Thursday, April 21, 2011

Control and parenting...

"Whoever said it first spoke with insight and wisdom: you don't own children, you only borrow them" -Anne Linn

I like control, it feels good and when used positively it is wonderful. I like to control my lifestyle, my happiness and my thoughts. As a Mother, I have an overwhelming urge to control my daughter. Not in a 'No, you will not date boys' way, but in terms of comfort and protection. I'm not sure if this is a common trait in mothers, but a few mothers I know have empathised with me. They will tell their partners exactly what to feed the baby when they aren't present (down to the teaspoon) and can name the exact time to the minute that they want to put baby down for a morning sleep. This isn't to say we can't go with the flow and relax, we all know babies don't stick to a minute-by-minute routine. But we do have preferences as to how, when and what is done with our babies. Well, I know I do.

Being a single mother and spending every minute of every day of every week with Stella on my own, I think this sense of control began. It felt secure for me and for Stella too I hope. I started to feel as though I was losing this control when she started spending regular time and staying overnight with her father at 6 months old. I found (and still do find) it hard to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn't be the one putting her to bed, feeding her a bottle, getting her dressed that one day a week. Is it a protective motherly instinct or a learned un-healthy behaviour? Either way, It is there.

I came across the quote above in my twitter feed and it resonated with me. 'Your child does not belong to you. You do not own them, merely borrow them'. Stella is her own person, she will one day move out, marry and have her own children. My job, as her mother is to give her the best possible chance at achieving, enjoying, experiencing and loving during her journey away from me.

"The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them" -Frank A Clark

I have the all the knowledge and resources available to give her the best possible chance at being healthy, happy, loved and secure. However I can't control entirely how she is looked after when she is not with me. I can guide, advise and hope but that is all. My hope is that her father and I, as separated parents, can work together as a team in parenthood. To have similar values, ideals and wishes for our daughter.

So, from this day forward I pledge to let go some of that control. To put more effort into guiding, demonstrating and loving. As difficult as it may be, it's an important asset to have as a parent.

Do you feel any of this control in your parenting? What are your thoughts?

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