For many, this new normal has been a struggle and a huge adjustment to their family’s day to day lives. Parents are now homeschooling, working from home and taking on more multi-tasking duties, multiple hours of the day as they practice social distancing and adhere to stay-at-home orders. This new normal for many has always been my normal as a stay-at-home, working mother of 2 and wife. It’s funny because I have had friends and associates say, “I don’t know how you do this!…Homeschooling is hard…I give you your props…” and so forth. Funny thing is, this isn’t how I do things. Homeschooling looks a lot different than what current families around the world are experiencing. Duce attends activities and programs throughout the week to diversify his learning, continue to develop his social skills and for simple adventures. We aren’t sitting in the house all day every day just learning. Because of this, our time is fun, engaging and rewarding for both of us.
So Rona has put a huge monkey wrench in our day to day lives as well, and I too have found myself finding new and innovative ways to entertain Duce, while still providing quality educational time, which for us is “play learning”. I am lucky to be apart of many stay-at-home mom and homeschooling communities that share a huge vault of activities to keep us moving, and most importantly, enjoying this homeschooling journey together. So what has been my biggest challenge during The Rona Pandemic? Drum roll please…..Parenting with GRACE! There are no real breaks (play dates, separate bible study classes and even library time where Duce get’s his special time with his teachers and other classmates.). I am ON all day every day during the week while my husband is working. And my biggest challenge is parenting a toddler who doesn’t nap, while caring for a 6 month old who has recently found his little voice! It’s loud, busy, messy and joy all at the same time.
As of recently I have committed myself to being a more conscious parent and not repeating some of the same parenting behaviors that I grew up with in order for my boys to have a healthy, positive and encouraging upbringing. What this means for me is not raising my voice-unless there is a dangerous situation, apologizing when I am wrong, constantly uplifting the boys with positive affirmations and telling them I love them with my words and actions. I can say that the first of these has been a challenge because Duce is a “THREE-NAGER” who challenges my gangsta daily! 😂 I catch myself yelling at him for not listening or crying when he gets a decision he doesn’t like or doesn’t want to do a task I have requested. All the yelling does is make him more hysterical and unwilling to comply. So nothing gets done, and in the end I feel like crap for exploding on him, and I am sure he feels sad and defeated in the mist of all of his crying. This cannot be our life, and I am not committed to this kind of parenting. So what do I do when I am frustrated with a toddler that won’t follow directions or has a meltdown over eating his dinner or going to the bathroom by himself?
I breathe. That’s it! Before I react, I breathe. Sometimes that’s counting to 10 as I breathe, or as of recently trying a breathing technique of closing left nostril with my left thumb and breathing in through my right nostril. Then closing my right nostril with my left index finger and exhaling out of my left nostril. Thanks Iyanla Vanzant for this!😘 This calms me and gives me time to process the situation and identify why my son is having a meltdown, doing something he shouldn’t be doing or just not following directions. From there I can meet his needs that he is struggling to communitcate with me, and then get my desired need met. James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” While reading James a couple of weeks ago, this was a punch in the gut for me, but also just the conviction I needed in this season of parenting with grace.
As parents, we have to constantly ask ourselves, are we listening to our children’s verbal and non-verbal requests or are we becoming those “Do as I say/what I say” parents, suffocating our children’s voices and independence? We have to remember how powerful the tongue is: it can speak life or death into someone. James 3:6 even says, “The tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” We don’t want to bring fire to our homes and the lives of our children with our tongue. We don’t want to corrupt our children’s minds, hearts and spirit with negativity and anger. We are called to be better. To do better as conduit of Jesus Christ in our roles as parents, providing encouragement, support and guidance as they navigate their little lives.
When we are quick to listen to them, we are teaching them to do the same in situations. Not to always react, but listen to others and give them the opportunity to act out their emotions and decifer through them to communicate appropriately what it is they need. I tell myself “Listening is Loving.” Just another way to show my boys that I love them. And more importantly, I want my parenting to be a reflection of God’s graces and mercies to me, and righteous to meet His desires. I am aiming to please Him, while consciously curating a heathy, loving and empowering relationship with my boys. Using my words to teach, guide, support, encourage and empower, not harm, intimidated and belittle my children.
I’m committed to this conscious way of parenting with grace, so there are two things that I am doing for accountability:
- Journaling – The times when I have come short and times when I self-corrected my response (because those are victories too!)
- Accountability – This is someone that I can share my frustration with, bounce ideas off of on how to react, discipline and self check myself. For me this is my husband and my sister. They have been great for supporting me in being the best mother I can to the boys.
For those mommas out there who don’t have a husband to support and partner with you on this conscious journey of parenting, reach out to a friend or sibling who will commit to being a better parent with you. This journey isn’t easy by any means, because for many of us we are breaking generational parenting patterns of emotional neglect that will take time, coaching, and commitment to changing for the better. After all, isn’t that what we all want? To provide our children with better than what we had growing up? Don’t they deserve our best? Doesn’t God deserve our best since He is the one who gifted and entrusted us with His prize possessions-our children? The answer to all these questions are YES! So let’s all commit to being slow to anger and quick to listen to our babies. They deserve it and most importantly, they need it as they continue to grow and their minds continue to develop rational thinking. I promise you they will love you more for it, and you will love yourself more. You will experience the reward in children who can communicate with you in good and not so good ways and you remain calm, encouraging and empowering, as they figure out the changes and challenges of life in this pandemic and their ever evolving childhood and adolescence. Parent with Grace💜💫
Want to stay connected & up to date with Her-Shey-Mommy Chronicles? Don’t forget to follow and subscribe at the bottom!👇🏾😘
~Soli deo Gloria 💜
Copyright © 2020 by Da’Quisha Whitaker
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the writer.