Conscious Parenting

Raising Girls

Raising girls and being a female has been like watching my own reflection. Therefore I am very aware of the experiences I expose them too. Not only because they are my children, but because I once remember being just like them. Raising girls comes with its own challenges. I don't like to pick apart children based on gender, but realistically there are just biological components that make both species very different. I know in my family there are sayings that boys are more easy when raising, but harder to carry prenatal. And that girls are very challenging as they age, but seem to excel more academically. Blah, blah, blah. Although I believe those stories have derived from personal experiences, it is hard to pin point. All I can do is speak about my personal experience raising my children and why I don't place labels.

The gender roles that society likes to prescribe to certain sexes are the natural way we begin to shape and raise our children. We tell boys not to play with dolls, and tell girls not to play too rough. It's natural to adapt to those same gender roles because it makes us feel safe, but what does that teach our children? Are they only allowed to be or feel a certain way, and if not they should feel isolated? I have decided to go against the grain when raising my girls with the understanding that they are capable of doing whatever they choose to do, not because they are females but because they can actually do it.

Kennedy is my flower child. A girl of many wanders. I remember when she began to walk, how she gravitated towards art. Her security was not in a blanket, it was holding a book. She would always need to use her hands, if it was trying to write letters and words, coloring on our walls, or just having a crayon, that girl had things that she needed to come across expressively. So what did I do? I placed her in art classes. I believe as a parent we should allow our children to gravitate towards the things they are interested in. Not saying that we shouldn't give them choices. But there are particular "talents and gifts", as a parent you begin to notice early on and we should take those as signs. She blossomed so well in art it transpired into her excelling in literature because she was so expressive. Now she is a gymnast, a genius in math, and enjoys everything crafty. I never try to corner her into activities, instead I make them available for her to explore. Now that she is older, I allow her to choose all while I still challenge her to expand her interest. I never want my girls to be boxed in, or written out...if you know what I mean.

 

She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. “Time” for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.
— Roman Payne

Now Karter is my fire cracker. Her spirit is not so calm. Half of that is attributed to her being 2, the other half is her will power she has displayed since birth. I say this because even when birthing her she came super-fast. I went into the hospital and the Doctor told me she was coming now. She pushed herself in this world, and continues to keep pushing. She is a ball of energy, jumps off couches, and brave enough to take a leap off the diving board while daddy holds his hands out. Every experience is new to her and she holds no fear. This week she started swim classes, and not only did she show up, she showed out! I blame her drive on her sister being 7 years older. Since being born she has always seen herself in light of her sister. If Kennedy jumps high, she wants to jump higher. As I was holding her in the water, she looked up at her sister and said "see mom, I do it too". Reminded me that although we attend a million gymnastic meets, she also can do well in class. It was amazing to witness her sense of accomplishment.

Don't allow the world to box your children in. Let them be free and allow them to be little. Provide your children with the opportunities to explore. Don't believe stereotypes that keep our children hidden . Yes they will have differences, yes they may be opposites. But that's the joy of our seeds multiplying. My children are not just me reflected. They are pieces of me with a whole lot of them. And although I believe my girls drive me crazy because they are girls, I begin to dispel those myths and allow them to just be them. But always aware I'm raising queens (prayer hands).

 

No Perfect Parent Allowed.

Who wants the perfect parent anyway...cliche...cliche...cliche....

No greater challenge then the art of parenthood. Who has the secret formula? I need it all! But seriously shit gets tough. Even with all the skills I have obtained through my career, I still find myself lost, frustrated, and often times overwhelmed. Today was one of those days. God has a funny way of reminding me that it is not my education that allows me to raise my children, it is those organic moments that gives me the ability to master the craft.

There are times I find myself wanting to be isolated or run away from the responsibility of it all. The humanness of those thoughts keep me grounded. Raising "people" is one of the most demanding, sacrificial roles you will ever play. The great thing is that you have a million times to try to get it right. 

Testimony:

My oldest daughter Kennedy, 8, is at a milestone in life where she wants to mark her independence. I believe this has everything to do with her starting puberty. She can be emotional, needy, and mouthy all in the same breathe. Her good days outweigh her bad, but her bad can feel overwhelming. Today was not the day. I had a long day in the community, driving from one end of the town to the other, working with families that everyone else has failed to help. When arriving home I noticed that on a math test she put in minimum effort. I know this because I know my child and she is a math genius. When questioning her I could already tell the evening was not going to go well. She felt attacked, and maybe that was warranted, but it set the tone for the rest of the day. Later in the evening I noticed she was not taking care of her skin as need be, she has really bad eczema, and a very strict skin routine. I immediately questioned her. All her guards went up, and as she began to cry, she states "you don't care about me". That statement triggered me. I was so upset that she would say such a false statement when I just spent my entire day, my entire life, dedicated to making sure she knew how much I cared. I got argumentative and punished her. At that point her father stepped in because he is often the level headed one, and tagged me out for a break.

I was so angry, how dare she say I don't care, I work my ass off, right? I resented her in that moment. Shout out to all my single mothers/fathers who can't tag a partner to step in, you are amazing. When my husband checked in, I begin to check out. During my check out I started to self reflect. Self reflection is key when parenting because it brings you to a conscious level of parenting. I had the ability to recognize my part in it all. Was she a easy target for my bad day? How could I have approached her to get my point across in a more sensitive manner? Does she really believe I don't care, or is she a 8 year old whose reactions can be irrational? All these questions placed me back to when I was her age, and would fight back, only to realize it was at those moments I just wanted more love.

After she sat with her father, and I had some special playtime with Karter, I knew we both needed each other. She got ready for bed, I went into her room and asked if she would sit on my lap. I first begin by apologizing. This can be hard for parents, because we always feel like we are right. But to model forgiveness for our children is so empowering it's necessary. I begin to tell her the errors in my ways as well as hers. I wanted her to know that we were both flawed, equally. I never want my daughter to feel she has to be perfect or that her mommy is perfect, but I want her to know that she has to try her best. No one can argue with best. I also wanted for her to understand the difference between caring, and challenging her to be/do better. It is my job as her mother to want the best for her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Challenging her is not fighting with her, it's simply knowing as her mother her potential. We ended with a long tight hug, lots of affirmations, and encouraging one another. I will always be her mother, she will always have the role of my daughter, perfect never, growing always.

It is okay if they fall, binge on TV, have a piece of candy or three, eat fries at McDonalds, so on and so forth. It's about creating a balance. Life is surrounded by mistakes, it's the pedestal of growth. We have to allow our children to see us at those vulnerable moments, because perfection is not the goal, getting back up is. 

The act of parenting isn’t about creating the perfect child or being the perfect parent. It’s the effort that goes towards figuring it out that makes you great.
— Mommy Wells
Not looking for perfection, my heart is mounted on top of love.   -Mommy Wells

Not looking for perfection, my heart is mounted on top of love.   -Mommy Wells