To me this quote seems highly applicable to motherhood.
How can we be brave and insightful and creative and bold as we challenge the status quo of what is expected of us as mothers? Or maybe what we expect of ourselves?
Doesn’t that sound like a pretty typical day? Often I find myself in a position I’d be happy to just let my child amuse himself for an extra hour. Or whatever other little lazy moment of parenting instead of engaging and working to improve our lives through training and time together.
But how can I treat mothering as an art instead of a chore? How would that change how I respond to my littles?
Recently I’ve been working on trying to pay attention to what Ranger is really needing when he acts out. Most of the time if he does something wrong there is something bothering him. He just doesn’t have the emotional awareness or words to tell us what it is yet
Eventually I’d like him to be able to just say what he needs, but that’s probably a ways off yet. So for now I’m going to help him find some words and try to create other options for actions that don’t hurt people or things.
A more important change, maybe, is in my own thinking. I will try to connect his negative actions with his actual needs. Instead of only seeing the bad, I can grab onto a glimpse why he might be acting this way. That way I can go from feeling frustrated with him for how he’s acting to feeling a bit more nurturing with him as I find out what he needs.
When he hits Ali, maybe he just wants to hold Ali. And instead of seeing a violent older brother, maybe I’ll see my little munchkin who needs some more attention.
When he runs away, maybe he just needs to play a game of chase. And instead seeing defiant two year old, maybe I’ll see my playful baby trying to initiate some fun.
When he’s fussing and fuming about waking up from his nap, maybe he needs cuddles. Instead of seeing whining and high-pitched needs, maybe I’ll see a boy in need of a slower wake-up routine.
Often in these scenarios I can choose to punish or reprimand to make the behavior stop, but the better way might be to react to his inner need instead of letting my frustration with his behavior set the tone of our relationship. When he is having a hard time (or when he is driving me crazy), maybe then is a good time to reevaluate how involved I have or haven’t been in the last few hours.
Can I be an artist mother? Can I be insightful? Can I take the little things I notice and move forward with a boldness to move past my knee-jerk reactions and find grace? Can I be brave enough to worry less and play more? Creative enough to to solve the never-ending needs and problems lovingly?
I’d like to say I mother with bravery, creativity, insight and boldness. What about you?
Here’s to mothering as art!
What’s your art?