When I found out we were pregnant, something resonated in me: “Do it differently, Amanda.”
As I’ve previously shared, I’d always been terrified I’d end up the neurotic mom from ‘Modern Family.’ Was I going to lose myself? Would I become a high maintenance control freak? Would my life revolve around my children? Would I end up trying to keep up with the Jones’ like our American culture demands? Would financial constraints turn me into a resentful monster?
Part of me also couldn’t shake icky feelings from my days as a server in Los Angeles, waiting on moms who expected everyone’s existence to revolve around their very special children. A-very special children. Or rather, audacious moms and dads, that expected you to be a babysitter, allowing kids to play in the middle of an aisle with an entire backpack of sprawled out toys while you’re serving hot coffee in a tight diner setting. UGH. It can leave a bad taste in your mouth for sure.
But when a friend recently asked what I meant by wanting to do motherhood differently, I was dumbfounded to be at a loss. What the heck did I mean? Where does this idea resonate from? Am I just totally full of shit?! My kid is sure to the color on the walls– I’m not that naive, but how do I want to do it differently?
In the brief moments I have to actually connect with Baby Soul, I let this idea marinate. I asked my friend Stacer (now Aunt Stacer!!!) to send me articles about unconventional parenting and like the pro that she is, she has supplied me with articles and podcasts about living minimally, or selling everything to travel the world. Thus far, I’ve hinted to my sweetie, nothing says good parenting like zip lining through the jungles of Africa and he wasn’t having it. HE NEVER LETS ME DO ANYTHING!!!! *hogs remote to watch 127th hour of HGTV* 😉
Before getting pregnant I watched ‘Captain Fantastic.’ SUCH A GOOD MOVIE!! It’s such an unknown, little independent gem. If I had the Harvard education and insane physique, I would be over the moon to raise my kids off the grid in the mountains. Well, “Power to the people!” minus the plot twists. 😉
Talking with my BF (now Aunt BF!!!) about our shared love of this movie, she suggested I read some queer parenting literature. After scratching my head for a minute, she mentioned it’s Unconventional Parenting 101. DUH. Very true! That’s kind of a brilliant idea.
I also began thinking about parents I did admire. Friends that have traveled to Mexico or Italy with their newborn and haven’t let being parents stop them. Parents that brought their kids to every social party their friends were throwing because having kids wasn’t going to stop them from a social life. Parents that are still making music videos or auditioning despite being moms and dads. Parents where the mom brings home the bacon and dad plays Mr. Mom. Etc, etc, etc…
In a podcast, I remember Elizabeth Gilbert (now Aunt Liz!!!!) sharing a story about her mother going into her room and shutting the door behind her two kids. They knew that for an hour every day, it was mommy’s writing time. Soon, mommy’s writing time became Liz’s writing time and she still recalls the impact that had on her as a young girl. She didn’t view it as selfish or mean, it’s just what mom does and it taught them to play on their own and develop their own creativity. WHAT A GIFT!!!
In my ‘Psychic Teachers’ podcast with Deb Bowen and Samantha Fey (LOVE THIS PODCAST!), Samantha talks about doing the same. Once nap time was over for her girls at a certain age, she introduced ‘alone time.’ The girls would spend an hour a day doing their own thing alone in their room. They write, they listen to music, etc. This allows their mom to spend time mediating or having the alone time she desperately needs as a psychic to cleanse and get her work done. Not to mention the girls have learned to love it as well!
Obviously, I’m still figuring it out (and have a sneaky suspicion I will be for the rest of my life 😉 ) but what I do know is that I don’t want to live in fear. I would love for my kid to backpack through Europe after high school. I would love for Baby Soul to learn to fix cars and ride motorbikes like her dad. Why not a Mother/Baby Soul photography adventure through Brazil? Maybe a culinary adventure through Paris? (Nothing says ‘Make mommy dinner, kid!’ like French cheeses!) Maybe hiking the PCT? Maybe it just means we don’t let our (potential) daughter watch Disney princess movies because there’s more to life than finding a man. I don’t know!
Painting an elephant in Jaipur would be pretty cool to do with Baby Soul? (Ten year visa!) The men who take care of these elephants in India literally live with them in their cement ‘houses.’ The elephants are so well loved, they are practically family members.
But I will love this adventure… 🙂 And I would LOVE to hear what ‘doing it different’ means to you. Any ideas you’ve had or stories you’d like to share, it would be a LOT of fun to brainstorm. Not to mention would help a sista’ out. xoxo