As I celebrate Independence Day (United States) in my country, I think about freedom from the perspective of a parent.
Some of the most famous spiritual guides advocated for a denial of one’s self. When you become a parent you undoubtedly experience life from a place of “no self”.
Stay-in-Bed Mom Blog, and other blogs in my space, champion self-love – the opposite of what these teachers preached. But Buddha, had only one child, and Jesus wasn’t a parent. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t love your children – the way they deserve – unless you love yourself first.
Still, these inspirational guides had it right with regard to finding freedom in your life. According to Buddha and Jesus, we’re already in a state of enlightenment or salvation. We’re free. We need only remember it.
What does freedom look like for a parent?
1. Detach from things.
How do you practice detachment in your household?
- Limit or ban screen time in your house – not just for your kids, but for you too.
- Cut back on the number of gifts you all receive at birthdays and holidays (e.g. Christmastime) or say “no” to gifts.
- Don’t move into a bigger house. Most likely your current house is big enough to suit your family’s needs and wants.
- Don’t redo your kitchen. It’s fine. Really it is.
- Be a one-car family if possible.
- Celebrate big moments (e.g. milestone birthdays and monumental achievements) with experiences everyone can share.
- Invest in trips your family will always treasure.
- Move to new cities for your job (or your partner’s), if your family is open to it.
- Pick up a new hobby. And once you’ve mastered the skills/content, move on to a new hobby.
- Give yourself permission to enjoy some time away from the kids.
- Read as much as you can. Learn about the great, big world.
- Get outside in nature as much as possible.
2. Let go of the illusion of control.
How do you let go of control?
- Not compare your kids or yourselves to others in terms of developmental milestones – early in life – and education and employment (etc.) – later in life.
- Not fret about the if or how much your kids eat. (Gosh, it’s hard though.) You only control the what, where, and when.
- Not count how many times your kids get on the honor roll. Or if they’re in the “best” school (preschool/grade school/high school/college-university). Instead, consider if the school is “best” for your kids.
- Not worry about how “popular” your kids are (or you for that matter). Most of us can only manage 3-5 close friendships. And even having just one best friend is all you need to be happy.
- Not gripe about the number of sports or extracurricular trophies/honors your kids have received.
- Not mourn your kids moving away for college/university, a new job, or a new life.
- Not criticize your kids’ career choices. If they are happy and able to support themselves, then who are you to judge?
- Not complain about the frequency or duration of your kids’ phone calls.
- Not lament the quantity and quality of your kids’ visits.
- Not grumble about your kids’ choices in romantic partners or their future parenting decisions.
A Final Thought – From the Pillow
You’re already free.
So “stay woke” this 4th of July and remember we already have everything we need to be happy – and free – in the here and now.
How do you detach from things in your household?
How do you let go of control in your mom/dad life?