Last week I had lunch with a very good friend. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile but no matter – we are always able to just start up our conversation, our connections – where we left off.
Both of us have a child close in age. Our friendship goes way back to when they were just 5 and 6 years old. It’s taken us through our children’s elementary school years, high school, college, even weddings – and ourselves through being stay-at-home-moms to working full-time out of the home – supporting and sharing our evolving roles all the way.
It is such a valued friendship that I am grateful to have.
And one of the biggest joys of my job at The Parenting Place has always been seeing this same type of relationship develop between the parents that come to our parenting groups and Play Shoppes. For parents come to our groups new to parenting, new to La Crosse, looking for socialization and resources for their child – and so often finding a bonus – a good friend – a support network.
For parenting is definitely a journey that is easier shared with others who are going through the same experiences, stages, joys and concerns.
At our recent Parent Cafe at The Parenting Place, when asked “How do you stay grounded and secure as a parent?”, a participant shared that it’s through being able to parent her children among other parents who know and love her children. Even if her child might be having a difficult day, there is always that love, understanding, friendship, and support toward both her and her children that she can rely on and trust.
If you haven’t been to one of our parenting groups at The Parenting Place, check out our website – http://www.theparentingplace.net or give us a call – 784-8125 and ask to speak to a parent educator to find the group that works best for you.
I’ve been more in tune with the vagaries of weather and how we must accept and adjust to it recently, since I am temporarily walking “Tootsie” at the early crack of dawn. I realize it’s not until I open the door do I really know what to expect. A few days ago it was so furiously windy and bitter cold, that in the early morning darkness, I definitely felt winter’s wrath.
But … we deal with what Mother Nature offers us. We accept the plunging temperatures even as we await the sunny, warm days of summer, only to adjust once again when the heat intensifies too much.
And isn’t that what parenting is like? Every day is not” a sunny 72 degrees in June”. But when the temps heat up or we feel the chill seeping in, we make the necessary changes – doing what needs to be done, finding our way through a particularly stormy day.
That flexibility, resilience, and acceptance is what we should recognize and celebrate in ourselves. It’s an acknowledgement that in spite of inconveniences, distractions, messed-up schedules, loss of sleep, unpredictability, we are there for our children – taming the tantrums, putting out the fires, being the meteorologist of emotions.
And during the storm and in the sunshine, we are growing strongly into parenthood.
“My heart melts whenever I see a little child in their “jamies” I told a mom the other night as she scooped up her pajama-clad children from the playroom after an evening program at The Parenting Place.
And that’s the truth! They look so darn comfy, innocent and trusting.
But then it comes time for them to go to bed.
We hear from parents all the time that bedtime scenes in their homes are often less than cozy – in spite of their pajama-clad little ones. I was recently reading an article about bedtimes for children being fraught with such stress, upsets and discord. And the suggestion was perhaps to change the way we portray bedtime. So often going to bed is presented as a threat -as a terrible place to go – “You’re going to go straight to bed if you don’t stop”, “You get in that bed right now”, “the way you’re acting, you’ll go to bed without any bedtime snack”, “Get in bed and don’t let me hear another peep!”
Often, even time-outs are spent with a child sitting upset and sad on his bed.
So, why not offer a softer tone, a more peaceful approach. Why not consider and share how helpful sleep is for our bodies – how when we rest, our brains sort out all the things we learned today to be ready for learning new things tomorrow. Call it growing time …slowing time …knowing time.
It’s a small thing – but maybe it will make a big difference – if we change our bedtime enforcement tone to an invitation that sounds pleasant and special, dreamy and safe.
So -go find your bunny, your bear, your blanket … it’s time for some cozy time, nestled and snug in your bed.
Thank you, February for starting off the week with sun – bright and pure against the deep blue sky.
I’ve missed the sun so much this winter that I don’t even care that Jimmy the Ground Hog in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin will see his shadow – and predict six more weeks of winter. I needed to feel the energy this sunny day offers.
I know the temperature outside is very chilly but the sun shining in on me as I sit at my desk is beautiful, warm and nourishing, and I’m so grateful.
Sometimes even as parents, we’re happy for an unexpected napping child even when it means a schedule that’s thrown off a bit – just because we needed it, right that very moment.
Sometimes our child gets the cookie she wants right before dinner (the exception, I know) because we really needed it.
Sometimes the routine changes a little bit. Sometimes the rules give a little bit – just because we really need them too – at that very moment.
But that’s when we know we’re only human, and that’s when we know it doesn’t always need to be perfect – and that’s when we know we need the sun to shine bright today.