A friend posted this week that she felt as though her school decision was a choice between her kids’ physical health and their mental health.
That’s impossible. That’s real.
And yet, you are doing it. You are the mom – you are the dad. You move forward even when it seems insurmountable, hopeless, bleak. These are the trenches of parenting.
You will figure this out. You will come to a decision that is best for your family. You will pay the cost – in pennies, hours, exhaustion, unasked for comments… You will adjust and adapt. You will do it.
Your kids will figure this out. They will settle into your decision because they trust you. They may pay as well – in being stretched, in frustration, in uncomfortable change… But they will reap too – in growth and strength and learning you cannot now imagine. They will do it!
So breathe. Remember how well you know your kiddoes. Be kind to yourself. Listen. Share. Hold plans loosely. Do the next, Right thing. And remind yourself:
Our family has developed several music playlists over the years. Most notably, there’s a “clean-the-house” hype, a “dance-party” jam, the “road-trip” set, and a “leave-mom-alone” warning loop. They are wildly varied and ever-evolving.
My moves aren’t pretty or particularly coordinated, but when a certain mood strikes or when it is called for (this is particularly effective in public) I lead the dancing. It’s silly and fun and generally shakes things up enough to reset the mood for the better. Heart, mind, body, and soul benefit.
Whatever works for you, for you and your children – you’ve chosen it at just the right moment – it is your dance. Great job parents – you’ve gotten through this bit together.
Did you play by yourself? Did you play with your friends? Did you play as a family? Regardless, the decision to play communicates the value of the essential life skill of recreation. Your playfulness brings light, well-being, and fun to your life and to your family. Enjoy.
Trying is a part of learning. This can be hard work – for them and for you.
You play a big part in this process. Supporting their growth, development, and education may mean encouraging, waiting, helping, allowing… it means providing tools, space, time… The tension of a problem contributes to finding the solution.
Great job dad, great job mom – you set the stage so that they could approach a totally new experience with confidence. And whether or not they liked it, finished it, or rocked it – they took a risk and learned from it.
Congratulation moms and dads – you gave your kiddo the gift of exploration and experimentation to understand their world. Evidenced by filthy fingernails, holes in the pants, and pockets full of natural treasures – the learning packed in this busy, happy, dirty day is priceless. A perfect day ends with a bath.
I used to savor the moment when all of my kids were buckled in and I shut the van door – I would take my time walking around the car BY MYSELF before we zipped off to the next thing. The children were safe and the tiny break was enough of a reset for my own mental health.
The bonus was (and is) that everyone gets a lesson in self-care, patience, and valuing each other. This is important and excellent parenting.
Who knew that part of your parenting job would be to teach your kiddo to wait while you go to the bathroom? But, on the other hand, who know that would be so fabulous?
Today we celebrate our fathers. We praise them with cards and treat them with breakfast in bed. But, especially today, we honor the fathers in our lives with congratulations, recognition, and commemoration. So share their stories:
Tell the one about what you did for your dad on Fathers Day, about when you had that special time, about when he covered for you, about the time he forgave you, about when he taught, helped, played…
You can tell the tricky ones too, gently. And tell the ones about the person stepped in as father for you.
And be sure to tell a bunch about your kiddo’s father (even is it’s you!) about when you first understood you were a dad, about when you made a dad mistake, about how proud you are to be their dad, about dad things you are looking forward to…
Family storytelling builds and reinforces the culture of your home. As you’ve told old and new dad stories today, you have built up your child’s understand of themselves and their history. This is great parenting – and fun too. Happy Father Day.
Water play leads to development of math and science concepts that contribute to higher learning. And it’s fun. And it’s extra fun when there’s a purpose to it. So, today’s dishwashing, bath time, washing the car, tramping in puddles (maybe that one is not so helpful) or watering the flowers count as lessons and well as chores.
Tending the veggies, herbs, and flowers is participating in life. The reward comes slowly and with gentle work. You took time to water the flowers – I hope you took the time to smell them. Congratulations on doing the important parenting task of sharing caretaking with your little one.
Every day you help your child understand the world. Today, on this 155th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States, you did the hard work of sharing important and complex concepts. Maybe you’ve educated yourself, done some soul-searching, stepped into the unknown, made a new commitment and now are doing things differently – it all matters. Great job growing as a family.
I once saw a toddler accidentally knock another toddler over. The caregiver asked to pusher to say, “sorry.” He did. And then helped his buddy up just to push him down again and repeat, “sorry.”
There is way more to an apology than a magic word.
You were wrong. You and your kiddo both knew it. BUT, you apologized. You changed the script. You modeled humility, honesty, and commitment to growth and doing your best. And they forgave you. Nicely done.