We don't raise boys until they are men.

There is something I have noticed when my third child is on the play ground that has lead way to a deeper theory.

On days where Eponine, who is 15 months is dressed in more boyish attire, as society categorizes things, people and children are more hands off, they leave her alone completely, she is free to explore and even climb up the slide, scandalous.

But when she is seen as female, oh my gosh, she can't go anywhere without another kid holding her hand, helping her up the stairs, parents asking "Whos baby is this?!" when she is exploring, the care for her "delicacy" is increased 100 fold.

And aside from the polar opposition and lack of balance I these social norms. It hit me. We don't raise boys. We enter them in battle dome and encourage assertion, aggression. We don't lay forth the intricacies of emotion. We don't bring attention to the subtle nuances of the behavior of others. We don't raise boys. We leave them alone and pretend they have it handled. We even have a saying for it, most often with shrugged shoulders and hands in the air. "Boys will be boys" because we don't hold them accountable we don't teach them.

And so they become angry and scared and feel like they need to have it all together with little guidance. They grow to believe they are strong, that they must prove themselves, that they have power over other people, femme people. And this is rooted in such toxicity and sexism, from birth.

Until.

The magical number, 18. Okay. You know all there is to know, my son, go forth and find a mate and this is where shit gets real because this is where they gain their first parent.

The girlfriend. The wife. Has been conditioned to raise the man. To change him.

To carry the years of trauma and unpack that bag for him while packing his lunch the night before.

We are expected to raise our partners. Because they have never once been challenged. They have never once been handed a key to the inner workings of who they are. So they are angry. Unhinged. Often abusive. But girls have been groomed for this. To take this on and try and parent these grown men.

Because they have remained untouched and monitored by the whole of society all their lives.

We see this play out on TV, in our own lives, I can think of at least 10 men I was made to parent in my adulthood. Because we don't parent boys. We leave them be until we are their wives and partners and try to undo all of this damage.

This has to stop.

This is a complex issue, but I believe it is so woven into the fabric of society and one of the main factors of toxic masculinity. You can see how broken a person would be when they are left alone so long. We are training them to abuse themselves and the world around them.

Continuing this cycle.

We must stop grooming our girls to raise our men.

To accept abuse as love.

The path the sovereignty, to unconditional love is long when you are buried under so much conditioning. This is why I do what I do, to guide us all into ourselves so we can be better from the start.

 

Raise children the same way, with compassion, emotion, respect for who they already are. The seed contains the entire tree and we must do our part to guide them.

 

perceived problems

I wanted to share with you something that happened between Escher (4) and Ezekiel (6) just now.

Escher had been looking for the tablets but he's Greg so couldn't find it (truth laugh) Ezekiel found it sometime later, causing a fight over the tablet. *PUSH PULL PUSH PULL*
Me: heyyyy, what's going on here? *I grab the tablet*

Escher and Ezekiel at once:
Z: I found it!
Escher: I was looking for it

Me: yo, Escher was looking for it all morning. *hands tablet to Escher*

Ezekiel: *cries*

"HE PROMISED I COULD WATCH A SHOW. HE PROMISED AND HE BROKE A PROMISE!!!"

Me: come here. *holds* there are no problems. So let's find a solution. What is your perceived problem?

Ezekiel: "escher didn't keep a promise"

Me: is it that escher didn't keep a promise orrrr that you don't get to watch a show? Get to the bottom, not the symptom.

Z: *crying* I wanna watch a showwwww

Me: okay, take a breath. Breathe. The things you say matter, there are no problems, only problematic thoughts about an issue. Especially in this house. Only solutions. I care about the things that are happening in your life, I care about the things you say and what you are going through. Breathe and release escher from this "problem" you don't need to drag him into your process. You putting it on him distracts you from making your own solutions. Bye Escher! Okay, now you are free to address the actual issue. You wanna watch a show. So. What can you do to make that a reality?

Z: *points to big tv*

Me: yes! Great! That's a solution! Now what?

Z: *a little exasperated* I dunno, ugh!

Me: you ask me that's it!

Z: smiles. *Wipes hair out of tear stained face* oh, haha. Yeah! "Can I watch a show, mom?"

Me: if course you can!

Z: *giggles. Hugs.* I love you mom.

This plays out in so many ways in everyone's lives over and over and over.

let's get to solution mindset and wade past all the noise of symptoms...

Get down to the perceived problem. Pointing to a sibling is usually only a symptom of the real perceived issue. We must become masters of emotion. Which means we have to work through our own and all the symptoms to our own bigger stuff.

