Dear Sage and Lupine,
Let me start with the basics: I love you.
I say it every day, dozens of times, but it is truer than most words I can speak. I love you. With every cell of my being. On top of that, I like you, I trust you, I believe in you, and I respect you. I hope I continue to earn the same from you today in in the years to come.
Thank you for choosing me to be your mom. The journey into motherhood has been amazing so far, and I'm looking forward to all the chapters down the road in your beautiful lives. I have grown more since you came into my life than in all of the years before you. You've been so good for me. That's for certain.
I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be your mama. It's quite a gift to be the mama. Because of you I've re-thought everything – from the food I put in my mouth, to the thoughts I hold as true, to the vision I have for the future. Big stuff. Transformative stuff. It is shaping me.
I realized recently that sometimes as parents we temporarily lose our way. We get mired in the day-to-day business of our to-do lists, our housekeeping, and our pesky attachment to linear time (which you do not share). We start to desire obedience over free-thinking, compliance over questioning, order over creativity. We start to be stubborn and work to get our way more and more often.
And so I thought, hey, I need a mission statement. For parenting. Something to help me stay on track when the days get long and my patience grows short. Something to hold in my heart so that I always know where we're going and why we're doing what we do. A compass. For parenthood. Because afterall, shouldn't the kind of adults I'm hoping to grow here guide how I treat you as children?
A Parenting Mission Statement
I choose to raise children who are respectful and believe they are worthy of respect. To this end I will not force you to act respectfully, but rather I will treat you with respect, both modeling the power of respect and teaching you that you are worthy of it. You are a person, as valuable as any regardless of age. We all deserve respect. If you treat me disrespectfully I will tell you how it makes me feel so that you can grow as a person for these lessons.
I choose to raise children who are confident and who know themselves enough to be true to the song in their hearts. To this end I will not use shame or manipulation nor will I encourage conformity over free-thinking. I will instead support your dreams and desires and your hearth's truths. Your right answer and my right answer might not look the same. I'm good with that. You are your own person.
I choose to raise children who are kind and caring and see kindness and caring in the world as well. Because of this I will treat your feelings and needs with the utmost respect. Just because I am bigger than you doesn't mean I'll use power over you to get my way. I'll help you seek out and see kindness in the world throughout your childhood.
I choose to raise children who are honest and value the power of truth. To this end I will not use punishment when you act inappropriately but instead I will determine the need behind your behavior and help you find an appropriate way to meet every need. I believe that speaking the truth takes courage and should be encouraged with unconditional love – not discouraged by judgement or punishment.
(There will surely be more, but this feels like a solid start.)
And when I fail at these things (which I will sometimes) I will own my mistakes. I will apologize and let you know that I, too, am learning as I go. Right alongside of you two – the best teachers of my life.