by Guest Blogger, Lisa Solar
We’ve been doing a lot of work at SLC this year to place an even more meaningful emphasis on the social and emotional development of our students.
Now, let’s talk about us.
Over the last four years and through the birth of three children, I’ve come to realize that a whole new phase of social and emotional development is at hand for me, as a mother. It’s a tremendous ball of lucky, ecstatic, wondrous and terrifying, this being a parent, and sometimes I find the weight of it all so much to bear. Occasionally, I feel like I’m doing it all Wrong.
I’ve recently recognized the importance of having a support system among other parents, and I see now that it’s just as important to talk openly about our struggles as parents as it is to support our children. As we coach them to stretch and grow and learn what it is to be compassionate and resilient, I am struck by how critical it is for us to continue learning how to do the same ourselves.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a heartfelt conversation with another mom from SLC about our struggles as a parent. I have found in this friend a place to be truly honest about all the parts of being a mom- even the ones that feel ugly and shameful. That friendship is gold to me, and the comfort I felt in being able to lay it all out on the table- to tell my worst moment, for real- is one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had in this whole adventure. (Also, still making me laugh to hear her describe the time she had to try and wrangle a tantruming five year old up over her head into the top of a bunk bed.)
I take great care in helping my children feel heard. I am insistent that they not harbor guilt or shame about who they are or what they do. If you tell my four year old that her letter formation is “perfect’ she will correct you immediately- “there is no such thing as perfect”. But as parents, we often hold ourselves to impossibly high standards! We sometimes use a facade to portray a rigorously managed vision of family. Sure we joke about how “crazy’ things are, and we’ll touch upon the stress inherent in this time of our families, but we tend, I think, to keep the truly gritty parts to ourselves.
As is the case with my children, I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not know how to do this. It’s okay to sometimes lack all the shine of the highly evolved parent. It’s perfectly acceptable to be less than perfect. It’s mantra I employ for my kids- because I want them to feel confident, strong and very much good enough. Sometimes we need reminders to give ourselves the same treatment.
For now, I’m taking a break from the parenting books and simply looking to other parents for a more authentic experience of support. I have found a community in the halls of our amazing school and I hope that for every parent who wants one, there is another parent ready and waiting to say how it really is for them. To listen with an open heart- to listen without judgment about how we get through this tremendously messy, tremendously imperfect thing called parenting.