Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Walking the Line

Every time someone asks, I find myself saying "THIS is the best age, seriously." Then I follow it up with a laugh and a "...but I say that at every age." It's true though. 18 months is the best, just as 19 months will be the best, just as 4 years and 3 months is the best. They're all good in their own way, and the older my children get the less sad I am about time passing, about them growing bigger and older. That surprises me, but just the other night I told Hank that although I wholeheartedly hope there are more babies in our future, if we were to just be done here, even though my heart would ache over the fact that we wouldn't ever have another tiny newborn of our own, I feel like we've done it right- at least so far.

So then I started thinking about what I consider to be "doing it right." I thought about it a lot. I certainly don't think we have it all figured out. In fact just the other night after a particularly rough day with Henry, Hank and I spent over an hour asking ourselves "WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG?" and subsequently questioning all of our parenting techniques.

I often think about this line that I walk as a mother. I want so badly to keep Henry's spirit wild and free, but at the same time he needs to understand that there are rules in place for a reason. I want to raise an independent, thinking child who doesn't feel like he needs to be anything but himself, but I also want to raise a polite, respectful, contributing member of society who understands that everything he does has an impact on his environment. So I walk the line. I try to be fair and consistent, firm and kind, loving and open. It's hard, this parenting thing. The past few months have been the most challenging for me, and I realize that at times I can go to yelling much too quickly, so I've been working on that...because lord knows that doesn't help or solve anything. And me yelling? It only teaches my children that that is an appropriate way to react to things, which it obviously isn't.

It's a constant learning process, every single day. Sometimes I feel like I have it all figured out but then I'm blindsided by the simplest things. I'm grateful though, to have these little people who are constantly pushing me to be better, to do better. I look forward to many years down the road and seeing who I am then, after being these boys' mama throughout their lives. I can only imagine.

But doing it right? I think if you stop and question things, and wonder how you can do something differently; when you want to improve constantly and are always asking yourself "what can I do better?" that's the way to go.

So the sun comes up, the sun goes down. We do our best and go to sleep wanting to do better. The days feel so slow while we're in them but I always seem to look back in amazement that an entire month has gone by in a flash. The boys keep growing- Charlie is impossibly a year and a half old and Henry is almost four and half. I think to myself often- this can't be right. They can't already be this old. But it's true, and as the days slide on by I try to reach out and grab bits of them, capture them in photos and video and words. I walk the line, I work hard at being the best mother and partner I can be, I work hard at my job and at being a better friend, daughter, sister. I offer up little prayers to the universe, please please please let the goodness keep coming. And I'm thankful. I'm so thankful sometimes that I cry thinking about all of the things we've built, thankful for the LOVE in our world. So I keep on calling every age and stage the best, because they are. Every one of them. And I look to tomorrow and next week and next month, and hope that each one continues to be the best. I hope that I always see our now as being the most beautiful. Because really, what more could I want?


  1. You really have the best spirit. I'm not a mother, but I always connect so deeply with everything you say because of the way you say it. I just sit here and read and nod my head, and think, "So that's what that's like. How lovely." Henry and Charlie are so lucky to have a mom who cares with the depth that you do. <3

  2. "...when you want to improve constantly and are always asking yourself 'what can I do better?' that's the way to go." Couldn't have said it better. Some days I feel like, Man! I am really rocking this whole Mom thing! And other days I wonder why I ever thought it was a good idea to be in charge of a whole person, of her future! The weight of it is impressive.

  3. A beautiful post Danielle! I think all you can do is your best, and your kids will always respect you for that!

  4. I can only imagine how hard it must be to be a parent at times, there sure are hard times. I'm sure Henry will blossom into a polite young boy with lots of character, he has great parents guiding him after all!


  5. Simply beautiful. My Husband and I are trying for children and I love reading your blog for all of the insight to the up, downs, and joys of parenthood. Your words make me even more excited to start a family.

  6. I like this. Our ultimate goal is to raise a freethinking child who makes carefully thought out decisions. Well it turns out that she is only 2 years old and already defies not only us but other authoritative figures. It's "cute" now, but now we kind of have to take a couple steps back, change our course, and make sure she is being respectful. I find myself constantly skimming through articles to try and figure out how to perfectly raise this child. It's constant. But the ride is so wonderful :)


  7. Oh my goodness thank you for writing this. I have a 2 year old and I always feel like I'm walking on the same eggshells that you are. I don't want to repress his freedom and crazy spirit but I want him to be well behaved and respectful. I was raised in a very militant household (kids in the kitchen= messes, we had very delicate collectibles and prize winning orchids in the house), which I felt in the long run caused me to be very cautious and always concerned if I was behaving right. I felt like it also caused me to be super uptight and not be able to let go. So when I had my son I vowed that I was going to let him be a kid. That changed once he came along. I found myself following in my mother's footsteps. It felt wrong. I'm learning to adopt the phrase, "he is only a kid." I've learned to let go and I realize that he is polite and well behaved but has his moments, like any kid. As for 'doing it right', I've accepted that there is no wrong or right, it's what is in your hearts as a family.

    Thank you so so much for writing this. I feel so alone as a mother sometimes on these things and it is a huge comfort to know that someone I have watched from afar (in your blog) and admired as a fellow mother, feels similar and has similar reactions. ( I too find myself going straight to yelling quickly)

  8. This is the way to do it, 100%. We aren't going to get it right every single moment, but examining the parents we are and how we are shaping our children is the best way to see where we can improve, but also recognize ourselves for what we are doing right. We've been bouncing around on the discipline line, trying to figure out how to allow our son to think for himself and make his own decisions, but also how to know when he needs to listen to us right this second for his own safety. It's a lot to think about with a two-year old, and a lot to implement. This parenting gig, I tell ya..

  9. Love this. "It's a constant learning process, every single day. Sometimes I feel like I have it all figured out but then I'm blindsided by the simplest things." Amen, Amen, Amen!!!

  10. Such true words. We do the same - walk the line - as best we can in each moment (because there are so many moments in parenting) with our boys. It's a balance.

    I just love this post!


  11. Have you done any research into Montessori? The entire philosophy encapsulates what you've just described. I'd be interested to hear what you think!