Stepping Up for My Child

School always came easily to me. I was the one my classmates turned to if they didn’t understand what the teacher had explained. I was an ‘A’ student. I took university courses my senior year of high school and graduated university in three years.

Mama bear with cubsSo having one of my children really struggle with schoolwork is not easy for me. Not so much because I think it should be easy for him, as I because I just can’t relate to him that way. I don’t have that kind of experience to personally draw from.

There is a history of dyslexia in my family. My dad is quite dyslexic, and my sister less so. However, to get any sort of testing done that will get him the extra help he needs is not easy. There are lots of children and few resources, especially since he is not behaviorally challenged (or challenging). He’s a well-behaved, well-spoken child who has problems expressing himself through writing, and some challenges with reading.

For me, this means I have to become an advocate for my child, also not a role I am used to. I have to be vigilant and persistent, and I have to be involved. As a woman who values my independence and the independence of my children, this is a big challenge for me.

I’m used to doing my own thing, and allowing my children to do theirs. I’ve been a bit of a hands off kind of mom. I don’t ignore my children. I also don’t hover over their every move. So now that I have to sit with and supervise this one to do his homework, I’m coming up against some resistance in myself.

I have my own projects I want to work on, and I can’t do that when I am helping him spell words, or making sure he is reading them correctly.

Yet I want him to be able to succeed in life. And in our society, that means being able to read and write. If he can crack the code now, the rest of his life will be so much easier. If I don’t put the time in with him now, he will likely only fall farther and farther behind.

So I am faced with a recurring challenge in my life – taking responsibility for my choices versus doing what I want to do. How can I mesh my desires with my responsibility?

I chose to have children. I chose that responsibility. And there are things I want to do that don’t necessarily involve my children.

The time they are young and dependent on me is really such a short time. And the other things I want to do will still be there. I do myself a favor by nurturing and guiding them now so that they can be truly independent as they grow. Time to bring on my mama bear!



Taking Responsibility for EVERYTHING

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a lot of people in my life blaming other people or conditions for their current situation in life.  As I noticed that they were not taking responsibililty for their actions and circumstances, I began to wonder where in my life am I not taking responsibility for my actions?  Because if I am noticing it in others, they are just being the mirror reflecting me back to me.

Personal responsibility is one of those life lessons that seems to come up regularly for me. I began observing myself, my actions, my words and my thoughts, more closely.  I noticed that I would choose to sleep a bit later rather than get up and do yoga, saying I was too tired, but not taking responsibility for staying up late the night before. I made excuses about not having enough time to complete a project, but didn’t take responsibility for allowing my children to continue playing on my computer when I had work to do.

I made a commitment to myself to start taking responsibility for EVERYTHING in my life. It’s a pretty big commitment! I feel really good about it…most of the time anyway.  One morning challenged me on my commitment very directly.  I wanted to sleep in, and decided that I needed to help get the boys up and ready for school.  So I got up, and got the boys up, spending a long slow time snuggling with them in my big rocking chair.  I was making their lunches when my husband came out of his office and said, “I have a conference call at 8:30 this morning.  I can’t drive the boys to school.  I guess you didn’t hear me when I told you last night when I came to bed.”

No, I hadn’t consciously heard him.  And I only had twenty minutes to get the boys fed and ready to go out the door, and get myself dressed as well.  I went into a bit of an internal tantrum.  This meant that I wouldn’t get my regular journal and meditation time.  And I would hve to shower after I got back from the school run.  Why hadn’t he told me again earlier, like when I first got up, or when the alarm went off? I got caught up in my story of how horrible this was, and how little time I had.

To be honest, it took me quite a while to get myself out of my funk.  I could observe myself in it, and I knew it didn’t feel good.  I wanted to blame someone else, because surely it wasn’t my fault because I didn’t know.  And I remembered my commitment to take responsibility.  So I had to take responsibility for spending the extra 15 minutes in bed, and for not getting in the shower right away when I first woke up. And then I forgave myself for choosing as I had.

Taking responsibility is not always easy.  It can be hard to admit that I made a mistake. Yet it can also be extremely liberating.  My happiness does not depend on anyone else’s actions.  I can’t control them anyway, but I can control how I react.

I’m still working on this.  For example, I am still struggling with taking responsibility for the chaos of our current bedtime routine.  And just yesterday morning I realized that while I may have no control over my son’s actions, I do have some control over the environment, and complete control over my reactions.  I’ll keep you posted on how that is going.

Where are you taking responsibility in your life?  Or not?  Leave a comment below, and let’s see if we can shift our perspectives together!