Thursday, April 1, 2010

What's Your Motivation?

Whether you call it that or not, I think everyone has a parenting philosophy - a set of thoughts, values and ideas that drives why we care for our children the way that we do. I find that there are lots of good principles to chose from among advice from friends, parenting books, etc, but as I consider the decisions I make with my son, I constantly come back to one thought:

What is my motivation?

There are obviously a lot of motivating factors that drive what we do - from the big things like the way we were raised, our values, our spouse's values, and even our circumstances. (Let's face it, if you're child is hungry but you are about to wet your pants, you might go to the toilet quickly first and then come back to feed your child.)

I've identified 2 motivating factors that often challenge me in the wrong way.

1. What makes me happy.

Yep. I said it. Sometimes, when I'm looking after my son and I think about all the sleep I'm not getting or all the things I could be doing, I think to myself, "I have to find a solution so that I can get what I want! More time to myself! More sleep!" Sounds terrible, doesn't it? When I realised this is part of how I was thinking I was so disappointed in myself. How selfish!!

But there was another motivating factor equally as bad...

2. What makes my son happy.

I am a sucker for my sweet little boy's smile. It is so addicting. And making him laugh?! Oh my goodness, I never want him to stop! Sometimes I equate the smiling with the happy child I want him to be and his crying or disappointment as this negative thing that I want to protect him from. I think we all want that.

But reality is, being happy 100% of the time isn't life and the thought of raising my son to think that made me equally as disappointed in myself.

Life is about compromise. Its about what we do in the midst of disappointment - even if that disappointment is a meal delayed by 60 seconds because mum had to go the bathroom.

And that's when I realised that the answer to what motivates me has to be both - it has to be what makes me happy AND what makes my kids happy. But it also has to be more than that. It has to be what makes my husband happy. And what makes the world around us happy. I'm not talking about people pleasing - I'm talking about kindness, compassion, friendship and brotherly love. And not in the fuzzy wuzzy way - I'm talking about the difficult way - the way that highlights just how selfish we really are - the way that means that caring about others has to come above our own selfish desires.

Its important for my son to know that most of the time, his needs come first and his mum and dad are 100% looking out for him. Its just as important for him to learn that there times when mum and dad make the decision that something else is more important or equally important and his needs might have to wait a little bit.

So with that said and my son sleeping, I'm gonna go spend some "me" time with his daddy,

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