Wednesday, 8 July 2009


As you will know if you follow my blog, one of my endeavours on this journey that is motherhood, is to let go of being overly attached to goals, results and reaching the end of any process. This is essential in order to cope with a situation where even washing the dishes looks something like this:

J: Chair!
Me: (taking off rubber gloves, put him in his chair). There you go. (resume washing up.)
J: Down!
Me: (taking off gloves again, take him out of chair). Do you want to play with your cook-cook?(set him up with his cooking toys).
J: Water! Water!
Me: (pass him closed beaker of water)
J: WATER! (I realise he means he wants water to pour in a pot).
Me: No, sorry, you can't pour water. It makes a mess.
J: WATER! (starts to scream and thrash about)
Me: (take off gloves a third time, kneel down next to him and try to distract and soothe)...
and so on. Meanwhile fifteen minutes have passed and I've washed about three forks.

But even this ideal of non-attachment to the goal, is itself subject to imperfection. I have to admit, this evening I feel distinctly more satisfied with my day, knowing that I actually achieved 2 hours of solid work on a project.

It was the re-working (including adding in lots of bits) of my first essay for the Breastfeeding Counselling Course, and the only way I achieved it was to directly ask my partner to take J out for a couple of hours, even though he would be tired from his sleep-in at work the night before.

I had been looking after J without a break for 5 1/2 days, and starting to wear a bit at the edges. It was a tough negotiation, but I have realised that the months are slipping by and I have yet to hand in an essay, although I started the course in March. If I am to keep to my goal of finishing the course in (more or less) 2 years, then I need to get cracking!

Being able to sit down and focus on something is so wonderful for me. When G and J returned from the park and the shops, I felt ready to take up the mantle of mother again, quite willingly.

And it's given me motivation to keep on with other projects this evening, even though I've already been interrupted once by an 'evening waking'. I'm writing an article for my new complementary therapies column on the NHS 247 website, to be launched soon - this one about Naturopathic Nutrition, and doing some much-needed filing for my various writing projects. Tomorrow I look forward to a few hours of working on my short stories as it's my 'Thursday off'.

I've been inspired by reconnecting with the Gentle Discipline movement in the past few days, largely through the very helpful forums of natural parenting website Mothering Dot Commune. I realised that in dealing with J's needs (on a bad day, demands!) I had been turning into a pretty grumpy parent, on a sort of default setting of 'Stop it! No!'.

I had lost touch with my parenting ideals out of an anxiety about having an 'out of control' child, and worrying too much about what others think. For me, it's a delicate balance between setting appropriate boundaries and listening to and empathising with J, rather than having a 'one size fits all' autocratic approach.

Unfortunately, I tend to swing between being too giving and being too strict, although luckily the balance often rights itself - and that's when I have a day where I'm really proud of my parenting.

Being reminded of the principles of Unconditional Parenting, as Alfie Kohn writes about so eloquently, has put me back on the right track. I feel inspired now to focus on being the best parent I can be, imperfect as that may be, and to remember that all my other projects are side-projects to the most important one of all: supporting another human being to learn, grow and love.

1 comment:

sfauthor said...

Nice blog. Do you know about these yoga books?