Other Things We do While Parenting

This link is to an article from January of 2010, when Natalie and I, getting ready to move out of our home for the already encroaching remodel, also did an art installation at our favorite café — with kids in tow, of course. I was reminded of it, because the same local weekly journal did a year-end issue last month featuring some of 2010’s most memorable photos, including the above photo of our installation.

We spent 2 days and 14 hours just in the hanging of the show. Each ticket was attached by three small pieces of poster sticky tack, which at times was delivered from Natalie to me via one of the girls. At other times in the process, when the girls were asleep for the night, Natalie stayed at home with them, and I worked on with the help of two other friends who busily applied adhesive wads and placed them within my grasp while I stretched and leaned to reach the expansive edges of the wall to individually place each one of the 1,980-something tickets. The whole project was a village effort, and our kids were right there throughout.

I just wanted to share this with you, as kind of the opposite end of the spectrum from the previous post on taking time out of projects and “doing” in general to enjoy “being” with our kids. We have, believe it or not, still managed to live life and “get things done” (as they say) while continuing to nurture the relationships we share with our kids.

I mention this, in particular, only because I don’t want to be misunderstood to be saying that parenting “naturally”, or “conscientiously”, or “consciously” is the opposite of achieving any goals outside of parenting. I don’t want to be misunderstood as saying stop doing or your kids will suffer. And I don’t want to be misunderstood as advocating a form of parenting that ignores the heart and soul of the parents in favor of playing ponies.

I am simply saying, there is cake to be eaten, and also cake to have. We parents may enjoy both, because unlike our un-procreated neighbors, we do all of our living with kids, too. Non-parents have no choice but to focus on achievement, we happen to have the luxury of enjoying some details that wholly escape their notice on our way (if only due to our progeny-laden pace). So may I encourage you — take advantage of your exceptional position — enjoy the fact that you can live your life and accomplish goals (while still nurturing your children), and enjoy also that you have a built-in excuse when you’d rather play ponies.

*

Be well.

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About Nathan M McTague, CPCC, CPDPE

I am a full-time parent of three, Writer, Life Coach, Lecturer, Parenting Mentor, and Shamanic Practitioner. In all of the above, I am seeking to assist my fellow humans in their processes of claiming and unleashing their highest potentials.
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4 Responses to Other Things We do While Parenting

  1. kloppenmum says:

    That’s a very cool installation: I read the article as well. A sociologist would have had a field day, I’m sure. And what fun.
    I agree with your post, and would add that with children around things don’t always get done from start to finish the first time…the years of crawling and toddling children I find to be the most frustrating, love them dearly. The ‘doing’ and ‘being’ are much more interwoven at this stage, don’t you think?

    • Yes, Karyn, if I understand your query correctly — with our younger ones, we have found the process of parenting as well as everyone’s individual comfort levels most facilitated by deferring to our children’s needs the majority of the time. So for several years we’ve reduced the scope of our external goals, intentions, interactions, and expectations — recognizing of course that this is a temporary, fleeting, soon to be nostalgic situation. (Even as I write this, I have had to stop twice to help Echo with something). We also think that things we do want to accomplish (with kids in tow) take a different sort of timing, flexibility, and creativity than people are otherwise accustomed to allotting. So, for instance, Natalie and I worked on carving the stamps, and organizing and stamping the tickets for the installation over a period of months at night after the kids were in bed; and through the 2 nights while I was continuing to hang the show, Natalie was at home tending our nest.
      What strikes me about all the parents who complain that they don’t get enough “me” time, or that get really bent out of shape about not being able to focus so exclusively on their own agendas, is the remarkably shortsighted perspective this assumes. Of course, as with most things, balance is the key — but I tend to think that if we simply take a moment to contemplate just how swiftly the two or three years of infancy and toddlerhood sweep by us, it only makes sense to enjoy every bit of it, understanding that sooner than we will like in the end our agendas will become our own again (gradually, but increasingly).
      When I am involved with a client in life coaching, one of the things we often have to work with is the tension between two or more seemingly competing values. Through intense exploration and discussion, we chart a balance in the client’s life such that all the paramount values are given ample (if not equal) respect and facilitation. For Natalie and I, our children will come first (at least for this period of all of our lives) because that is what we value most. As time passes, and as the girls develop and move more into “self-facilitation”, so to speak, then our other values are reassessed and the balances all shift. Two years ago, we wouldn’t have attempted this show. Of course, two years ago, we had a family art show in which we all worked on 7 giant paintings together in the yard which Natalie and I “finished” at night when the kids were sleeping…
      Thanks for adding to the discussion, Karyn!

      Be well.

  2. kloppenmum says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The Butterfly is 16 months old and on one hand I want to enjoy every second of his toddlerhood, but on the other, after nine years of being mostly Mum – I’m ready for more me….or at least a little more me that isn’t fragmented by interruption! Maybe it’s natures’s way of telling me not to have any more children.

    • Right, well with our eldest at 10 and our youngest at 3, we’ve been at it for the last decade, too. But I can tell you the difference between 17 months and 36+months is just enough that a parent like us can start to think, “Oh another 2-3 years, that’s not so long, and the baby period is so short…”
      I think Natalie and I will also continue now to shift away from the infancy and toddler end of the pool, though. We’re looking forward to taking the girls to Europe, and Hawaii, etc. And moving back toward personal “achievement” and specifically, making more money for the coming phases of parenthood.

      Be well!

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