Some days when I drop my nearly four year old Bax off at kinder, he bolts straight over to his little mates and gets busy building something magical, or digging sand like a pro. I get so giddy and proud watching him from afar. On those days I am lucky to even get a wave goodbye from him, he could care less if I am there or not. Those are the days I love, the days I don’t get a wave are the best days.
Other days he is a little extra clingy, he might be over tired, or feeling a little extra shy for what ever reason. When he looks up at me with his big beautiful brown eyes filled with tears and begs me not to leave, those are the shit days. They are not as frequent anymore but when they happen I feel so lousy and judge myself for him not coping as well. It goes against every instinct in my body to walk away from him on those days. Explaining to a little boy that three hours will fly by doesn’t really do the trick. Time doesn’t exist in his pure little world yet.
When I get home after the lousy drop offs or any other day I feel lousy in the mother department, I force myself to look at the cork board above my desk. I have a copy of Brene Brown’s Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto pinned to it. It is such a beautiful manifesto and I read it to remind myself what really matters.
Take a minute to read the manifesto below and maybe have a tissue or two on hand.
The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto
Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and loveable. You will learn this from my words and actions–the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honouring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.
We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honour hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.
You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.
I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.
I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.
When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.
Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.
We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.
As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.
I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.