For the first time in years, I have a block of time each week TO MYSELF. It is very limited, just a few hours a week. But while the boys are each under the care of their schools, Mommy gets a chance to breathe, clean and do something for herself.
I am just a few days into experiencing this “alone time” and I like it much more than I thought I would. To be honest, I was a bit nervous to be alone. I’ve always had one of my kiddos around to need me or talk to me. What would I do in the silence I wondered?
But it occurred to me that a lot of growth happens in the silence. For it’s in the quiet moments that I am able to ponder with depth and complexity. Thoughts of self-reflection, idealizations regarding the kind of mother I want to be, my identity outside of that role and dreams for the future have more time to develop. Nurturing discovery is able to take place.
Unfortunately it wasn’t until recently that I started channeling these thoughts and emotions. Life has always been so rushed and hectic. “Get an education, master a craft or a sport, get a good job, work your way to the top, buy a big house and a nice car” are all expectations grinded into our existence… It’s the dizzying effect of the American life.
This mentality of doing more to keep ouselves relevant is passed down to our children so quickly. Immediately upon becoming a parent I felt the competitive draw to have my child succeeding at a young age in art, sports and school. A badge of honor is pinned upon those parents at PTA meetings with a highly successful and heavily involved child.
But how do we allow them to find themselves and identify their true passions in life if we are always writing their stories? If we aren’t conforming them to fit in with crowd and be great at what we think is important, I wonder how differently they might develop?
I think the moments of true self-exploration can be found in the nothing, the moments where there is no rush, no plans and no expectations. A time for self-directed play void of technology, adult intervention and rules will allow for a complexity to develop in their beings.
I’m determined to give my children time, uninterrupted space, to explore and discover the world around them. That might mean a team sport here and there, or a club to get involved in. But it will be self-directed. It will be of their own ambition.
They have an entire childhood to discover what they like and dislike. I don’t want to force their childhood away boxed in my ideals and expectations. And I might be amazed at what they come up with on their own! The creations and discoveries of a child’s pure and imaginative mind are truly something to be treasured.
As they song says, “let them be little”. For if we give them time, time for nothing, maybe they will grow outside of the box we may have otherwise invoked.