Mother’s Day and Father’s Day focus attention on the importance of our job as parents. To our children, we are the life raft in which they find security, love, affirmation, and shared history. We educate, coach, and counsel. We serve as confidants and strive to instill a conscience. We represent the nurturing and care which provide children a sturdy foundation on which to build their lives. For all the love and commitment we bring to our families, we also bring our humanity, character flaws and imperfections. How can we be the parents our children deserve?
One of the most important things we can choose as parents is to ensure two things. First, we must work at our relationships with our spouse (or significant Other). Our relationship serves as our children’s template when they begin selecting people to date and ultimately when they choose a life partner. Our children will study the way we treat each other. Their observations will outline what they want and expect from a partner. (It will influence how they choose and treat their friends as well.)
The best parental relationships include equal measures of effort, give-and-take, tolerance and the ability to apologize sincerely.
Taking care of ourselves is the second, essential thing that we must choose as parents. Everything we do, serves as a role model. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year we are always “on stage.” There’s no getting around it. Our kiddoes are always watching. And learning. When we over-give or engage in perfectionism, they notice. When we comment on our looks, belittle ourselves or disparage our abilities, they absorb the message.
Equally true, when we practice good mental hygiene, make time for exercise, eat well and nurture our talents, our kids take note as well. Intentional Parents periodically remind ourselves of this fact. We are the hub of the family wheel. If we break down, the family journey experiences a rough ride. In the long run, it is a greater kindness to our kids to ensure that we take adequate care of ourselves. Making this a priority blesses the entire family.
While observing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day recommit to this AAQ* process which focuses on the unique needs of our families. While adoption profoundly reshapes our children’s lives, it also permanently changes us. Adoption is fundamentally a family experience. Each of us is changed by it. Forever.
In last week's blog we talked about the importance of sharing family fun. Consider these questions to help you get started.
How will you celebrate Mother's and Father's Day as a family?
How will you create a space for your children to share their feelings about/with their birth parents?
In what way will you remember and honor their birth parents?