A manifesto of one's own
JAN 8, 2015
By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register
Your assignment: Write down your personal parenting philosophy
When people find out I write a parenting column, I’m quick to correct any impression they might have about it featuring how-to advice or anything of that sort.
In fact, no. As much as I enjoy being a mom, at least most of the time, I have no business telling anyone else how she should go about being one.
Despite the clarification, I’m often asked to share my “parenting philosophy.”
For those who missed the memo on modern-day parenting, that’s something many parents seem to subscribe to these days. And they have all kinds to choose among, ranging from holistic to hands-off to helicopter parenting.
Google can provide you with more information on that than I can. I’m no expert.
Truth be known, I have no idea what my own parenting style is. If I had to check a box, I guess I’d be looking for something like “conscious” or “intentional.”
I like to joke that my personal parenting philosophy comes down to staying awake, as being present and taking notes are integral to what seems to work for me. In my journal, I take note of what I’m trying to accomplish, what challenges I’m facing in that and where I’m either succeeding or not so much.
Our success as parents can’t really be measured, not now and maybe not ever. For those of us with little ones, it’s too soon to tell. For those of us with older children, there are too many other factors to consider, in addition to our parenting style, to gauge our success.
Somewhere between overthinking every little thing to the point of paralysis, and not giving the ramifications of our parenting a second thought, lies the happy medium of creating a personal parenting manifesto. Wherever you are on your path as a parent, I invite you to join me in the exercise of trying to find it.
I can feel some of you rolling your eyes. Is that groaning I hear?
Yes, this is a writing assignment. No, neatness doesn’t count, and I really don’t care about spelling. As long as you can read and understand what you write, that’s all that matters. But for this to be effective, you need to write down the kind of parent you want to be, describe the type of relationship you want to create with your child and maybe list some ways you are accomplishing that and/or falling short.
Just the act of focusing on what you want to create helps. Add some reflection and periodic review and you’ve got the formula for being an intentional parent.
I’m not saying there’s a right way or wrong way to be a parent, just planting the seed that one of the best ways to enjoy parenting is to approach it purposely.
The founder of AskMoxie.org, Magda Pecsenye, has built a platform as a reality facilitator for parents. She has attempted to build a framework for assuring each one she is doing her best by her child.
She just published a book called, “You’re the Best Parent for Your Child: 31 Truths from AskMoxie.org.” I highly recommend it, because it helps clear away the noise of The Others and makes room for you to discover what you yourself think.
I started this column intending to write my mothering manifesto — on deadline. Then I decided to take some time reflecting on what I wanted to include in such a document, which is essentially just a declaration of intentions, motives or views.
However you came to be a parent, you’re there now. You have created a person counting on you to be his or her tour guide, life coach and, well, parent.
That can mean a lot of different things for different people. It’s up to you to determine what that means for you.
There’s a lot that can and will go off the rails. But you have a better shot of staying the course if you’ve laid the track yourself.
I’ll share my draft in progress on my blog, www.nathaliesnotes.com, when it’s ready. I hope you’ll do the same.
As I develop my writing calendar for the year, I’d love to know what issues you’d like to help me explore in these columns. In the meantime, here’s wishing you a year that goes mostly as intended.
Nathalie Hardy recently published her first book, “Raising the Hardy Boys: They said there would be bon-bons,” which is available at local bookstores or online. To contact her, visit www.nathaliesnotes.com.
To grab an Ask Moxie copy of your own, ask your local book store or, click here: