For better or worse, parenting does not come with a handbook. It’s mostly on the job training, figuring it out as we go, and trusting our instincts. Zac and I, once again, are fortunate to have reallllllly good role models for parents. They were there for us in every way and loved us deeply. Being an only child, I was the sole focus of love and attention which has translated to a pretty self-assured and confident adult. They believed I was capable of anything so I did, too. My parents never put limits on my mind and helped expand my understanding at every turn. They weren’t perfect, but they were pretty freaking close. Looking back as a mom of 3, I see the value of only having one child in terms of energy. There are many moments of reconciling guilt because someone in my house isn’t getting what they need. This is balanced by looking long term at what we want our family to look like in 5 years, in 10 years- looking at the kind of relationships our kids will have with each other and with us. We are tired parents right now in this short term moment. We have an 8, 5 and 1 year old, but someday we will have an 18, 15, and 11 year old and that is exciting to me.
When life has thrown curve balls and things didn’t go the way it was planned, I learned to trust my instincts. I grew up in a pretty religious home. Both of my parents worked for our church for the first 20 years of my life but I was fortunate in that a religious dogma was never pushed on me. Members were challenged to find what spoke to them within the broad limits of Christianity. This translated to me developing a theology not of a God who sits in heaven answering prayers for some and not for others, but of a still small voice that informs our gut instincts. The idea of “God’s Plan” has some big flaws in logic and does not bring me comfort. I want no association with a God that allows pain to teach us a lesson. I do believe in “meaning making” but not in suffering as part of a cosmic plan. Sometimes shit just happens.
With this in mind, I have come to trust that still small voice inside. There is a scene in Harry Potter where he drinks a potion and it just directs him in the right direction to meet his goals, save his friends, be a hero. My inner voice is not concerned with my being a hero, but she sure has been right a lot and I’m a better version of myself when I listen. I am more self aware and make decisions based on love and logic and less on fear. Most of the time. I try.