Parenting shift

Do you find that you’re feeling more guilty about things as this pandemic goes on? Or are you letting things go more often?

Someone recently told me that I was such a calm mom, and my immediate response “WHAT!?” – ok not really, but I was surprised to hear that! I told her I think I just let things slide more easily since Covid hit.

But am I letting things slide, or am I easing up on the pressures I place on myself?

That comment made me think about the pressure I put on myself as a mom, and how that pressure and those expectations of myself have shifted. While it’s still there, and still self-imposed, I actually find myself being more flexible with my kids, and giving them more grace.

As the Covid-Times continue, I am becoming more and more of a free-range mom. I wasn’t a helicopter parent before, but I wouldn’t have classified myself as a free-range mom either. Having a child with Down syndrome whose sense of awareness around dangerous things isn’t as developed as his peers, I haven’t had the opportunity to really develop my parenting style.

On the weekend, I went to move laundry from the washer to the dryer. The 3 boys were sitting at the kitchen table, finishing a snack, so it seemed like the perfect time to sneak downstairs for this chore. As I went downstairs I called out “quand maman revient, on ira dehors” (when mama gets back, we’ll go outside). They heard “go outside”, and those 2 big kids scarfed down whatever snacks they had left and immediately jumped up to put on their shoes and hats. I came upstairs to one little boy in his high chair, clearly offended that he was left behind, and 2 big kids running around laughing outside.

Now, in ‘before time’, I would have likely run outside and demanded they come back in until I could supervise them. I would have worried about what kind of trouble they were getting into. At 6 and 2, they aren’t really ready to play unsupervised.

But on this day, I simply folded the laundry, put it away, and went outside with Alistair to play. Sure, I poked my head out a few times or peeked out of the kitchen window to make sure that one was hitting the other over the head with a stick, or that one brother wasn’t pushing the other one around, but for the most part, I let them play.

I did what any free-range parent would do. I took a deep breath, relaxed, and let them go.

I let them explore, I let them follow their hearts and imagination and I let them play.

I gave them a chance to prove to me how they are able to play nicely together. I let them use their imagination “unsupervised” and without the distraction of mom. This is a positive parenting shift for me (and for them).

And though from time to time the “mom-guilt” creeps into my thoughts, I’m slowly starting to see that I am letting go of it.

What about you? Let me know in the comments below what changes you’ve noticed in your parenting , and if you’ve eased up on self-imposed pressures.

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