Attachment parenting, Parenting

Golden Rule for Mothering

6 February, 2012

We got on the bus, both of us exhausted. As I slumped into a seat Ramona decided she wanted to have a little trundle around the lurching vehicle. Thinking that wasn’t the greatest plan I popped her on my lap. In turn, Ramona thought that idea was right up there with the worst of them and promptly decided to let the bus know it. She opened her mouth and ROARED. She turned purple and arched her back. She even started wacking her head on the window. I was pretty embarrassed to say the least,  and began a fairly typical reaction; I laughed with an “Oh, Really?!” and almost rolled my eyes towards other passengers. Fortunately I stopped myself just in time and tried to pull out from the depths of my harrassed mind a better, more respectful way of responding to my daughters angst.

Above her screaming I tried to catch her eye and validate with my voice; “I see you are so angry because you wanted to walk around the bus. It is okay to be angry. I understand that it is frustrating to not be able to go wherever you want to go.”

I could almost hear the inward collective groan of everyone on board. (And honestly? Pre -Ramona? I soooo would have been inwardly, collectively, groaning.)

I am always surprised by how easy I find it to treat Ramona as a non-person, as if her supersized feelings are minor, as tiny as she is. I want to laugh off those times her feelings are so big it makes her bang her tummy with her hands like Tarzan. Rather than help her deal with how cross she is that I dare put a cardigan on her.

I go through my life trying to treat others how I would like to be treated. This guides me in loads of facets of my life – in my work, my relationships, even my consumption.I fail constantly, of course. But it is my aim.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

(It has a ring to it, eh? I think it could catch on. I might get some World Religions involved with that one.)

And it is how I am trying to mother Ramona. To listen to her as I would want to be listened to, to respect her needs in the way I respect my own needs, to not force her to do things simply because I want her to do that/ go there/ come here.

I think I am just on the cusp of really needing to do this. Only in the last few months has Ramona expressed a will which doesn’t always match my own. Public meltdowns have just happened a couple of times so far in her 15 months (far more in my own three decades.) I know the coming few years will be quite tiring and will contain a few frustrations. I know that the parents that yell/manipulate/make fun of their kids wake up only with a heart filled with love for them but weariness  has left them frazzled.

Which is why I have got to start practicing this. So that when a potential head butting situation arises (Ramona’s vs my own, or a window) my first response is to act in understanding, kindness, gentleness – the way I hope people will respond to me when I next get chest beatingly cross. (Really, I don’t know WHERE she gets it from.)

Emerging Mummy is holding a marvellous carnival of “Practices of Mothering”. I have blogged about those very practical practices like cosleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding, breastfeeding while babywearing (bahaha) but this got me thinking more about those intangible practices – my mothering ethos. I’m hoping to post a few more over the next wee while.

It would be lovely if you could share some of your own Practices of Mothering too…

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  • Valerie 6 February, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Hmm, I am having issues at the moment. Not with Oscar, but with the Grannies. We try quite hard to allow Oscar a voice and as you say, to validate his feelings. I have been told to my face he is a spoilt manipulator and we have given him too much choice and too much control. The thing is, I am really not a martyr to the mummyhood and I know that sometimes I do put my ‘wants’ first (I want you to wear that jumper, walk beside me, sit down now, come shopping even though you hate it and there is nothing I need I am just bored lol). I can only imagine what my Mum and Mother-In-Law say behind our backs. I once heard my Mum tell Oscar he was a spoilt little boy when she thought I was still upstairs. Oscar was only 18 months at the time and probably didn’t understand and honestly I didn’t confront her about it because I was too shocked and upset. I wouldn’t let it pass a second time though. Because I am in my 40s my Mum and MIL are coming up to age 70 and I can only assume its a generational thing. Not every Mum of the 60s and 70s were living enlightened lives 😉

    • lulastic 6 February, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Ohhh. Nooooo. It makes me a bit sad to hear. I’m sorry about that, I can imagine that being really hard, to feel like you are flying so much in the face of people close to you.

      I think it is a really common idea though, that we can spoil children.

      When this generation of attached, gently raised, validated kiddywinks grow up to turn the world into a glorious utopia- THEN they’ll know we were doing the right thing! 😉

  • kingdomcivics 6 February, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I love the your application of the golden rule to the idea of treating your child as a person. It seems so obvious, but like you, I am often tempted to treat my children as “non-persons,” as if their desires don’t matter. Good reminder!

  • Laura 6 February, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for this! I too am trying to follow this rule with my little 16-month old daughter – even to “if I touch your nose, I’ll touch mine too” – I figure, if I’m willing to do it to her, then I should be willing to endure it myself! Thanks for reminding me that I’ll need to continue this practice throughout her life! (I shared my “practice” on my blog too.)

    • lulastic 6 February, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      I LOVE your “practice” – could have written it myself, word for word.

  • Jessica 6 February, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I found you through emerging mummy–as much as I love your golden rule, I love that owl hat even more! Precious! Thanks for sharing.

    • lulastic 6 February, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Eeek I knoooow!
      I need a giant one for myself I think.

  • Jennifer Hoffman 6 February, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I’m right there with you! Thank you for helping me to laugh about something that is a goal, but often a struggle.

    • lulastic 6 February, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Awesome, thanks Jennifer. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Sarah Bessey (@sarahbessey) 6 February, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I think that this idea – do unto others – was what started me on the path of gentle parenting. It was like a light bulb going on in my brain. I’m sure I’m just a bit slow on the uptake but all of a sudden, I was all WAIT A MINUTE! Tinies are people! haha This is fantastic and informs so much of our parenting, doesn’t it? Thank you so much for sharing it.

    • lulastic 6 February, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Ah, thanks for hosting. I am loving it!

  • Robin (noteverstill) 7 February, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Ooh, ‘my mothering ethos’ – love that. May need to steal that shamelessly, actually, just as I plan to steal the whole idea of a practices series. Writing one out was such a great exercise; I think I plan to continue with them, too. Just found you today but I think you may have the best blog name I’ve ever encountered.

  • lulastic 9 February, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Hmmm. Obviously everything i say now is totally speculative/ hopeful!
    I hope that I will be able too hold loosely to the ideas I have about what she needs to do- if she doesn’t want so bath then I hope I’ll be able to say “oh well- maybe tomo!”
    Personally I’d rather raise a child who questions and challenges things/ authority and who is in touch with her own needs/desires but I totally appreciate that these see qualities that other parents don’t value.
    I really loved the book “Playful parenting”- it seems packed with wonderful ways too keep kids engaged with some of the things they might initially resist!

    Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • Amanda 10 February, 2012 at 4:02 am

    This is great! One of my favorite quotes is “Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience, you are raising a human being.” It sounds so simple, but it is so easy to treat kids like an inconvenience, especially when our society as a whole seems to view them that way. I am with you that we need to treat our kids with dignity and respect and remember that they are people too!

    • lulastic 10 February, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Totally. I am guilty of far too many days , particularly when she was so baby, of acting as if Ramona is a distraction from my very important work of visiting friends / blogging / making stuff. Awful. Thank goodness she doesn’t let me get away with that now!!

  • Validate bad times, c’mon! « Lulastic and the Hippyshake 6 September, 2012 at 10:50 am

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