coming off of such a crazy year of transition and activity, and gearing up to have our first child, i admit, i'm a little freaked. our life feels like the inside of a kaleidoscope--the same pieces are there, but there's this almost constant turning and shifting and every thing looks and feels different.
and on top of that, there's just a lot of emotions for me to wade through, a lot of baggage i need to deal with, and a lot of questions i need to ask myself to figure out what i really want for this next chapter. you know ... what we need, what our priorities are, and how it can look so that it's us. not our version of the cutest mommy blog's family but honest-to-goodness me and steve and child.
i got to thinking about this the other night, and i realized that as i waded through a lot of the mixed or confusing feelings i'm having about having a child, it was really easy (and somewhat helpful) for me to do the old "i swear i'll never do that." i'm sure it's typical to do, especially for first-timers liker me around 4.5 month, to start rattling off the list of things they swear they won't repeat for their kid. and while i'm struggling to define how family will look for us, i can at least begin with a few things (in no particular order) i know will or won't be happening*:
- i will not divorce steve. i won't put my kids through that kind of hurt, and i will do my darndest to not forget that even though i'll be working and i'll be a mom, i'll also be a wife and a best friend.
- if something unthinkable happens and we do get divorced, i won't put my kids through the stress and anxiety of growing up in family court wranglings. i won't subject my kids to unnecessary "psychological evaluations" for the sake of custody. i refuse to put my kids in the middle, making them feel like they need to choose sides, or that loyalty is what is holding our family together. love and kindness and grace will be what holds our family together, not a fear of letting parents down or of family duty.
- i will not assume i already know what my child is thinking or feeling. i will listen. i will help them learn to identify emotions and analyze the cause of those emotions, but i will not project my own emotions and experiences onto them. i will strive to give them space to be themselves, even if i don't understand it.
- i will listen, and seek to understand my child and their culture. i will not simply dismiss their experiences as "something all kids go through," but will instead remember that each life stage is new to them, and that while i may already know that things will work out, me simply saying that may not convince them.
- i will strive to make sure that spirituality will not be something that is only seen on sunday morning, or christmas. i will also work hard to make sure that our children's spirituality is not reduced to a check list, but rather is allowed to be a progression of development, like every other part of their lives.
- i will strive to not discipline out of anger. it is my belief that disciplining out of anger is a slippery slope leading to abuse and i will work so freaking hard to keep myself in check when i'm teaching my kids how to live.
- i will not let my happiness depend solely on my children. i won't put that kind of pressure on them. i will strive to be a balanced, healthy individual, so that when my kids inevitably let me down, it's not the only good thing in my life.
- i will let my kids be kids. i will let them get hurt every once in awhile, if that's what it takes for them to learn to play outdoors and by themselves. i will encourage them to be creative and to develop an imagination.
- i will buy my kids legos. and lots of them. those big bins of tiny toe-hurting torture devices. because building and imagining is what being a kid is all about.
*disclaimer:: i know that many of the "i swear i'll never"s end up happening. and maybe i'll eat these words someday. that's totally fine. but for me, this is an important step in wading through my own baggage instead of ignoring it or blindly repeating it.
i'm participating in the liberating working moms new year's resolutions link up! [yes, i guess being a working preg woman counts! and so does making broad resolutions that extend well beyond 2012!] and you can join in too! just use the inlinkz tool below :)