Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s September 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here!
article by Rebecca Stewart
Particularly in the early stages of parenting, some might say that moms can be…Just a touch, shall we say, control freakish when it comes to our children. Case in point: Recently I unearthed a – typed, mind you – full page of instructions for “Abby’s Schedule.” I, however, put “Schedule” in quotes, as I’m sure, I was indicating that we were so chillaxy-relaxy that stating Schedule sans quotation marks implied some kind of overbearing rigidity that was certainly not a part of our world. (Maybe I’m reading too much into my oddly placed quotation marks, however well-intentioned my instructions were. I wanted things to go well, for it to be fun, but this was for my Mother – it wasn’t exactly her first rodeo in the child-caring arena, nor her first grandchild). I imagine most veteran parents just want to drop a “Bless her sweet heart” in the face of parenting newbies and all their instructions.
The “village” offers us balance
Fortunately, for most of us, there are people in our lives who help us see the light. Or at least help us to see where we can loosen the reins a little. Or someone to assure us, “Yes, you are on the right track, you’ve got this.” Or the more difficult to hear, “Maybe you could take a step back, get a fresh perspective” [but for the love of all things holy, don’t tell someone to just “breathe.”]. Is life as you know it really going to end when a rogue sucker is given to your little tot? Would that day with my mother really have gone sideways if she didn’t know that post-bath “…she will want to help? I squeeze out the teeniest smidgen for her finger each time I lotion a new body part.” Will the world implode if grandma and grandpa’s house is the place where things lean more towards the land of spoiling?
The moral of the story is that within this parenting gig, we’re all pretty much flying by the seats of our pants. We’re doing the best we can, falling short some days, rocking it like a beast others. It’s a balance, and fortunately our village is there to help fill in some of the pieces that might be missing on any given day. I am crazy Aunt Bec. I could always be counted on to run, swing, dance, play while their plum tuckered mamas caught their breath and enjoyed some grown up conversation. Maybe you have a friend or family member whose houses the kids can go to and know they’ll get to make a glorious mess while they create to their heart’s content. We bring balance to each other in our villages, embrace that balance.