The first month of having a newborn is a complete whirlwind. It almost feels like a lifetime ago of changing diapers, learning to nurse, crying a lot and constantly worrying that we won’t be able to keep this teeny, fragile life alive on our own.
Now that we are no longer in survival mode (or no longer thinking thoughts like, “why did the hospital trust us with this wee babe? Who do they think they are??), we are able to envision what our family could look like or what it will be like to parent Eleanor.
Eleanor will be two months on Friday and she is quickly becoming her own person. She’s incredibly smiley, does her best when we are in a group of people we love and still loves sleep and the boob more then anything else. Everyone was right, each week gets better and better and I feel like my heart continues to open up more and more.
I just finished “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown and absolutely loved the section on “wholehearted parenting.” Brown emphasizes the importance of being the adults we want our kids to be and practicing values we want to impart to our children. She talks about how parents are always comparing themselves to other parents or always weighing in on what the “best parenting practices are.” But more important than knowing what it means to be a good parent, is the practice of being a wholehearted person ourselves.
This actually really scared me because with it comes responsibility! For example, if I want Eleanor to know that what matters most is her character, not her looks, then I need to also practice this value. Or if I want Eleanor to learn to not compare herself to others, I should probably stop comparing myself to others. If I want her to admit when she is wrong and ask for forgiveness, I should probably stop trying to burrow my way out of being wrong and ask for forgiveness for goodness sake! Damn…this is going to be hard.
And at the same time, incredibly rewarding. While reading Brown’s experiences with her daughter where they were able to connect on things such as feeling left out, learning to be brave and asking for forgiveness, I couldn’t help but cry. What a gift it will be to learn these things with Eleanor – to admit our wrongs together, to be brave together, to explore together!
I know I will need a lot of prayer and will have to admit my wrongs a lot more then I’m comfortable with, but what a better life to live – to continue to learn and grow, while we are parenting, instead of thinking we have it all together before we even begin.
One thing I want to teach Eleanor that I didn’t do well growing up is to learn to be brave. I’ve lived my life with a lot of fear, even to the extent of not trying things because I didn’t want to fail or because I didn’t want people to laugh at me. I want Eleanor to be free of fear, to try so many things and to learn that showing up and messing up is better then not trying at all.
So, if we are to take Brown’s research seriously, this means that I need to start trying things I’m scared to do like take up piano again, sing in front of people again, learn to wakeboard and be more honest with people.
Thank goodness we aren’t required to have it all together for our kids; we are required to exemplify the values we want to impart on them. I’m excited to learn this with my sweet, sweet Eleanor Joy.