February 14th – Parenting 101 version 2.0

Like most parents, I thought I had a pretty decent concept of parenting while my kids were ‘kids’. The one area where I really struggled was my tendency to worry about them, much like my Mother worried about my siblings and I, and her Mother worried about her and her siblings. It is a Mother thing that is harder to overcome than most mother things, as I mentioned in a September 2020 blog post.

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2020/09/19/parenting-101/

My ‘little ones’
Mark, Jen & Dan with Grandma
In recenter years

My sons and my daughter are now in their fabulous forties and amazingly I have my maternal worrying somewhat under control.

It is funny how young parents worry about the terrible two’s and the terrifying teen’s. Those were too easy. Toddlers are adorable – regardless of where they are stuffing the marachino cherries and grilled cheese sandwiches. Teens are a hoot – a constant source of amusement and delightful drama.

I won’t deny it. The forties are ugly. (My mother definitely worried as I approached mine!)

I have one son who seems to be dealing fairly well – he keeps busy and has an amazing wife and family. His twenties were seriously trying, but he seems to be handling the forties.

The other son is well into his forties. He has made a lot of changes in his life in the past few years. It remains to be seen how they will go for him.

I manage to forgo the worrying for both of my sons these days, and just send them warm and fuzzy feelings on a regular basis.

I still tend to worry about my daughter (and her family). I know that is not good. Just as Jennifer is responsible for her family, for the decisions she has made and for the consequences of her decisions, I am responsible for my own mental health and well being. I am responsible for creating a happy, peaceful home for myself and my husband. I am responsible for living my best life. I raised all of my kids to the best of my abilities. There comes a time to let go and trust that they have whatever it takes to live their own best lives.

So, there you have it. As a mother, I still worry – but I am gradually getting better and I am getting better about holding myself accountable.

That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day!💞

Parenting 101

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary (1989)

On January 1st, I made a commitment to make PEACE my priority this year. I have made a strong and consistent effort to stay true to my commitment. In many ways, I have made significant progress in becoming less anxious and in making my life more peaceful.

There is one area of my life where I continue to struggle on a regular basis . My problem area is parenting – and grandparenting – and when the time comes (if I do not pull myself together) – it will be great-grandparenting. 👵

The problem (for me) started with my Mother. She taught me, that if you love someone you care about them. If you care about someone you WORRY about them. I am sure that is what her Mother taught her and, God forbid, that is what I taught my children. 🤦

I love my children and I adore their children. I care immensely about them all. So, when my children or grandchildren face any challenge whatsoever, I worry. If they face a serious challenge, I go into a full-blown anxious meltdown.

I know in my mind that I am over reacting. I have faced challenges in my life. I have made bad choices and I have had to deal with the consequences. I have had my heart broken. I have tried and failed. I have struggled with health and finances and grief. I have survived and, more often than not, I have come through each challenge stronger and better for having been through it.

I know my children and grandchildren are smart and capable and resilient and everything else that they need to be to survive every challenge that they will face in life. I want to stop worrying about them and start showing them that I believe in them. Regardless of the situation, I want to be a strong and calm presence in their life.

I have long believed that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quotation has been repeated by many strong men throughout history. It is true and so extremely important! It is the basis of my commitment to making peace my priority this year.

There is nothing more debilitating than fear. Fear makes any challenge – physical, mental, or emotional – all the more difficult to conquer. Fear makes any dream or goal all the more difficult to achieve. I know because I have too often allowed fear to rule me. I do not want it to rule me or my family going forward!

There is no form of fear that is productive or helpful. Worrying about those you love, even your precious children and grandchildren is not productive or helpful. If anything, it undermines their confidence and that is unhelpful and detrimental to their well being! Worse yet, it teaches them to perpetuate this unhealthy form of love when then become parents and grandparents.

Going forward this year, I will continue to make peace my focus – for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. 🕊️