Sunday, February 3, 2013

Conscious choices for cheerleaders and street-sweepers alike : a gentle approach

I want to add some additional thoughts to my previous article on Cheerleader or Street- Sweeper?( Follow link here:

When a child is born to you, the Street-Sweeper seems the obvious choice when nappies need changing and babies need feeding. You do all this out of love and the need for peace and sleep (lets be honest here).  So street sweeping is rewarded and naturally reinforced behaviour.

When they reach their milestones, we naturally cheer them on and clap as they make their first steps.  Predominantly though, its street sweeping in the beginning but as they get older and more capable, the street-sweeping hinders their development and confidence and a transition is required over a period of time to cheerleading if the child is at all allowed to grow and mature into a balanced, responsible, expressive, happy adult we all wish our children would turn out to be.

When do we make this transition? I don't know for sure but I think its something to be aware of right from the beginning.  A conscious choice to wait a beat or two before stepping in to help.  After all, that's how sleep training is done. So its a slow transference of responsibility where eventually you are rendered unneeded, useless.  And therein lies the rub: 12 years down the line, we ask ourselves "Who am I if I am not fully occupied with the needs of another?" and we all feel the pull to doggedly continue sweeping the streets clean, unchanged in a changing world. Cue: teenage eyeroll at yet another thing we do as mothers that our beloved really appreciated and now grits his teeth at.

So the key here is conscious choice. Little Me is present in an automatic response to a challenge whereas Big Me, Great Me is consciously accessed.  So wait a beat or two when faced with a hardship or new situation and access Great Me more often.  Great Me will recognise that doing stuff for others doesn't make you more worthy of their love.  Great Me has the knowledge, the inner knowing that we are all well taken care of; are infinitely capable of living life - yes, both my child and I; and will allow us to remain open to a new way of relating to our children and a new way of living our lives.  Perhaps we will change how we define being a mother ...  from doing being the greatest version of ourselves from moment to moment.  Maybe start a new career, maybe do the stuff we have put on hold for so long, maybe ...maybe...maybe...  Its pure potential.

No one said that motherhood was for sissies. Its time for Big-Girl-Panties to go on, and live your greatest life, continuing to inspire your offspring and teach them how to be happy by being happy yourself.

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