Just a quick post of my latest illustration. I always cherish the little treasures that come our way and relaxing on the bed and playing with my little man is one of them. I just had to capture it ❤
Today I want to share with you, my own parenting values. Values are so important as it shapes our parenting styles and techniques and it helps us keep us in check and understand ourselves better; when you know what you value, you are able to keep yourself from losing your way. Over time I’m sure this list will develop but for now, these are the values that I want to share with you guys. FYI, it is a long post so feel free to skim along the headings 😉
My home is a creative home, my partner and I are big creatives and we really make an effort to give our little one time and space to paint, draw, play dress-ups, build forts and play in make-believe worlds. Encouraging a child’s creative mind unleashes a rainbow of ideas, colours, shapes, critical thinking, discovering and a whole lot of “Eureka!” moments.
Embracing the funny side of life and using humour to connect with my little one is big. My partner is incredibly funny, witty and a wizard at talking in the most hilarious voices and he uses a lot of that to talk to my son to teach him about things or to make him laugh if he hurt himself. For me, I love taking on odd characters when my son comes up to talk to me about something in a funny voice. It just lifts our household up and there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of our child’s laughter, am I right?
My partner and I came from similar and yet different upbringings. We were both raised by single mums but I was nurtured to learn and stay in school whereas my partner left school early and learned the hard way of having to teach himself a lot of basic knowledge. Even though I was more studious, I had to always work my butt off to just pass in some classes. We both are grateful for what we have learned over the years and don’t take that for granted. We want our little one to value the process of learning (however it may shape to be) and growing. It’s not about the end result of that A+ or A++… if he continues to learn and grow, then he is succeeding.
I always tell my son, to be honest, to always say the truth even if it’s a ‘sad truth’ or an ‘i-was-wrong-truth’. In our home, we all will get it wrong at times, we all will have our sad truths to say have wrong-doings to admit, and that’s OK. I would rather my son be open and honest with me instead of hiding and lie for fear of being faced with aggression and judgment. Sometimes we may not like the things our family members say or do, but we will always love them, and that is what I hold on to when there is a sad truth to face.
Family time or what my son calls ‘home days’ is super important for me and my family. It helps my partner and I stay in perspective and brings us back down to what our son craves. He just wants our love and our attention (easier said than done at times I know). The other night I was exhausted, I laid down on my bed while my partner was on the bed working on his laptop and my son comes up lies down between us and told my partner to put his laptop down and cuddle. He said, “you always disappoint me when you work”. That was heart-breaking to hear. It was only a few words but man it was heavy. He is too little to understand that we need to work and can’t always play and cuddle but he isn’t too little to know that family connection and affection matters so much. That right there was such a special moment for both of us and a big reminder of our value of family connection
When I say ‘me’ time, I mean individual time. I need my ‘Mumma time’ and my partner needs his time and my son even needs his own down time. Having a bit of that in the routine can calm down emotions, centre ourselves, regroup and re-energize. It’s important for my son to learn to be content in his own company and to have that time. It isn’t selfish or mean, it’s important for a family unit to have their independence; a lot can be learned in being present in the company of your own mind.
Commitment is such a heavy word and one that I have always hold close to my heart. With my parenting, I believe its important for my son to learn how to commit to something and see it through, to stick to your word and learn how to jump the hurdles instead of walking away when the path gets rough. The joy of coming out the other side, whether it’s learning a new skill like swimming or riding your bike is not measurable. it’s too wonderful for words.
Listening is a big one! Genuinely listening to each other helps us value each other more and understand each other so our family grows stronger healthier and happier. We need to listen to understand and/or empathize, not just to reply.
None of us are saints, we get it wrong sometimes, we all hurt each other sometimes. It’s important to teach my little one that saying ‘sorry’ and owning his mistakes shows strength and courage. As a mum, partner, artist and individual, I am still learning and sometimes I do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing and by saying ‘mummy is sorry’ and asking to be forgiven, shows my little one that we are all on the same team playing this life game and that Mummy’s don’t get the get-out-of-jail-free card.
I don’t discipline to punish. I value discipline as a way to teach, learn and grow. It doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in consequences. I most certainly do. I just believe that there needs to be something to learn from it, otherwise, there is no growth, only pain, anger, confusion, and resentment.
I have always had my faith in God and I want to share that with my son. I want to teach him that he can have his own unique relationship with God, if he wishes, and that he never is alone. My partner is an atheist so this has made for some heated discussions but at the end of the day, if there is love, respect, and acceptance of each other, then there is room for diversity, for faith and for knowledge.
Accepting everyone’s imperfections, differences, pet peeves and ways of doing things helps keep a home healthy, happy and strong. I want to teach my son that there are some things we can change and control and some things we can’t and the sooner we can accept that, the closer we are to having peace of mind.
From every birthday, Mother’s Day. Father’s Day, to my son learning to count to 50 and to spell his name, I love to celebrate. Whether it’s a simple hooray and a cuddle or a party, it’s so important to me that I teach my son to acknowledge achievements and milestones, to honour it and feel proud.
Learning gratitude starts in the home. Being grateful for the food in our bellies, for the person who cooked it and for the person who shopped for it. We may not have a lot but we have a roof over our heads, my son is always fed and has what he needs. We may not be ‘rich’ in the conventional term of the word, but we are very rich in spirit and in our family connection and that is something to be grateful for.
I believe that a positive way of teaching my child the importance of responsibility comes down to my own mindset about it. If I am complaining about what I must do, what’s expected of me and getting angry about it all, my son will be learning to connect responsibility to something negative, and it will make it hard for me to teach him about it. Giving my son little responsibilities teaches him independence and helps his development. At the moment, my son always wants to help with the cooking so I get him to look after little things that I know is safe and that he can do. I also I get him to be responsible for putting away his toys at pack up time when I’m cleaning (sometimes this is a challenge!)
My family needs to trust each other, I need to be able to trust my partner and vica versa and my son needs to be able to trust us. When there is trust, we can be more honest, open and show our emotions and scars. In our home, it’s important that we feel safe to be our authentic selves without fear of judgment or ridicule and to trust that we all have each other’s backs.
Children need routine, I need routine (especially as I am a mum with anxiety) but it’s also healthy to keep things flexible and splash some spontaneity in our weeks to keep us on our toes. Routine helps the house run more smoothly and keeps my headspace in check as well as my sons as he knows what to expect but I also want him to learn that it’s ok to wing it from time to time 😉
Sorry for the long post, I hope you guys enjoyed reading it or just skimming the headings 😊 Feel free to leave a comment and share your own values as a parent.
Until next time, I hope your days are magical and your nights are dreamy
Ajoy Art Living