Wednesday, December 9, 2009


makes me happy.

I was having a really interesting conversation with someone the other day about when to stop parenting your children. This intelligent mother of 3 adult children said 'Never.'

I believe I have heard this very same story from my own parents. If I remember correctly, I'm fairly certain they told me I would understand when I became a parent myself.

Well honestly, I'm still not getting it. In fact Eckhart Tolle's words in A New Earth read even clearer and louder then before I had Byrdie.

The all-important question is: Are you able to fulfill the function of being a parent and fulfill it well, without identifying with that function, that is, without it becoming a role? Part of the necessary function of being a parent is looking after the needs of the child, preventing the child from getting into danger, and at times telling the child what to do and what not to do. When being a parent becomes an identity, however, when your sense of self is entirely or largely derived from it, the function easily becomes overemphasized, exaggerated, and takes you over. Giving children what they need becomes excessive and turns into spoiling; preventing them from getting into danger becomes overprotectiveness and interferes with their need to explore the world and try things out for themselves. Telling children what to do or not to do becomes controlling, overbearing.

What is more, the role-playing identity remains in place long after the need for those particular functions has passed. Parents then cannot let go of being a parent even when the child grows into an adult. Even when the child is forty years old, parents can't let go of the notion "I know what's best for you."

Now, I'm not saying that this lovely lady whom I was conversing with, or my own parents for that matter, were over-protective, overbearing parents. Just the opposite in fact.

Speaking for myself, I've always felt that my parents did an amazing job raising my sister and I. Always giving us enough slack to make learn from our own decisions and the experiences that resulted from said choices.

And while for the most part they don't parent us anymore, I find it so fascinating that they still feel the need, or desire, to.

In the end I believe it boils down to trust. Trusting that one day The Byrd will be well enough equipped to make all her own choices to live her very own best life ever - taking into account that her best life may be different from my own.

And also trusting in myself, that I have fulfilled my function as a parent as best as I possibly could (hopefully as well as my parents did), preventing my function from turning into a role-game we play with each other.

Freeing us both to simply enjoy each other.


Tammy said...

so true Stacy - awesome post! - and oh yes - the cutest picture ever!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant, and the waiting is beginning to make my role of being a mother bigger and bigger in my mind. This is a good reminder of what being a parent really means.

Anonymous said...

With all respect to E. Tolle, I believe you and I will have an additional perspective after having BIRTHED the bodies of these little souls. :-) I also believe as parents, we're in some sort of soul agreement with our children. We're channels to usher them into this expression we call "life," and care for them as they grow to care for themselves. (Heads up: the ego has a field day with this one - LOL!)

Then, at that (for me, heart-pounding)moment when they come of age, look over the nest and desire to fly, we step back and rejoice WITH them in their flight.

Best words ever I heard from Joseph Campbell: "Follow your bliss." My desire was to protect my child from anything but uplifting, positive experiences. Well-intentioned but what a stifling existence that would have been - for us both. She knows who she came into this life to BE. Thank goodness, she TRUSTED and followed her bliss, even as she ventured to some of life's valleys. No regrets. It was there she found the richest soil that contributed to a great deal of her growth - and like all of us, she's still learning. She continues to be one of the most fascinating, compassionate and vibrant individuals I know.

Any parent who nurtures a child to set foot in whatever groove is involved that encourages that child to know themself and be true to themself, I say, "job well done."

And from the expression on The Byrd's face, you guys have a groove thing happening. Way to go!


kristen gale said...

I just cannot get over how cute your baby is. She is absolute magic. I swear, I'm in love with her.