Parenting for us is a matter of aligning our values as individuals, partners and parents. My husband and I made our values checklist years ago (and we probably need to revisit that now with the kids) specially when I got inspired by the blog of Handsfree Mama on the art of letting go and grasping at what really matters. Even though my husband is not into "the stuff" I am in to, I was able to encourage him to do the What are my goals in parenting? from Purdue University. We made a conscious effort to identify the kind of values that are important for us and the kind of values that we would like to see in ourselves as well. We also kept in mind not to be constricted by the list provided. It was a heavy discussion but the end result was revealing and reaffirming. Revealing because we sifted through our experiences with our own families and took on values that we deemed important based from our upbringing. Reaffirming because we got to align what we value and make it visible to each other through examples and wishes on how we see our children learning or gaining from it. (For those interested to do this and would like some help/direction. Please don't hesitate to message me.)
Dr. Laura Markham from Aha Parenting also emphasized on the importance of values and wrote it so coherently in her post Raise a child with great values. So what are important for us? what goes in our list? Here are the values that we try to instill in ourselves and with our children:
a) Respect for one's self and for others
b) Connectedness which includes the emphasis on being a family, taking time to be with friends, connecting with people.
c) Happiness that flows from a lot of different sources and forms. Happiness in the moment as what I mentioned in my post Be Happy. Happiness with having each other. Happiness with the experiences that we share.
d) Authenticity is very important in teaching about uniqueness, of finding one's talents and of pursuing passions.
e) Gratitude is being thankful for what the Divine Spirit is providing for our family. It is being grateful in things big and small. This is also reflected on how we show gratitude through service.
e) Kindness is the manner in which we treat ourselves and others and is emphasized on the words we use and the actions that we do.it is being considerate, gentle and generous.
ON BEING KIND
It was my intention to start this post on the complexities of juggling too many roles as a mother, wife, entrepreneur, student, consultant. I woke up thinking I want to write about the hectic demands and the struggle for time management that mothers have. But after reading a post that my dear friend, Clarisse started at the Amsterdam Small Business Network facebook group and what I answered in it, I took the time to think and dig deeper. In it I wrote:
"I keep reminding myself to pick my battles, some days the chores win, some days they don't but I try not to be too hard on myself on this because heck what we are doing on top of taking care of our family is a lot! If I am to list the things I do and the things I WANT to accomplish it never balances up because there will always be some things in between (fb for instance). But I try at the end of the day to make peace with myself that what I have done thus far is enough and tomorrow is another day. My priority is my family and if their needs are met (including that of a sane, engaged and happy mom) then the rest are bonuses ( slightly clean and orderly house, work tasks checked, some study done). Be kind to yourself. Hugs my dear!"
That post really got me thinking about the value that we put on our to-do lists, on expectations, on our own measurement of success which was also a recurring discussion that I have with my insightful friend and coach Amber Rahim. It got me reflecting on why I also fall in the trap of questioning myself, have I done enough? have I accomplished enough?
I also realized that these thoughts as they flow either in my reverie or when talking to my husband or friends are not kind thoughts. It made me look into how much loving kindness I give to myself. We try so hard to teach the kids how to show kindness for others and for themselves. But in as much as they need to see and feel that from us, their parents, we also need to see and feel that to ourselves.
I have always been a big fan of Jewel since I was in university. I have memorized most of her songs because it spoke volumes to me and what I was going through during that time. This post on kindness made me remember her song "Hands"
Yes it is true "in the end only kindness matters". It is not the material things, the diplomas and trophies, the flashy car, the fancy title- at the end of it all the most impression that we leave behind as our legacy is how we have been kind to ourselves and to others.
So in light of this, I am giving myself a Kindness challenge- the kindness that I start from myself and hopefully trickle with my relationships and interactions with others. Here are some ideas that I came up with:
a) Make myself breakfast like how I make breakfast for the rest of the family and savor my meals when I am alone.
b) Eat on time and drink plenty of water. (not to mention take my vitamin D daily!)
c) Set some minutes of "Me time" and not feel guilty when hubby is taking the lead with the kids. This includes not only sleeping for a few minutes, or getting out of bed late but also taking long baths and dates with friends without family around.
d) Silence my inner critic. I need to address to that inner voice that equates my success with what others expect of me or how far I have gone in my to do list.
e) I need to remember number 7 of what Henrik Edberg wrote in Self-Love 9 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself, "if you stumble, be your own best friend.". I have never thought of myself as my best friend nor have I taken deep measures to explore that friendship with myself. Walking the talk on kindness means me asking myself, what would I say to my friends on this situation? what would they tell me? Specially my husband who is my best friend, what would he say?
How about joining me in this Kindness challenge? What is in your list to show kindness to yourself?