Friday, August 10, 2012

Easy Parenting

Parenting is "hard" is a generally accepted concept, why make it harder? Having a play date, going to a Moms Club event, volunteering, joining Cub Scouts...all these things at first consideration seem like more work. Why bother? I hem and haw and procrastinate in planning them. Weeks go by and my kids don't have a friend over, months could go by before I venture out to a Moms Club event sometimes, and years went by before we joined Cub Scouts because we were coming from "making life easier" and "doing less" because "it's all too much".

The reality is, that just thinking that it's "hard" makes parenting harder. I know, there is the reality of it... the kids are home 24-7 with each other and they start to get tired, as any one would, of their stinky brother in their face. They start to whine about the way he breathes and cry about the way the other one mimics him. Tempers flare and no toy seems interesting anymore. I start doing a lot of sighing, threatening, cajoling and shouting and I exhaust myself just sitting on my butt planning the meals. But my perspective is actually what makes it tiring and hard.

Staying home, staying "small" by trying to reserve energy and do as little as possible is actually the most exhausting way to parent. The easy way to parent is to BE fun and interact with them doing stimulating activities. Not necessarily structured activities like shoving them into a tennis lesson or art lesson everyday, but by calling friends and lining up play dates, where the kids run around and "free" play, showing off the toys they haven't touched for months like they are gilded with gold. I can actually sit in the living room as they play and learn a new piano song or clean out the kitchen drawers as they have a snack and chat with them about their Pokemon collections. Having a play date is easier because they are better behaved in front of peers and more excited about home.Plus,you get a peek into their social life and get in their world. This relatedness makes communicating with your child much easier.

Going to a Moms Club event, where we meet new people, leap through a sprinkler, pick fruit off trees and read books together, works. Going to Moms Clubs events definitely makes being a parent easier because while the kids are playing I get to talk to a real live adult who isn't picking their nose or burping the alphabet. She actually listens to what I have to say and actually responds in complete intelligent sentences...unless she is interrupted by her screaming toddler. Which actually doesn't bother me, in fact it's often a relief and even funny sometimes. Many a Mom has been known to laugh at another Moms chaos, not out of ridicule but out of sheer bottled up frustration at their own kids. When we see another Mom dealing with the same thing, suddenly it's okay to let that energy out and it tumbles out in the form of uncontrollable laughter. Pretty soon all the Moms are laughing and we are just present to joy. Getting out of the house, connecting with the Moms Club makes parenting easier because you get you aren't crazy while the kids make new friends.

Volunteering at school, I thought would be especially taxing. I envisioned being sequestered to a room full of paper collating all day while a teacher's aid examines my work or complains about school politics. In reality, I get to observe the teacher's style in the classroom and hear her teaching lingo and use these words at home to reinforce the learning. I get to observe my child learning, his style, when he is comfortable or not and speak with him about how he does his homework at home with insights to what works for him. I get to be a part of an art project or writing lesson and learn how how my children learn, and use this at home when I am guiding them in their homework. Volunteering makes my life easier as a parent because I am tuned into how they learn.

Joining the Cub Scouts seemed like an impossibility for years. Give up our Saturdays for constant camping in the dirt? Sewing on badges til my fingers bleed? Trek them back and forth to flag ceremonies and memorize old fashioned fuddy duddy mottos? In reality Cub Scouts camp two or three times a year and it is awesome. We go boulder climbing, make marshmallow air guns with pipes, hike in canyons and sing songs around the campfire. The badges are less than you think and you can sew them while you watch TV. As far as it being old fashioned, there is nothing outdated about BB Gun shooting, deep seas fishing, archery, catapult making and learning good character:what it means to be responsible, respectful, honest and loyal. Cub Scouts makes parenting easier because you get a wonderful community of parents who support teaching your boys good character while you all create adventures together. Being a leader in Cub Scouts is even more awesome because you get to create with other leaders and your kids get the experience of having their parent be a leader. Being a Cub Scout leader makes it much easier to raise your son to be a leader.

Now, when I consider an option, even if I feel like draggin' butt all day, I look at what is possible...what might the kids get out of this? What might I get out of this? What might I be able to contribute? And my world shifts, from "too hard" to exciting new and marvelous wonders. And we just GET OUT! We go outside, have fun and cause a ruckus and I get to participate, create and cause being an adventurous parent and having amazingly happy and stimulated children. When I am an involved and connected with my kids, I am happier, and when Momma's happy, everyone's happy! What's hard is checking out. Checking in, and creating makes it all easier. Coming from the world creating, all there is is ease, freedom, excitement and fun!
Not just easy, but Inspired Parenting!

Zen Honeycutt

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