For me, one of the biggest steps into conscious parenting was acceptance. Acceptance that my to-be vegetarian, creative, Waldorf-style baby was, in reality, a complete carnivore with an engineering mind and penchant for technology. The acceptance was found in the fact that his uber-Type A personality was how he came into this world, with a wildly curious mind that raced through conversations, books, and general learning at epic speeds. His insatiable appetite for information was exhausting and yet immensely admirable. And then along came his brother with multiple disabilities and a personality that could light up an entire room. His challenges were not to be overcome, but only served to shine his own light more clearly.
I learned quickly that my role as a parent was not to mold my children, but instead to allow them to bloom into the beings that they already were. Their tastes and preferences, their personalities and quirks, were all their own. And whether I embraced them or not, it was my role to cultivate and nurture, feed and protect, as a gardener to a garden. Doing so successfully required both acceptance and letting go. Letting go of any thoughts, visions, and expectations that I had for my children and embracing the present moment, delighting in where it could lead.
The greatest conflicts I have encountered in my own parenting journey have always been about acceptance at their core. My expectations run up against walls of reality. No, bathtime should not be a mess that I spend the rest of the evening cleaning up. Mealtimes should be calm and easily received. Tantrums should be easily resolved. Expectation versus acceptance. Where what is just is, the conflict dissipates. There is acceptance. And then there is growth. Certainly there is resistance in parenting where danger is involved, but acceptance allows us growth by freeing us from the need to control.
Therein lies the start of a beautiful journey in conscious parenting. We accept, we embrace, and then we grow. Together, with our children, we bloom as parents alongside them on the same journey.
Contributed by Nancy Massotto, Founder and Director of the Holistic Moms Network, and mother to two amazing boys.