I am beginning my second attempt at blogging with some thoughts about the anxiety and fears that arise in every day parenting. What am I supposed to do? How much should I push? When do I pull back? What is the right answer? When is this child ever going to learn….?
I don’t know whether or not it is human nature or whether we learn it in our chaotic world filled with addictions to performance and product and the “shoulds” of life, but most of us worry about what has been and what will come. The older I get the more I realize the importance of being in the moment. Yet still I fret over the “shoulds” of my life. It is amazing how much one simple “should” creates anxiety in an otherwise perfectly fine moment.
What I do know, even though I still struggle, is that the key to less stressful lives is to focus on the here and now, let go of the past, and stop overreaching for the future. What I have learned in the years of my parenting—at this moment I have been doing it for 32 years and two months—is that the lasting, enduring, influential lessons we can pass on to our children come out of the times when we are completely connected in the moment. What that means as best I can describe is that whether it is a moment of screaming and meltdown from an angry or scared child to a moment of blissful adoration, connection is all that matters. Connection is to be present in the moment without any assumptions about what this emotion or behavior means—it’s nothing about whether I am a terrible or wonderful parent, whether my child is disobedient or perfect, or even whether I am worried about what this all will lead to. It’s all about accepting the moment: This is what is happening right now. This screaming is what my child is doing. It doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that my child is angry or frustrated or whatever. This is the moment I have to deal with. The more uncomplicated the moment is, unfettered by “here we go again” or “what is going to become of him?” the better that moment will be. No judgments, no criticisms, no lessons that must be learned—just be and accept what is happening. You don’t have to have the answer. It will appear when you let each moment be. That is true connection.