Raising Tiny Humans | What I’ve Learned With 7 Kids
“I want to be a…..when I grow up!” It changes in just about every conversation with my kids. Right now we’ve got a video game designer, a teacher, a stay at home mom with a farm, and a race car driver. Plus three that I’m calling “undecided” because they can’t talk yet. I can’t wait to see what they’ll accomplish. I’m looking forward to watching how each of their unique characters and the way they draw conclusions and then interact with the world around them will impact their future communities.
The idea of raising a human and then successfully launching them out into the world is so intimidating to me- mostly because I want to be sure that I have set them up for success. There are so many messages- perceived and unconsciously internalized that the world throws at them about who they should be and what they can do, their limits, or their goals…and I just want to make sure that they are choosing to be in the driver’s seat of their life.
I chose to be a stay at home mom to my kids. And I’m so glad I did. It was the right thing for me. It’s still the right thing for me, though I feel the season shifting a bit. Here’s the thing though- It’s my right thing. But it may not be theirs and I think that’s fantastic. My kid’s Aunt Meg is Vice President of a company here in Waco. She works 60-hour weeks, cooks dinner for her family, comes to play at Hawaiian Falls, and makes time to go to Camp Gladiator with me three days a week. I think she is a superhero.
I love that my kids- my 4 daughters and my 3 sons- get to see women doing life differently than one another. They watch us cheer the other on, pitch in on one another’s projects, and genuinely value the differences between us. There is such value in the dichotomy of the family they belong to.
Circling back around to equipping them well for their future, it’s not the grades or their achievements that give me pause as I try to digest sending them off into the world without the guardrails we’ve put in place for them. What makes me dig deeper as a mama and want to push myself to my limits is this question:
Am I modeling appreciation for the differences in others? Am I showing my kiddos that it’s the colorful shades that make up the gaps in the way we choose to do life and the way others choose to do life is what makes life beautiful?
The internalization that putting limits on what others can do or should do or should not do is crippling. This habit of drawing conclusions about others doesn’t limit those other people! It limits the person with that mindset. And it limits whoever is watching them.
If I’ve learned anything in my career in parenthood, it’s that my littles are watching my every move. If I tear down some other mama who does bedtime differently, it impacts my kids. What if my son or my daughter decide to do bedtime differently when they have their own babies (I’m sure they will!)? If I make some snap judgement about the way another family goes about their life (farmer, entrepreneur, vice president, doctor, waste management technician, plumber, a homemaker that-gasp- does her ‘thang differently that I do, married, single, divorced, two moms, two dads, whatever…) then it chips away at the confidence with which my children will interact with the world in the future. And in their belief that my love for them will not ebb and flow depending on how similar or dissimilar their adult choices are to my own.
I want them to have options. I want the choices that they make come from a burning desire to fulfill their own purpose in this big ‘ole world rather than from a place of worrying about what any one will think of their particular path. Especially not me. There is freedom in edifying the people around us. Because, I think we’re all just doing the very best we can in the season we’re in, with the tools we have.