Friday, September 26, 2014

How Glinda the Good Witch Became My Mothering Model

My first child was born during the height of the William Sears attachment parenting craze, umm... I mean movement. This was in the 90's, a movement based on gentle birth, physical proximity, being with our babies, holding our babies close to us, whim breastfeeding and the family bed. It also involved saying yes to our children, to support their exploration and play. It felt right and intuitive, to respond to my baby's needs in this way. 

But there was one problem with this type of parenting, at least for me. Yet I had no idea at the time that  it was the parenting style, my parenting style based on this model of attachment, that was leaving me adrift.

What I have come to learn over many years, is that this type of attachment, of proximity parenting, is just the first of several steps towards healthy attachment. But I didn't know that then.

As my children grew more and more active, the attachment parenting model did not address the need to say no, to create boundaries and to be the grown up, to be the magical Glinda good witch type of mother who brings wisdom, warmth and security to the child through boundaries.
It left me hanging with my out of bounds child wondering what to do. I had to wake up to the need that my children desperately needed an authority figure and then slowly learn, step by step, to consciously step into the Glinda the good witch big shoes.

It came so easily to me with other peoples' children, they seemed so easy to be with and care for. They responded to simple nods and smiles. They came when called. They sat at the table and ate peacefully with only slight encouragement. They occasionally quarreled and threw things but most of the time it was fairly easy to bring the environment back to peace.

My own children did not come along so easily. They climbed over the gates in the doorways. They threw things at each other when I was trying to make dinner. They yelled at each other and fought.  They got into each others' belongings and taunted and teased each other. Their behavior triggered all sorts of big emotions in me. I felt anger and rage and frustration. Why did they act that way? What was wrong with me? What did I need to do to "get" it? Sometimes I just felt flat out exasperated and exhausted.

My children are the ones who forced me to pull up the big girl panties, stand back and create some space between myself and each of them. I needed to step back so I could see them more clearly and make room for my feelings to have their space. I had to learn slowly, step by step, and incident by incident, to remember to step into the big shoes of Glinda the good witch and be the grown up.

This process of change and painful transformation brought me to a place where I realized I had to learn to say  no and create boundaries before I could approach, with fresh eye's the notion of saying yes.

That was and is my mothering challenge. To step into the big shoes and be the Glinda Good Witch Mother. And I am still learning.

More to come in another blogpost on what I have learned about what it means to say yes to a child.


Celebrate the Rhythm of Life 
Harmonious Rhythms ::  Parenting with Soul :: Waldorf Homeschooling

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