Have you thought about how we all have different parenting styles? We don’t know when we partner if they will be an ideal parent or if they will have the same views, beliefs, and values. These are like unspoken tools that some people learn and others just inherit. There can be a number of factors that make these styles more apparent but how do we communicate with each other to ensure that we both have the same intentions? Mostly it is trust that you have with your partner. There were many times when I witnessed behaviour that I didn’t support. There is so much trust in parenting that it will never be what you want it to be unless you spell it out and communicate. Language plays a huge part in raising children who are emotionally and intellectually balanced. The pressure on parents to be the best often makes kids miss out on that valuable time and they are left to devices or their environment to define them. Now I’m not about to say that my way is the best way because we all have our limits and sometimes we just have to do what we can at the time. My parenting journey has not come without its struggles, disagreements, and joy for we all know if the child is happy the parent is happy. Thinking back to raising 3 under 10 I reflect on often on how present I was and how I would have these conversations with myself and would question “am I giving them enough attention?” time is one thing that we cant’ get back yet working full time for most of these children’s life I felt this guilt for always being so busy. My way of honoring them was to spend the holidays with them, whether that was at home or planning something more exciting. From when they were very little I introduced them to travel. We drove a lot, we took small holidays and this allowed us as a family to experience each other more closely away from the comforts of home. They loved collecting shells on the beach and fishing and bike riding. Holidays have always been sacred in my eyes for it is when you see them as a reflection of your parenting in the way they behave in public and interact with others in new places. I know it takes a lot of effort to pack the kids, the car the bags but the rewards of the journey are priceless.
“Today’s Moments are Tomorrow’s Memories” – unknown
Having my parents live 2hours away always provided an option as it was far enough to be a holiday and for many holidays they were the destination. I usually traveled on my own with the children because this allowed me to catch up with my family. My ex would only come on special occasions and it is a time that I fondly reflect on as we created a lot of memories just being together. A lot of children don’t get to experience spending time with their grandparents due to distance or family disconnect and I came to better understand this through my studies and work experience. It opened my eyes to this new norm that many children were not connecting with their grandparents or extended family due to their circumstances, so this pushed me more to ensure that the bond was formed from very early on. Now they often talk about their adventures with their grandparents and the things that they did together and it warms my heart because grandparents have a special bond and their own special way and it is beautiful.
I have always tried to have a fair parenting system to always ensure that I presented the facts to my kids and allowed them to share their thoughts, feelings, and sometimes demands. I know there were times when I was just over tired both physically and mentally and that I taught them responsibility from very early on because I just could do it all. I hope that they become well-rounded adults, remain curious and inquisitive, and are never afraid to question if they don’t understand or don’t feel that something is right. As for their dad, he has his own unique way of communicating with them and I respect that, I may not always approve but I have learnt not to take what he says for granted and that is his way. I promised myself that I would do my best when we split not to talk negatively about him in front of them I wanted our home to be focused on the present and what we could prepare for in the future. After deciding this, my thoughts settled and I knew I would be ok.