(And a brief chat with my imposter syndrome).
There have been a lot of Facebook 10 pictures in 10 days challenges around recently. I don’t usually do these things or pay them much attention but they are filling my Facebook feed with more joyful pictures than the fake news and miserable real news and all the other rubbish that I scroll past.
I got ‘nominated’ to do a ‘Being a Mum’ challenge. Where I was instructed to select a picture each day that represented a day in the life of being a “Mum”. The instructions are “10 days, 10 photos, 10 nominations, 0 explanations. I got round the nominations by nominating anyone who wants to do it’ each day. But the 0 explanations – that was hard!
I found there was so much I wanted to say about these images. To express and share. So now I’ve finished the challenge I’m putting the images and words together here….
Day 1, Playing with Fire!
My children, like most, have a fascination with the world. Investigating, prodding things to see what will happen. It starts with mixing mud and climbing trees when they’re little and gets more scary and dangerous as they grow! As a parent it’s hard to sit back and let them learn for themselves, to watch them do things that are risky and trust that you’ve taught them to evaluate risks for themselves. Hope that if it goes wrong that it doesn’t go too wrong and that the consequences aren’t too harsh. It’s difficult to silently observe, presenting a calm and supportive exterior while inside you’re saying ‘why can’t you just take my word for it?’ and ‘ For goodness sake be careful!’ then trying ever so hard not to say ‘I told you so’ when their fingers burn.
Young people will always want to find out for themselves, to experience life on their own terms. We just have to hope that we’ve equipped them with the sense and tools to get them through their adventures reasonably unscathed. I find that because I let my children explore and discover life for themselves, they feel comfortable being open with me about it. They tell me what they’re up to, let me know where they’re going, what they’ll be doing and what they have done. There are boundaries obviously (if they didn’t have those to push against, they wouldn’t feel so secure), but they know that they can discuss limits with me and there’ll always be room for negotiation. Because I’d rather know where they are and what they’re doing, even if I don’t approve, than them feel trapped, unable to be the full expression of themselves or have to lie. I may have moments when I worry that they’ll remember my advice and guidance and be sensible when it really matters but I do trust them. And because I let them know that they are worthy of my trust, that makes them trustworthy.
So ‘Playing With Fire’ speaks of my faith in my own parenting and in my children’s ability to negotiate life.
(In the interest of being open and honest: The old familiar imposter syndrome is kicking in here saying Ha! it works so far! – It could all blow up in my face one day!’, ‘who do you think you are to be so smug about your parenting – you’re setting yourself up for a fall!’ and it’s right – It could all go ‘tits up’ at any moment but then so could any area of life. And so I say to you imposter syndrome – I know that I’ve done my best with what knowledge and resources I have and what is within my control – the rest is… fate?, destiny?….Life!).
Day 2 to follow soon, in the meantime stay safe, stay healthy and raise each other up.