Friday, November 12, 2010

Love Thyself...Part One (Edited)

I think this is the area most Mamas struggle with. Especially Mamas who believe and practice the ideas behind Attachment Parenting. Yes, yes...Balance and all that. But how does that work exactly? It's so easy to say, this is only a season... they are only so small for such a short time...this too shall pass... I've said it all myself, still do. And I definitely believe that all of those reasons are valid.

But really where is the balance?

Is it all about them, or is some of it about us? Deep down I think sometimes we get competitive. We want to be the best Mama on the block. We want our children to be the most well adjusted, healthiest and happiest kiddos any one has ever met. We strive for perfection! In a job that has doubtful and sporadic positive feed back. Sure the sweet gummy grins can get ya a bit high. But the constructive feed back of most other jobs, just doesn't happen much in the Mama Work Place. When was the last time some one said "you're doing a great job"? And how often does that happen? Not often.

And then on the other side of all that, some times we're just so entrenched in survival mode. Living in the tunnel zombie vision of the get-me-through-today-land, we can't see where changes need to be made. It is a season, really. But I think those times are when we need to turn inward even more. We need to be a little selfish. Okay, hold on it's Corny: but we need to love ourselves. Especially for those of us who aren't really sure when "this season" will end. Will I have 2 kids? or 5 kids? The number of children = more years doing some intense Mothering.

So I mentioned ScreamFree Parenting in a recent post, and I'm still mulling over the things I read. So much. The big theme of the book was that in moments of conflict you need to focus on yourself first. Not on the other persons behavior. I believe the author really understands parent-child attachment, and it's importance and impact on the future relationships the child has as an adult. But he doesn't stress about this. His point seemed to be that parents to stop worrying about how they are parenting, and just enjoy their children. Learning to enjoy your children means not worrying about spoiling them. Now, I don't mean in letting them "run wild", boundaries and relevant consequences are important. But especially when you are parenting a baby, stop worrying about whether they are going to manipulate you. Or take over your life...Stop stressing! Enjoy this fleeting season, love on them, snuggle them, suck up all the time you can with them. Enjoying means avoiding formulas in your parenting (if I do x then y will obviously ALWAYS follow). And most importantly owning your own feelings, and allowing your children to own theirs.

What was my point? Ooh right, in the book he also talks about love. He mentions this passage in the Bible

Mark 12: 28-31
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] The second is this: ‘
Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

So here is how I've commonly heard it broken down. What loving God with all your heart,mind, strength and soul looks like: God, Family, Other

God (Most pastors are emphatic: quiet bible study! Church fellowship! Ministry [ministry, ministry, ministry, ministry])

Family (Marriage THEN kids. Focus on your marriage, don't let the kids get in the way!)

Others (whatever is left over goes here...)
That's not what these verses are saying.
1. Loving the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul means WALKING IN RELATIONSHIP. God does have black and whites. He has absolute truths and laws written into the fabric of the universe (gravity for example). But how He relates to us is anything but black and white! Love Him by inviting Him into your day, moment by moment. Listen and look for Him in situations. Love Him by asking Him what He thinks. He doesn't chop our life up into "this then that, and this and that" He wants to RELATE with us. To show you as the situations come (I mean all working with in the laws and principles He's created...But you catch my drift!).
2. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do we REALLY do this? It is interchangeable! We have to love ourselves to be able to love our neighbor. Runkel talked about how self-hatred is some thing people in eastern cultures do not understand. But in western society we have tons of shrinks making a mint for dealing with all of the self-hatred we carry around.
Do we treat ourselves as well as our children? He gave the example of filling them up with a stale donut and old coffee, or junk food.
Now here's where it gets tricky, and I'm trying to feel this out, so bear with me...
We aren't responsible for our children, they are their own people and make their own choices. But we do have a responsibility to them. We have a responsibility to be sure we're meeting their physical and emotional needs- especially when they are small and helpless, and rely fully on us. In meeting our needs and loving ourselves, we can't ignore the responsibility we have to our littles in that area. Loving ourselves can't be excused in leaving our infant with strangers for a 2 week joy ride because we needed to "love on ourselves more". Babies rely on and understand their attachment to us way more than our Western culture gives them credit for.
But on the flip side, especially as parents who (agh I hate to use labels but for the sake of being too loquacious, I'll just bite it) ...Especially as Attachment Parenting (AP) parents who want our children to be secure, confident, interdependent, strong, and emotionally and physically whole in every way...What is really for THEM, and what is really more about us? What is truly necessary for their physical and emotional well being... And what is just our fear driving us? Our fear that we will mess up our kids, that they or others will blame us for how they turn out later in life? I think we can use the label "Attachment Parenting" as some thing to hide behind. As a formula of sorts that will gaurentee our children will turn out okay. There are no gaurentees.
I think our focus needs to be less on every thing else, all the "what ifs" and more on ourselves... What will meet every ones needs? What are we doing to take care of ourselves? I think in trying to combat the selfish "it's all about me" and "I'm not going to let kids change me" and other adversarial attitude in our western culture I have ignored the importance of self-care. Of focusing inward and acknowledging my feelings in situations, for the sake of my children.
Some thing to ponder ...I'll have to get back to you, part 2 to come soon! Right now the hubby wants to snuggle up and watch a Chickflick with me...And I'm not going to pass that up!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from you! :0)