With the highs, must come the lows – although not deep, trough-like lows; more like a dip in the algorithm of life. Once, someone accused me of requiring life to run on one smooth single line, never deviating up nor down. When in reality, life should shift and change, your daily mood can (in fact should?) go from up to down and that’s OK. I tend to panic when it’s down as I love the ups so much more. This week has been characterised by parenting challenges. I am finding this territory new and unlike the baby/toddler stage, I can’t reach for a parenting manual to see what to do!
|via the glow|
In the genius selection of essays by Nora Ephron in ‘I Feel Bad about my Neck’ (which, may I just say is one of the most well-observed pieces of writing I have ever read; I go back to it time after time) she says:
‘Parenting was not simply about raising a child, it was about transforming a child, force-feeding it like a foie gras goose, altering, modifying, modulating, manipulating, smoothing out, improving.’
I read this and dare I admit – recognise myself, my parenting actions – see my instincts to make everything the best version of itself. But there is also a strong part of me that wants to let it be, see what happens, be less instrumental in my children’s upbringing. It’s the ancient nature/nurture concept and it has well and truly reared its head this week. The issue is around sport and how much of it a child should do. But it could equivalently be academics or drama or music. When do you know whether they do it because they like it, or because they feel they should? Is participation in sport all about the ‘taking part’ or really do we all want our children to be superstar players and be selected for the best teams? Is our parenting on this point triggered and informed by our own sporting experiences? The middle-aged version of making good when we were the last to be picked for the netball team circa 1987? I don’t know the answers to these questions but they are wholly relevant to me right now.
My friends and I often mull this over and conclude (as with everything in the arena of parenting) that it is a personal choice and each family will forge its own way. Yet we stand by and observe each other, feeling on occasion secretly incredulous over decisions made or routes taken with our children. Each to their own.
This is the everyday; the quiet thoughts as I go about my day. At the end of the week, my son breaks up for half term, which feels like it has come just in time as this term has been punishing. I just want to spend some time with him, to listen to the inane but often very insightful eight year old chatter that he spouts and for there to be no demands on his little brain. That and get his haircut – his blonde curls rather are unruly now… 😉