A Safe Space
Is everyone feeling as suffocated by our weird dual society as I am? Like, there are two camps for every issue, and you better figure out which one you fall into, because guess what. There’s no camp I’ve come across that boasts “WE’RE NOT SURE AND WE ARE PROUD TO BE IN LIMBO ON THIS TOPIC!”
Nobody is rioting, “WE HAVEN’T DECIDED WHERE WE LAND ON THIS ISSUE YET!” Nope.
Where is this space? WHERE IS THIS SPACE? Where is the big realistic group of people who feel safe to not only admit uncertainty, but to also go back and change their minds without shame?
What can we do to open the floor up to uncertainty in parenthood, specifically? How can we foster a generation of moms and dads who feel totally safe changing their stances whenever they feel so compelled?
Its gonna have to start at home.
I think we have to first practice this at home with ourselves and with our families. I am so guilty of deciding passion on a topic and not letting myself be challenged by the idea of the other “side”. So very guilty.
My home needs to be my safe space. It needs to be the place where I can safely and confidently be vulnerable. With Matt. With Isla. Mostly with myself. There’s something beautiful about the idea that we should appear to our children “unruffled” and in certain tantrum scenarios, I agree, but I’ve decided to part ways with that philosophy when it begins to look less like that desired confidence we know our kids need in their moments of feeling out of control and more like “mama knows everything.”
What does a safe space look like? When I really think about it for myself, I believe it looks like a conscious effort to be less defensive when Matt challenges or questions my way of thinking. More listening. Less interrupting.
It looks like giving Isla the safe space to test her boundaries without blowing up or matching her emotional state. It looks like talking to her about what is going on, whether she has that level of language or not. Whether she’s screaming while I talk her through a tantrum or not. Whether she understands or not. But consistently, confidently, patiently talking to her so that she can come to expect it as she grows. A safe place to talk.
It looks like analyzing my own way of thinking from time to time. Researching. Consulting my gut. Consulting my mom friends and also their guts. My own mom. Designating time to think about the struggles we are facing with each stage that we are in, and not putting the pressure on myself or Matt that with each area of uncertainty that arises also appears this self imposed fork in the road where the two outcomes are we either make the “right” choice, or we screw up our child. No way am I able to function under such pressure.
Our homes must be homes where it is okay to decide, reevaluate, change our minds, re-decide, and on and on and on it goes.
Maybe once we master this at home with ourselves and our beloveds, we can take it outside of the home. And when more people are comfortable enough to admit that we sometimes just don’t know what we’re doing all the time, and it is okay (maybe even encouraged?) to change your mind, we can all release a nervous giggle together that will snowball into genuine laughter.
And we can relax. Of course we continue to give this parenting thing our best shot. Only maybe with a little less scowling at the “other” side, and a little more grace. A little more assuming that everyone, no matter their camp, is doing the best they can. Can you even imagine operating under that assumption?