My Children Do Not Empty Me

I create success by including my children into my self care, resisting a "go to bed, get away from me so I can self care!!!" approach. Because of this, I can maintain, I can keep my cool, I can breathe while they are around me. I meditate or chant or hum affirmations at the park, in the shower, during dance class. I fill myself while they are having fun. I must. If I do not, I associate my children with the idea that THEY empty me. They do not empty me, the way I parent empties or fills me. The expectations I carry, the insecurities, that is what depletes me. Not my children. They only shed light to where I am lacking. They say with their being "Hey, mama, we want to remind you of your own limitless potential." I self parent. I hug my inner child when she is feeling reactionary. I sing to her and tell her she is good. I fill myself because in looking to anyone or anything outside of myself for that, I will be setting myself up for failure, I will be setting that relationship up for failure and resentment.

It is up to me to connect with myself, before I can even know how to connect with my kids.

Include your kids in your self care. Hold your hand over your heart and know that you are love, deep breathe with them at the grocery store, share with them your coping mechanisms so they see it as normal, they remember the feeling it gave you, of calmness, of laughter, the ability to be present and they can carry that on into their own lives forever.

Recentering. Healing wounds through parenting and travel.

I’ve been on this huge journey this summer in terms of ways I can be better with my kids, I got into this uncomfortable “normal” a few months ago where I was in a mindset that my 4 and 5 year old were just annoying me. Not fair to them, not fair to me. So we went on a trip together and I got off social media and I just devoted all my time to being grateful for them, thanking them and being present. It was just the four of us for 2 months and it was magic, being able to be mindful in shifting my perspective. We got back and the kids did a couple really shitty, expensive fucking up of things and while I didn’t yell, I said some really mean things. Because, and this is important, you can be mean without yelling or hitting (I’m calling you out “gentle parenting”) and you can be firm in order to be heard a little loudly, with respect. (which never includes hitting a person, just to be clear, violence has no place in parenting, even if you call it swatting, etc.)

Finding a balance between “Hey, things cost money” and financial shaming; I never want them to feel like they don’t deserve nice things or that things are more important than how I treat them. So I had to put myself in check again in a major way and seek support within and without of myself because if I am ever not being the parent I want to be, that is on me. I decide how I react and I have done far too much emotional work to keep reacting from this old way of thinking, these old patterns, particularly this time: that money is scarce or on a pedestal and I don’t deserve it and I should feel guilty when I spend it like my mom did. I deserve things. My kids deserve things. We can save for what we want, we can make mistakes. They are kids who do shitty things in learning how to person and it’s my job to grow with these instances instead of project my insecurities and fears on them. If there is anything I am unhappy with in my parenting, I do not sulk, I do not lay around in guilt. I get better, I seek more tools, I ask for help. That is my responsibility.

We work really well together, because I sit with them and apologize, I ask for their input, how can I help you?! The other day. Escher punched Ezekiel, so I pulled Escher away from Z and that hurt Escher’s feelings. Ezekiel felt confident enough to say, even through tears of being hurt “Mom, you didn’t have to do that. You hurt his feelings. Just talk to him next time, okay, just talk to him.” And I said “Thank you. I will, next time I will, that was a really insightful thing to say, I appreciate your perspective.” They help me help them, they are comfortable opposing me and bringing up new ways and I make myself be open to it without labeling it back talk, nobody grows that way. The child shrinks into themselves, losing their voice and the parent continues reacting out of childhood trauma. Don’t stifle your own growth and that of your children.

We all chose each other. When the kids fight, I remind them. Sometimes Z says “I dunno why I chose Escher” When feeling particularly mad and I just frankly say, “Welp, you did, so I guess we will find out in this lifetime. Seems to me like he is already teaching you some important lessons about patience, what a gift.”

I love travelling with my children, through miles of road and miles of life. I love the dynamic we have created. People say “You are so lucky, your kids are so good.” And yes, they are. All kids are inherently good. But this took work, emotional toil, for me to be able to create a platform for this to play out. For their respect and goodness and loveliness not to be stifled by my ego.

Jealousy and showing your children the limitlessness of love

In preparation for birth, Escher and I had short conversations about love, it doesn’t take much time, but makes all the difference.

The way we would prepare is to talk about love. About how limitless and endless it is. I would say “Isn’t it beautiful that you can love a lot things at the same exact time and make time for all of them? I love you and Ezekiel and Dada and Auntie and Nala and Ni Hao (the dogs) all at the same time. It’s so fantastic that love is so big and limitless! What are some things you love?” And he would think a minute and respond with all the things he could love at the same time. This is such an important concept to grasp in order to exist. To know that others are not our competition. But they add to our lives no matter in what capacity we know them. Love is in everything, it is not special or sparse. It is everywhere, we do not have to fight or compete for it. We are love. When this clicks, the world opens. We open to the possibilities of being loved for who we were when we put our guard down and just live, feel the love. We don’t have to punch our siblings into submission and defeat them for love. We don’t don’t even have to shame our partners for acknowledging the beauty in another person (but that’s a blog for another day) We can focus on ourselves, we can be empowered, we can truly live in love and harmony with those around us, even a new baby. Because your self worth is never questioned when you know that you are not only loved,  but that you ARE love, surrounded by it’s limitless at all times.