How We Parent When No One is Looking.

how we parent when no one is looking

….How we parent when no one is looking can be celebratory. Sinful. Freeing. Brilliant. Beautiful. Insightful. Lonely. Fulfilling. Confusing. And those are the filters I want to see.

I want to parent like no one is looking. I want to skip a shower, and put mismatched socks on my son because I would rather be on time to hug our friends at library storytime than sport matching clothing with name brand labels. I want to wear the same outfit I wore the day before, even if I am around the same people. Those are my favorite jeans. Let me be me….

(Want to read the rest of the post? I am sharing over at Knoxville Moms Blog today. Click (here) to finish it and say hello!)

You ARE Good at Something.

kids painting pumpkins 3

{The following post is from the June 26th edition of the LaFollette Press, in my lifestyles column, Letters from the Nest.}

It was a rare moment—we were sitting at the kitchen table, just he and I, on a sunny Tuesday afternoon with a fresh palette of paints on a paper plate and a stark white sheet of blank paper. He had his supplies and his canvas, ready to create. The other two were taking a much needed afternoon snooze, and his weak blue eyes, recovering from the storm of a summer virus, began to scan the rainbow of colors he had chosen. Vibrant blobs of lavender, rustic orange, bubble gum pink and a shade of green just darker than the grass after a rainstorm readied themselves to create a masterpiece.

Taking cotton swaps and inspiration, he began swirling shades of purple, pink and orange on the page, making dots like raindrops on one side and drastic lines on the other with such intent that it would have given Picasso a run for his money. I sat, keeping quiet, for you never trouble an artist when he is within his element. As I watched him carefully curate each piece of art and declare dedication to each work (this one is for you, Mommy!) I finally broke the silence and began communing as he continued to paint:

“You love art, don’t you?” I asked. “Yep”, he said, his eyes never leaving the page. A child usually full of words and then some, he was completely absorbed in that very moment in what was in front of him. “You are good at it!” I exclaimed, in attempts to encourage his creativity.

He smiled, looking up from his paper for the first time since he climbed on that kitchen chair and sighed, “I know. I love it. I am an artist!”

kids painting pumpkins

The honesty that comes with childhood always frightens me a tad. An adult openly stating, aloud to anyone listening, that he or she is “good” at something, would be taken as conceited or ostentatious. But children have this unique ability to say exactly how they feel without judgment. Well, children and the elderly. Children as they are innocent and the elderly as they have earned it.

But what is so wrong with saying we are good at something? Maybe we sold our dreams years ago for that job we needed right then. Or we bypassed our talent for the practical. It is never too late to pursue the good in you. There is never an age when dreams and talent just give out and we are empty. Chances are, if you really sit and think for a moment, many of the things you loved and were good at when you were a child are the same things you enjoy today. How you allow them to manifest themselves in adult form can be beautiful or tragic, but that decision rests upon you.

Saying we are good at something is not saying we are the best. The most talented. The most worthy of praise. My four year old son recognizes his talent in a craft as “good” based on his passion, not outright ability.

He loves art. Therefore he is good at it. And he is an artist.

What are you good at? Do you love to create, bake, build, plant, tend, write, hunt?

Say it. Out loud. Be brave today.

You are good at something. Now go do it. I’ll be cleaning up dried paint spills off of my kitchen floor. Being good at something doesn’t come without a few messes now and then.

Or at least that is what the artist in my home tells me.

kids painting pumpkins 2