Thursday, July 2, 2009

Liberate yourself...

I recently went to see John Rosemond speak…I have read a few of his books about parenting and, I have to admit, I drunk the Kool-Aid when it comes to his philosophy on raising kids using more traditional discipline “methods”. I say, “methods” because I don’t recall him speaking about specific techniques like, time out or some fancy shmancy something or other that supposedly works. He really just drew from the past and his experiences…

The one thing he emphasized that hit me straight in the heart was a comment about how women have changed over the last 50 years. I’m not sure this is an exact quote, but it was something like this, “Woman have lost their identity [in their children] and reduced themselves to a two dimensional person. LIBERATE YOURSELF!”. He went on to talk about how woman these days talk about nothing but their children in an obsessive fashion, that the marriage has become about the kids and not each other, that it’s ok to tell your kids “no”…or “go and play by yourself”…or “because I said so”.

I don’t know much, but I do know this...I have never felt more liberated from the guilt I feel about my children when I left the auditorium. I adore my kids…I think that’s a given. But I was consumed by guilt all the time…for working, because they were in daycare, for leaving them for 2 hours or, God forbid, a weekend. Every night I would say to Jon, “We really, need to spend more time with the kids…”

When we went to London 2 years ago…I literally sulked my way through five days because I just wanted them to be there or just to be home. We had a good time…but I didn’t truly enjoy it in my heart…I was consumed by guilt for leaving them. I was afraid something would happen to them as if the people caring for them (their grandparents) weren’t capable. I felt like they would hate me for leaving them. I literally thought, “How can I be enjoying this when they are home missing me so much. I’m such a horrible mother.” And Poor Jon…probably wasn’t that great hearing me question my motherhood…not giving a second thought to my marriage.

So back to the new me…

Recently, we took a trip to Savannah and the kids stayed home. We had a wonderful time…because the guilt monster had been cast away. I thought about the boys…I called to see how they were doing once a day…I bought them presents…but I didn’t worry about them missing me. I enjoyed the moment. Jon and I just enjoyed the rare time together…ate, stayed out late, played darts, drank…SLEPT as late as possible (first time in a long, long time).

When we got back they were literally having the TIME OF THEIR LIVES…I thought I would at least get greeted with a hug…instead I got a wave and a “Hey Mommy.” Was I sad…no, I was happy that they were comfortable to be without us because independence of us is really the ultimate goal.

I want my kids to view me as interesting and passionate about life. I want them to feel secure in our home because Jon and I are secure in our marriage. Going on a trip and being sad the whole time…doesn’t do all that much in the marriage department. Making our kids the focus of our lives, does nothing for our marriage. Our life should not revolve around them, they revolve around us…

I get that this is not how everyone feels and I know that his books may not be for every child…but for me, it’s been fantastic…I feel like I found a weird sort of freedom…not only with the guilt, but how to discipline as well.

At the seminar…he gave his “Bill of Rights for Children”…I will leave you with four of them:

  1. Children have the right to find out early in their lives that their parents don’t exist to make them happy, but to offer them the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to eventually make themselves happy.
  2. Children have the right to learn early in their lives that obedience to legitimate authority is not optional, that there are consequences for disobedience, and those said consequences are memorable and, therefore, persuasive.
  3. Children have the right to learn to be grateful for what they receive, therefore, they have the right to receive all of what they truly need and very little of what they simply want.
  4. Because it’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, children have the right to hear their parents say “Because I said so” on a regular basis.
Enjoy life and liberate yourself!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dawn. It's Erin Miller - I'd forgotten about your blog but stumbled upon it. This post was exactly what I needed to hear. I don't feel guilty about working, but I do feel guilty about missing parts of his day. I'm considering getting a babysitter for a couple of hours the Saturday the guys are in Pinehurst, but I felt so guilty about being away from Will on a weekend. I know I'll be a better wife/mother/friend for doing it... but the GUILT. Thanks for writing this.