Sunday, March 27, 2011

words and a journey

I've been thinking about yesterday's post for two days. I have been wondering, just wondering, if it came across as preachy and sanctimonious.

If I came across as the kind of person who thinks they're better and wiser than others,

thinks they are the best parent ever,

thinks they have something new to say when they're actually stating the obvious,

thinks they are someone who has all the answers and needs to tell everyone what those answers are,

but has, instead, just come across as one of the biggest windbags of blogdom.

Because, if I did, that would be really sad.

I know most parents on this planet love their children AND like them. I'm not the only one. I'm one of billions. I'm also not the only one who sees their children as their friends. I am not the only one who can list reason after reason why their kids are great. And I'm not the only one who says "I love you," countless times.

I'm not special or unusual or particularly amazing as a parent. I'm not blowing the lid on any secrets, nor have I found the Parenting Meaning of Life.

I wasn't actually writing anything most people didn't already know. So what was the point of yesterday's blogpost, then?

Well, I guess, like so many of us, I was just writing my thoughts. But sometimes I wonder if those thoughts are read differently from how I intend them to be read.

I can't always prevent that. But I can explain a bit more about where my thoughts come from and what I believe.

• I believe respecting others is the most important thing you can do as a human.

• I am a pacifist, the kind who believes passionately in non-violence, in peaceful resolution to conflict.

• I am a dreamer who wishes everyone could accept each other, treat all living things with kindness and compassion, and take care of the earth.

• I'm a mum who is learning every day how to be a better parent, mentor and friend to my kids.

All these things inform my words—

the words I think and the words I write.

And sometimes I think that makes me come across a little bit, "Hey, lookit, I've found the Golden Ticket! The Holy Grail! The Secret! Everyone should listen to me (who is awesome! and wise!), right now!" And I think perhaps I also sound a bit, "Gosh, everyone, let's all live more like this, because then everyone can get along and be happy! Tra la la, skippety skip!"

You know, a mix between Pollyanna and some hairy dude on the sidewalk, holding up a sign saying, "Meaning of Life. $1."

Which is kind of weird. :)

So in the interests of full disclosure, I thought I'd add something to yesterday's blog post.

I have controlled and do control huge aspects of my kids' lives. I suggest when it's time for bed, I suggest brushing teeth, I say yes or no to icecream. I suggest maths and I say no to things. I get cross and have asked my kids to go to their rooms. I have, in fact, slammed doors! I have cried and felt hopeless and even found myself saying those words: "Perhaps you should go back to school." I have not been the best, or greatest, or wisest parent sometimes.

But sometimes, I've done okay, maybe even better than okay. Sometimes, I've done something that rings so true and so right and brings such joy to my kids, that I've quietly said, "Good. That was good," to myself and notched one up for me as a Mum.

And I've found the more I journey down the path of our Freedom Experiment—into natural learning, unschooling, life learning, whatever it's called—I've felt more solid as a mother. More sure of myself, who I am, and who I want to be.

I say "Yes" so much more.

I say, "This is what I think, but what do you think?"

I say, "No, I don't think so, but here's why."

I choose communication and friendship over control.

And I've found that this way makes us happier.


I feel like I'm learning SO MUCH, ALL THE TIME.

So then I share, here, what I'm learning.

And I truly hope my words come across as my own discoveries,

about myself and about my family,

NOT as some "Declaration on the Way to Live as Discovered by Me which is the Right and True and Only Way by the Power Invested in Me and So Forth."

Because no matter what I write here, these are just words,

just thoughts,

and I'm just one person

amongst the wondering, thoughtful, heartfelt billions.



  1. Helena, I thought your last post was just a beautiful celebration of your relationship with your kids (the reason I called it revolutionary in my comment is because, unfortunately, not everyone does have this kind of relationship or perspective), but maybe I'm one of those Pollyanna/hairy dude types? lol, but I do appreciate your one voice among the billions :)

  2. I loved your post too. I knew, of course that there are things you control. You are too much of a loving Mom not to. We have to gently guide our kids in the right way at times.

    You post what you want in YOUR blog. YOUR BLOG. :) I don't know what happened but I know my blog is for me, when I start writing for others it gets messed up. I love your words and the feelings that come across. I see the love for your kids in every, single word. Keep writing darlin' and I will keep reading.

