Hands Free Parenting
There are all sorts of labels used to define parents. If you hover and over-control your child, you are a helicopter parent. If you try to let your child lead the way, people will say you are being irresponsible. Some parents are strict, while others aren't afraid to be carefree and wild. Some parents are demanding, expecting a lot, such as The Tiger Mother, while others choose to be satisfied with things the way they are.
One thing is for sure, if you are a parent – then this world of other parents wants to put you in a neat and tidy box with a label that is supposed to define who you are as a mother or father.
As your kids get older, no matter what you think right now, your ideas about parenting will change. You will find that there are a lot of “I nevers” that will slap you in the face. You will realize why some people make the choices they do.
Let’s be real. Not one single one of us is perfect. We are learning as our children grow.
Recently however, I came across an article by a woman who was making a concerted effort to partake in what she referred to as ‘hands free parenting.' Hands free, meaning she would sort of drop out of the hustle and bustle of being a parent, quit trying to control everything, and would stop constantly scheduling herself and her children to conform to what broad society believes is important to develop healthy, strong, emotionally sound children.
And instead of being less involved, hands free parenting is about being MORE involved – in the relationship of the parent and child.
It is about seeing a child as a perfect individual, with individual needs, wants and desires in life – and allowing our children to literally show US, LEAD US, in the right direction.
Hands free parenting is about letting go of the millions upon millions of distractions in our lives that keep us from staying connected to our lives and our families in the most important ways. It is about choosing to live day by day, hour by hour, with faith in the knowing that everything you need or your child needs, you already have.
In other words, it is about parenting mindfully. Being fully present in our lives, living authentically, and showing our children how to recognize what is important and what is not.
For the author of the article I read, hands free was very much about letting go of the rat race, and the numerous committees that she was on, throwing out the child rearing books to follow her own heart, and saying ‘no' to constantly trying to fill the shoes of the so called ‘perfect parent' more often than not.
In my own life, I have seen how easy it is for a family to be smothered under stress and to-do lists, schedules and appointments. Even though most of my own plans, the things that keep life so busy, are for things in life that I feel my children need or are important, I am realizing more and more each day that the kids grow AWAY from us more quickly than we think.
Then one day, you wake up and realize that they are gone. And you missed on out on so many opportunities to just cherish the time together over what? A PTA meeting? A soccer game?
I have begun to ask myself every day, “What do I want my children to remember about their childhood?” And, given a situation where I am forced to choose between spending time with my kids or jumping on board the fast and furious train of life I ask, “Which will matter more in 5 years?”
I think learning to be a little more relaxed in our lives and with our children is a great choice to make at some point. Living mindfully, and parenting mindfully – following your heart rather than someone else's advice, a book, or an expectation – will not just make you a happier parent, but will also help you to raise happier kids. And in the very end, that is what is most important.
Do you ever feel so stressed out with the responsibilities of parenting that you don’t enjoy your children enough? Do you ever wish you could simplify your life a little bit? If so, then try a little hands free parenting of your own.