One of the things that I am most grateful for about my ForteFemme experience is that I was reminded to be more playful about my parenting.
It was as we sat in a semicircle telling one another about the kinds of play that were approved and unapproved by our parents that I thought that I could definitely be more playful with my children.
It was in that semicircle that I almost cried because of the amount of heartache that having to be the one that disciplines the children most of the time causes me.
The thought scared me because although I do have so much fun with my sons and they bring me so much joy… I hardly ever am fully in playful mode. There always seems to be this burden on my shoulders of having to be in control. Guess that I’ve never felt permission to really let go of the responsibility of parenthood and join them in play without being in control. You can even see the difference between how they totally jump into playing with dad versus how they play with me. Mom plays but always at a further distance than dad. How he gets to be one of the kids sometimes but not me has always hurt. I am the guardian, the responsible parent, the one that usually has to be Debbie Downer and set limits on how wild and carefree the play gets.
Goal 1: Figure out how to challenge myself as a parent so that I could step out of my box as the “responsible parent” and be the “fun parent” more often.
It wasn’t strange at all, thinking about how my parenting would shape my own children’s sexualities while sitting in a room full of women that were discussing how their childhood play related to their adult sexual play. It wasn’t strange at all because almost everything that I do, think or think about doing usually stirs a thought or two about how it will help or hinder my children. Once you’re a parent you’re always a parent. So, it was in that room full of women discussing their kinks that I decided that I needed to allow my children more modes of approved play.
And when I thought about it, long and hard, I realized that I had always wished my mother hadn’t been so strict with me and that when she did play with me it had been more on my terms than hers.
That’s when I thought for a minute that maybe even as a child I might have been greedy and self-centered but instantly that thought went to…
Goal 2: Make childhood more about the needs and wants of my children and less about me.
I am the parent that has always said that children teach us how to parent them yet I had not always followed my own advice. Controlling Anaín has too often wanted for her children what she didn’t have for herself as a child and forgotten that her children are not her even if they are her own.
And there it is… the web that’s so tangled that I can’t seem to get myself out of it. My childhood shaped me and the way I parent, the way I parent shapes them and the way they will parent…
So instead of worrying about how to get myself out of this tangled web of wanting to give them everything I never had, keeping them in a perfect straight line towards happiness and success as adults and being the parent they need and want, I’ve decided that maybe being playful is just what we need more of.
I can let go some…
run around the park chasing the son that loves playing tag
create art with the son that loves painting, sculpting and all things visual art
have conversations with the make-believe friends that my other son has
I can master playful parenting as soon as I learn that it isn’t a goal to be mastered but a part of parenting to be enjoyed!