Monday, March 8, 2010

What Have We Done

Someone asked for advice about parenting as they added a new baby to their family and how larger, non-punitive families function. We're pretty dysfunctional, always kind of swirling along like Taz but this was my advice:

My advice is kinda worthless because it's kind of non-advice.
  • Keep listening to yourself and trust your instincts.
  • Forgive. A lot. Yourself and others.
  • Begin again and again and again---as many times as it takes--and it's going to take a lifetime.
  • Focus on endurance rather than patience.
  • Laugh. A lot. At yourself and others. Seriously as moms we say and do and witness some of the most hysterical things if we can just learn to not take it all so seriously.
  • Let go of expectations--they're just pride and are ruinous. Rather have an idea of the goal, but remain detached from results and allow the journey to take whatever course it will take.
  • Be in the present--lingering in the past or the future will always make the present a mess and diminish your joy as well as your effectiveness.
  • Don't forget that you are a person with needs, too. Include yourself in the plan for meeting everyone's needs. You don't honor yourself, your children, or God by neglecting your own personhood.
  • Enlist help. Ask for help. Beg for help. Not asking for help is just pride and is ruinous.

And going from 2-3 means you now have more kids than hands and that is a huge leap. Give yourself time to develop the skills you need to deal with that reality. Every new kid means a new shift in balancing everyone's needs and the immediacy with which we can meet needs---and that always involves grieving through to the resolution stage. And it's hard to grieve with a gaggle of children always needing you.