There are so many reasons to travel:
To see family
To explore the natural world
To gain perspective
Travel also opens up my mind to the new, to change, to better myself, to realize, and see that there might be a different way to do things.
A friend of a friend, not a parent herself, taught me how to be a better mom.
Only she doesn’t even know it.
On the quiet shores of Lake Wenatchee in central Washington as I watched Bergen and his buddy dig and create in the sand, anxiety set in. And without thinking…
I yelled from just a couple of feet away, “Get your feet out of the water, Bergen!”
“You’re going to get your feet soaked.”
“Then your feet will get cold and you’ll start to freeze and be uncomfortable”
“Not to mention the fact that you are ruining your shoes.”
“Watch out, the water is coming closer!”
And on and on I lectured from afar. Frustrated, worried, and nervous.
Seconds later, it was like a switch flipped and I regretted my outburst. No, I wasn’t screaming by any means, but yes, I was yelling and barking orders without a whole lot of respect. And you know what? It didn’t feel all that great.
As I stood there bouncing the baby in the ergo watching the two buddies play, I thought about that new friend and her interactions with Bergen on our hike earlier that day. She was gentle, unhurried, and got down at kid level when speaking to the boys.
Of course I know its easier when they’re not your children and when you’re not the one ultimately in charge, but that doesn’t change the important lessons gained. I realized that her approach was so much more effective, healthier, and considerate for all individuals involved.
Loud and demanding has its place (preferably reserved for an emergency), but I’ll get further, and feel better if I’m calm, quiet and matter of fact.
So I changed it up right then and there, and gave the whole thing a try. I crouched down, quickly and plainly told Bergen about the potential shoe hazard in the water, and moved on.
What do you know? It worked, and then that same attitude leaked into the next day where I found myself empathizing, understanding, and listening more.
What a breath of fresh air.
The thing is, it’s not about comparing yourself to others and feeling bad that you don’t measure up. I definitely went there for a few moments in my head thinking this new friend would be a much better caretaker for my children than me, but really that’s not the case. This lesson taught me that parenting IS about being aware. Its about observing, seeing what works, and what doesn’t.
You try things out.
You make a change.
Is it easy? No. Do I always find myself practicing this new found parenting attitude? Unfortunately, not. I’ve planted a seed though, in hopes that I’ll continue to grow and evolve. I’m thankful that travel, and a tiny bit of awareness, has given me that chance.
Why do you travel?
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