you in your place because it really forces you to address the issues that you claim to believe in and if you can’t stand up to those principles when you’re raising a child, forget it.”
— Diane Keaton, actress
This quote above is a start - as a parent, you not only are responsible for your own actions, but those of your children. That means those principles you value...you're passing them on to your children. Those tenants of being a kind human being are incredibly valuable.
Is your role as a parent simply being a financial provider and chauffeuring them to and from school? Are you really stepping up for what being a parent really is all about?
Are you all in your own lane?
In our go-go-go society, it's easy for everyone to simply fall in their own lanes. Maybe Dad is the breadwinner, Mom is the homemaker, and kids go to school. Everyone stays in their own lanes...but where does the parenting go? Running a household - minus kids - is a full task on it's own. Paying bills, maintaining a property, fixing food...you can spend all your time doing tasks without any parenting involved. If you add in a full school day plus extracurricular activities, your opportunity for even being present with them to parent is a short amount of time. How much of that is spent simply running errands, cleaning, or just maintaining a household? How much is fostering life skills like integrity, awareness, respect, compassion and empathy?
“Having kids — the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings — is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.”
- Maria Shriver, journalist
A common request in the parenting magazine by teachers of young children was begging their parents to show them life skills. How to get dressed, open their food for themselves, share, be kind, and work together.
What are you working with your children on that are essential life skills to being a good and kind human vs. helping them with math homework?
Let them struggle
The other common theme was the opposite of a hands-off parent. It's the micro-manager who wants their child to succeed so badly they take over and do it for them!
“My worst parenting moments, the ones I am least proud of, happened because I was trying to impress a bunch of strangers I’ll probably never see again.” — Janel Mills, blogger
What is truly important? Showing your child as the "winner", or seeing their joy of accomplishment at a task well earned? Are you willing to trust your child enough to allow them to struggle? To know that they won't break and that emotional resilience is key to being able to bounce back in life moving forward?
“Parenthood…it’s about guiding the next generation and forgiving the last.” — Peter Krause, actor
Do You Trust Them?
Do you trust your children enough to give them the space to learn on their own? Teachers asked parents to stop doing their homework for their children, pushing them for all As, and micromanaging their children - and teachers. They asked for parents to allow for the independence of something outside of their home.
The quote I have had up in my home since the year I was born is, "there are two lasting gifts we can give our children. One is roots, the other, wings. " Are you willing to allow your child to have an element of their own world, their own learning, and their own opportunities to fail?
Are you establishing a home life that is supportive enough that your child is able to move outside of that home and function, and are they able to see - and be - the good in the world they desire? Do they feel your trust to move forward, or are you managing them so much they don't see their own personal responsibility?
Being a good human is less about a label and more about the goggles you see life in. Looking for the good, seeking the good, and striving to be the good is what makes a good human. Good humans can still get cranky, frustrated, and mess up. Good humans can even do mean things sometimes. But the over-arching desire is toward a common good for humanity, and that takes into account grace and a desire to bring out the best in everyone, including yourself.
Unfortunately, we have a serious breakdown of trust in humanity, and believing others truly care about our best interests. I can't make everyone look out for others. Yet I can focus on those right under my roof. Do I trust them - to be personally responsible for their own actions? To show empathy and awareness for others? Do I trust myself?
What is necessary?
Look at your life and what is flowing well. Look at what is causing you stress and burnout. What all is truly necessary in your life? What is worth hustling and working hard for? The biggest request that ultimately covers both those parents who micromanage and those who are hands-off...don't take over the role of your child, yet don't walk away. Please, parents...be present. Be a support as your child steps into their independence, and help them explore how to get there by giving them a foundation of roots as well as the wings to fly.
Nathan talked on the podcast above about how the most genuine "I love you, Daddy" moments he's had often have come after a "sandpaper grind" of learning through a struggle and coming out on the other side.
Sometimes the struggle is so worth it. Don't underestimate how sweet success is on the other side of it. Growth pushes us, and takes us further than we may realize we could ever go. So drop what isn't necessary - those struggles that are toxic and just keep you down. And get real clear on those ones that help you grow...and what you're learning and gaining from it. Not only that...share it with your kids and let them see you modeling the emotional resilience and personal responsibility you're looking for in them.
“I looked on childrearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully interesting and challenging as any honourable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it.” — Rose Kennedy, socialite and philanthropist
Your Weekly Challenge:
Are you equipping your child with the essential tools to navigate life?
Are you intentionally seeking and creating good and kindness and joy i this world?
Are you setting that example for your family?
Do your kids know how to navigate boredom, transitions, sharing, conflict? Do they understand time management?
How much are we teaching when we are not in reaction-mode?
If your children are old enough, "hire" your children. Look at tasks they can do and see where the missing gaps are. How well can they communicate their needs or what they are doing? Open the door to living life together. We don't always know what's missing if we don't dig in and explore together.
What kind of human are you showing up as? Are you truly being the change you want to see in this world?
How is this impacting your family? Are you seeing through a lens of goodness and abundance? Are you curious about your family? Get to know them better. Ask them questions that move you all toward compassion, peace, and connection with one another, and celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
- Embrace The Struggle (Episode 41)
- Raising Good Humans: Four Tenets (Episode 211)
- The Unschooling Parent (Episode 194)
- Embrace The Struggle (Episode 41)
- The Steps For Emotional Resilience (Episode 150)
- 10 Essential Lessons for Life – Foster Independence
- 5 Tips To Focus For Frazzled Families (Episode 160)
- Get your free download of "Success Secrets for Home and Work" here
- Have Life Seasons Got You Stuck In A Funk? (Episode 179)
- The Seasons Of Life (Episode 3)
- Does Your LIFE Have Seasons?
- What's Left Unsaid - Nonverbal Cues (Episode 192)
- Which is More Important - Skillset or Mindset? (Episode 218)
- Self-Love, or Self-Sabotage? (Episode 152)
- Ashley Logsdon, Relationship Coach
- Personality Styles
Questions or comments?
We love Q&A on the podcast, and cover all things that are a part of creating an intentional family.
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, entrepreneurship, minimalism, travel...
What is pressing on your mind? Reach out and ask or comment - we may cover it on an upcoming podcast as well as respond by email.