  3. Dearest Helena -

    No, you did not come off as preachy and sanctimonious. Your post was full of joy. And my heart hummed with my own joy and recognition of the feelings you were expressing.

    And happiness at sisterhood and friendship with a stranger an ocean away.

  4. Not at all preachy!! And I'm good with tone...I know preachy when I see it. If anyone has a problem with your optimism and hopefulness ( the tone I detect in your posts ) it's really their issue to go away and deal with. Quietly.

  5. I didn't think it was preachy or sanctimonious. I thought it was loving and truthful and beautiful. I think sometimes when we write these words and put them out there for the world, there is sometimes that moment of...was that too much? did i say too much? share too much? did it sound like this or that? I do it, too. All the time. Don't worry, sweet friend, it was a beautiful post.

  6. Ah. Thank you guys, so much! I don't know what happened either, other than yesterday I slammed myself with doubts, like I'd said too much (as you suggested, Theresa). In criticising myself, I was probably way harder on myself than anyone else could be. I ended up feeling raw and uncertain and needing to check that people read what I intended, and not something else.

    This self-doubt happens fairly frequently; I'm quite a master at it! I just don't usually write about it, and I generally try not to give it much breathing space. And I know it's way cooler, to act like I don't have doubts and don't care whether I'm understood, but I've never been cool :)

    Again, thank you! For your kindness and sweet words, and for the connection. It means an awful lot.

  7. I love your posts. Your positive, full of love, writings give me such reaffirming thoughts to help make my journey a more beautiful one. Thank you!

  8. I love how ego can play with our minds like that,it just hates it when we go with our heart and share that with others :)
    There's a great quote that I love, I have no idea who said it "What you think of me, is none of my business."
    Keep writing in the way that you do, keep feeling and sharing in the way that you are. You are inspiring others to do the same!

  9. (((HUGS))) You sound so much like me, I always re-read stuff and worry that it came out wrong or might have upset someone, somehow, with different ideas on parenting etc. But we are all entitled to speak our minds and the fact that you are sharing the loving stuff is wonderful. You'd be surprised how much of the good rubs off on others too.

    As for the controlling part, I prefer to call it guidance. I know some charming little darlings who receive no parental guidance and lets just say I will be sticking to using mine. Only, I just need to work on my "cranky face". For some reason eveytime I show it, my kids burst out laughing. Hmmmm...Im working on that. LOL

    I also love the quote Jenn mentioned. I actually saw that on Majickfaeries blog yesterday and thought how true.

    Hugs and smoochies lovely! mwah xoxoxox

  10. I am doing a bit of catch up on my blog reading so I did not read yesterday's post yet. But I can say with total truthfulness that I have never thought you to be preachy. From your writing I gain a sense of peace, of reveling in a stronger more cohesive relationship with your children. The joy literally leaps from the typed words into my heart and it lifts me up. Keep sharing your journey with us. You inspire me.

  11. It's an important topic, I think.
    Especially in light of the fact that women were treated much like children are today just one hundred (and ten or so) years ago. Thought to need someone to make up their mind for them. Control their money. Tell them what their opinions should be- or are. :) Pretty funny. (If one can keep from getting huffy about it.) :)

    I think that any writing or expressing that's done on the subject is helpful to help people maybe fine-tune their thinking about it?
    Even the saying that we hear all the time today "Children have enough 'friends', they need parents!!" should be reexamined, I think.
    I understand that children need to know that their parents are in a position of power, and can protect them in the world... I'm not arguing that, children should absolutely feel the world is a secure and safe place.
    it's also important for Friendship to be a huuuuge part of that.
    A friend means someone you can come to with the truth no matter what. They'll always have your back. They'll help if you need help, and listen to you wail if that's what needs to be done. They'll offer a different perspective when you're stuck, and offer a bright idea and a smile if that's something that will make a difference.
    They'll be sorry for your plight, and want to fix it or curse the world on your behalf.
    How is none of that not very valuable - imperative - in a parent and child relationship?

    Not to mention that sharing love and joy is always a good idea... certainly much more productive than the alternative!!

    Now. How's that for preachy?? :)


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.