Mar
22
2012

  If Two People Say It, It Must Be True

I guess I know what my "parenting style" is, since two people have commented on it now. It's "calm". I seem to strike people as exceptionally calm parent. I always thought that other people I saw were just high-strung, not that I was particularly calm, but everything is relative, isn't it?

My neighbor was the first to tell me. She's way more nurturing and maternal than I am. Sometimes I feel a little bad the way she's so gentle with my kids while I'm always just picking them up like oversized luggage and plopping them into their chairs or whatever. It makes me feel like some sort of teen mom who can't master the art of taking care of babies. But she said I might have been more maternal if I'd had my kids younger, she thought my manner was because I had an extra decade plus of dealing solely with adults and it's harder to change your ways in middle age. But she said she envied how calm I always was with them. I told her I definitely credit that to meditation. I haven't meditated lately, but I used to do it daily. It made me a much, much calmer person in general.

The last time J was here, she told me that her mother was struck by how calm I was as a parent. Now, when I heard this, my first instinct was to worry a bit, since this was not something the woman mentioned while she was here. It was something she was discussing with her daughter on the phone after her trip. I asked J if the kids were running wild and I didn't even notice it? That's entirely possible-- I have a very high tolerance for my boys' chaos and tune it out, and am unfortunately often oblivious to how it's affecting others. But she said no, her mother thought the boys were well-behaved, she just was impressed how calmly I dealt with them. I do remember M starting to cry at the table because he was tired and it was his naptime, so I just excused myself to put him to bed and left T in charge. But no, I didn't get flustered that the baby was crying. And T was the one who pointed out after lunch that W was starting to act up (I hadn't noticed, see note above) and I should take him away. Which I was happy to do, I think he'd been on good behavior for nearly two hours by that point, and it was time for him to get outside to run around.

I attribute the calm parenting first and foremost to meditation. I was not always this calm. But the meditation helps to calm down EVERYTHING, not just parenting.

The second reason I think is age. I think the older a parent is, the more likely they'll have already done something more difficult than taking care of a baby. And if it's not so hard, there's no reason to get worked up about it. Even if it does turn out to be the hardest thing they've done, they've still probably done something nearly as difficult. And a 20-something parent might not have any prior experience to contrast against child-rearing, so their perspective is much different.