I’ve been thinking a lot about the lessons I’ve been learning on this parenting journey- after the fact of course – and thought it might be good to share a few and hopefully it’ll inspire other parents to share as well. The first HAS to be “What you Resist, Persists.” I can’t remember who made me aware of this, because it took me some time to “integrate” this philosophy into my “parental psyche,” and it was only then that I recognised there were many things I needed to stop resisting before they would go away – if this philosophy was true.
Having two lads 15 months apart has been intensely challenging. The main issue is when they’ve gone through their growing up stages that results in enormous anxiety and annoyance for the parents – such as running on the road, flying down stairs, leaping off tall buildings, and so on and so forth, all with no awareness for their safety – is the duration. As a result of the age gap, we’ve never had a break to recover from the stresses and strains it causes, because our “stages” have overlapped and then some, as they egg each other on. All parents know that these hair raising stages are challenging at the best of times, so having them for twice as long is not much fun.
Lex, in particular, is the child I’ve had to really practise the art of not resisting. With his hearing issues he lost two senses – hearing and smell. As a result, he resorted to exploring the world with his mouth for much longer than most kids do. While his oral exploration has significantly lessened since his operation – now only flaring up when he’s stressed or anxious, not to mention I know within the next few months it will stop all together – a couple of years ago it was hell. The shit that boy would pick up and put in his mouth – let me say it used to make me feel sick down to my toes. Naturally it got a VERY strong reaction from Mummy and Daddy, and so it continued. I was resisting it so strongly, because it revolted me so strongly. Then one day I said, “knock your socks off mate, it’s your mouth, your body, go for it.” And then it just pretty-much stopped. That was my first lesson in not resisting, and I’ve got to tell you, this lack of resistance really does work.
Jax is going through a stage at the moment, waking up at some point in the night and climbing into our bed. Lex is a pleasure to sleep with, Jax is NOT. He sleeps on your head, kneads you with his feet, is constantly moving, loves to stroke your hair (mine obviously, he shines his Dad’s noggin) or speak to you at 3am – I could go on. As any parent knows, constant night time interruptions are brutal for the mind and body, so as a result, Steve and I are walking around like zombies.
However, we recognise that, for whatever reason, Jax needs us right now, and we figure if that’s the case, he is welcome. Jax is not a “needy” kid, so he’s obviously feeling a little insecure about something and we’re committed to helping him though that – whatever the cost to us. While I appreciate that some parents think children in the marital bed is wrong, we have never thought so. Our philosophy is if they need us, we are there – but we do suffer the consequences. The truth is we know that if we let it be and accept the need, one day very soon it will stop – especially because Jax LOVES his sleep. But if we resist it, Jax will continue for much much longer.
I’ve applied this philosophy so many times, in so many situations, and it has worked. For example when the boys go through whining stages – OH PLEASE STOP WHINING – I just switch off and let them be. They stop. I also take the opportunity to reflect often, which gives me the opportunity to really see where I’ve been resisting behaviour, which means it has a tendency to continue. When I recognise my resistance, I stop, take a chill pill, and let them be. It’s working for me.
So there you go. I think “What you Resist, Persists” has worked in lots of areas of our lives, and with my kids I have recognised it as a powerful tool in my parenting arsenal. It also makes my life easier and takes away a lot of the anxiety I feel as a parent.
I would love to know any other great lessons learnt? In the meantime, I’ve got a few more I’ve picked up along the way I’ll share at some point. I think Lesson #2 is “Don’t Fight the Fashion Wars.”
Yours, without the bollocks