Letting go in parenting – Yoga Mama Nadine sheds some light.
I am not sure where you are at in the cycle of pregnancy or parenting but wherever you are I can bet, at some point, there has been some serious letting go! Whether in the pangs of labour or in the dropping off at day care, you at some point had to put your faith in life and let go.
There’s always the little things we have to let go of in our days, like a sleepless night or the milk that your hubbie forgot to bring home or the windmill tantrum in the supermarket – they are definitely worth forgetting about as quickly as possible. But then … every once in a while parenting dishes you up a real big one! And honestly, that’s where I am. I’m realising now, as my son prepares for highschool entry exams, that I cannot protect him or even help him to get the results he needs. AAAhhhh… For me it’s like sitting in a car fishtailing and spinning in circles. I have total loss of control, anxiety attacks, stress projections, bad dreams. I try bribery, make demands, shout and then finally I have a big letting go!
Even with all my support around me and wisdom and many tools and practices, it has been challenging. As a solo parent, I have already been through many stages of ‘letting go’ of Leroy as he went to visit his dad more and more. (And therefore Leroy has always found sleepovers at friends so much easier which was great.) I even just booked him on a flight from London to Toronto unaccompanied. But this month was an absolute doozie for me!
Our job as parents in those first few years, particularly as mums, is to protect and nurture – help our children to develop healthy attachment. We provide food, home, love, love and more love, and then just a little bit more love along the way. As they grow our job becomes more to guide and offer. From a yogic perspective we assist our children in finding their own dharma or path to happiness and fulfillment in life and also minimise the degree of karma they carry too.
But now I am learning for the first time that my beautiful and radiant, self-expressed, healthy and happy son has his own karma in life. I can direct and finance, drive him to coaches and all sorts of lessons he might fancy and take him to great places around the world to inspire him but I cannot make some of his choices or do the work for him.
He just plain refused on Sunday to do any extra maths – he avoided it all day and even fell asleep for three hours on the floor instead of working (the only siesta he has had in years). Till I finally just gave up. Instead of maths we played with the cat, watched Modern Family and he danced around the living room. I didn’t want to do maths either really. I am torn often between these two paradigms in parenting. Knowing when it’s a time for guidance or a time to let go. As he gets older I start to draw upon one of the most beautiful Sanskrit words and teachings, shraddha which means – ‘to have faith with love and reverence’.
Growing up for them and for us is simple but it’s not always easy. On the cusp of becoming a tween, my little boy is really growing into his own person and it’s now one less day that I have left for mothering as he takes one step further away from me phsyically, mentally and emotionally. I can only begin to look back at all the times of nurturing we shared as a little one and remember the simplicity of the co-dependency and know that in his and in my heart we are always connected. Which is what I used to tell him when he went to school crying or missed me at his dad’s. Our bond and attachment will never be tainted and today I can only trust that our past love will be the foundation for his choices in his future. I will still do what I can to assist him in finding his path and passions in life, and certainly invest my time and money and give him my presence. But less and less I can assist with his own karma or choices.
So my reminder for you all, my fellow parents, is: love them while you can! Hold them, sleep with them, cuddle them, spoil them, play with them, take lots of holidays, hold hands on the walk to school, talk about everything they want and just enjoy. Because pretty soon you will become redundant – it will come out of the blue when you least expect it. The shoe will be on the other foot. This time they are leaving you and you will have to remember shraddha – let go with faith, love, reverence and a little bit of courage. Good luck!
Nadine’s work arose from her deep personal gratitude and passion to empower women via the practice and ancient teachings of yoga. She is the only Australian yoga teacher to be included in the award-winning documentary film Yoga Woman for her inspirational contribution to developing a new and dynamic style of prenatal yoga. As well as running yoga retreats worldwide, she also transforms mums and dads lives daily by allowing them to joyously embrace childbirth via her course She Births®: The Ultimate Childbirth Education. Considered a modern woman’s spiritual guide, she also works as a civil celebrant convening weddings and funerals and stays busy raising her young tween son Leroy. See more at: www.shelives.com.au