I've lived under the assumption that I'm supposed to be "a natural" when it comes to parenting. What a crock.
I didn't major in Early Childhood Development when I was in college, I didn't babysit a ton during my teenage years, and kids (especially little ones) were always terrifying, what with their non-communicable, chokes-on-things-easy, always-having-meltdowns personalities. How in the world was I supposed to be a natural at the most important job of my life: Raising a Human?
I read the books when I was pregnant - the ones that talked about the natural way of doing things. You know, the baby-wearing, the co-sleeping, the breastfeeding gentle parenting ways of the moms with the pretty Sakura slings and hushed voices. Oh my hippie mama heart was beating through my chest and I couldn't wait to wrap my baby up in fabric and snuggle him close, all hours of the day.
Then, Rowan was born.
Ha. Hahahahahaha! Haha. Ha.
Yeah. Nothing went as planned.
Breastfeeding didn't work. He hated being worn. We woke him up every time we rolled over in bed.
All of the things that felt like they should be natural felt forced. I felt out of control and defeated as a mother. I wasn't living up to the expectations I had set for myself and my son. What was happening? How was I supposed to make this work?
Then there was a moment when I just threw it all out the window and did the one thing I knew how to do. The one thing I knew I was good at.
I just let it roll.
And that's been my parenting philosophy ever since.
Do we have structure? You bet. Kids do well with structure. But, it's big and wide and accommodating for every new day. We stretch it and pull it in. And within our structure? We let Rowan have freedom. He pushes up against the boundaries and he's pulled back in. For the most part, he has a lot of free reign. It's helped develop a strong independence in him, where he can be left alone to play for long periods of time. For being two, he's incredibly self-entertained and has a lot of patience for things.
Do we have rules? Yep, absolutely. They're few and far between and are there for his safety.
But the one thing I've learned in my short experience with parenting is that nothing happens exactly how you planned. So you bend, you mold, you transform and you go with the flow and pray for the best.
Bottom line? We just roll with it. Because honestly, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing and nobody gave me a manual for this kid. I do what I can with what we have. We have fun. We struggle sometimes, because we're two humans trying to figure things out as we go.
I'm sure I'm screwing up in a lot of ways. We let him watch TV and jump on the couch. We let him feed the dogs his leftovers and we're not hardcore on the "no sugar" thing. I don't have crafts & planned activities for him everyday, and yeah, he still screams when he has to get in his carseat. If he'd rather eat his snack at the windowsill instead of at the table, that's okay, too.
I don't have a lot of goals for my kid. Not because I don't believe he can achieve them, but because I'm not sure they're all that important in the grand scheme of life. The only two things I want out of Rowan are these: That he loves God and loves people... and that he loves them both well. Everything else is secondary to those. That's what makes my screw-ups and shortfalls more tolerable. It makes life a little bit easier and a little bit more fun.
With those two things at the forefront of my mind, it makes it easy to do what we do best around here.
Just let it roll.