Can Parenting Be A Partnership?

Can Parenting Be A Partnership?

I used to think that I had to do it all by myself.  By ‘it’, I mean just about everything.  I used to think that everything was up to me and I never allowed myself to receive that much support.  Crazy, huh?

And this was in every area of my life – relationships, health, finances, business, and yes, even parenting.   Actually, it stood out the most when I became a mom.

I allowed other people to BE there but I didn’t always allow them to contribute.  I hardly ever asked when I really, really needed help.

I remember when I was breastfeeding and my son was about six months old, I would feel terrible when my sister came over and immediately started cleaning my dishes in the sink.  (she was and is notorious for being the most rockin’ supportive sister and fellow mama traveler.)  I always wanted to tell her to stop…that I would take care of the dishes.  Yet, when you really looked at the situation, I was completely overwhelmed with stuff to do and the reality was that those dishes were probably going to be sitting there until somebody else helped with them….at least for that day.

Yet, there was something inside of me that truly believed I didn’t need the help.

Any of this sound familiar?

I thought that I had it all handled.  ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got it,’ those words echoing now in my head like some kind of tribal call gone awry.

I thought that I didn’t want to trouble anyone else and that these were my responsibilities alone to figure out.

‘Don’t worry, I’ve got it,’ soon became, ‘I know I can handle this!’ which then morphed into something like ’Why can’t I handle all of this?’, which quickly turned into , ‘There must be something wrong with me.  Those OTHER moms can do all of this’ and ultimately, ‘Help!!!’

My a-ha moment happened somewhere along those string of thoughts.  I began to wake up.

I opened up to the idea that I could receive as well as give.   It was completely revolutionary and completely what I needed.

It may sound strange but this whole idea of receiving was a completely new way of being for me.  Sure, I had received gifts before for special occasions but just the notion now of receiving support, assistance, guidance, and love unconditionally – without having to give anything back – was, indeed, revolutionary.

I remember attending T. Harv Eker’s The Millionaire Mind workshop years ago and he had us do this exercise where everyone was to walk around the room giving and receiving compliments.  If you were on the receiving end, all you could say was ‘thanks’ and receive the compliment.  Nothing more.

I so remember how that exercise moved me.  For what seemed like the first time in my life, I felt this huge sense of relief and acceptance in just being able to receive.   Receive for the sheer joy of receiving.  And not feeling like I had to give back immediately.

Thus began my journey towards partnership.

As I opened my heart more and more towards this idea of partnership, all of my old ideas of ‘I can do this on my own,’ began to melt away.  I began to receive more help, more love, more of whatever was needed in that moment.

And, you know what?

I really, really love partnership.

And I believe that partnership is what parenting is really all about.

I believe that you as a parent right now need to receive just as much as you need to give.

We need to arrive in partnership with our children.

For when you are living in the spirit of partnership, you are modeling these FIVE core practices:

  1.  Giving and receiving.  It’s just as important for a child to learn to give as to receive and vice versa.
  2. Gratitude for this time together.
  3. Respect for each other’s unique perspective, thoughts and ideas.
  4. Clear communication of each person’s feelings and needs.
  5. Working together to come up with solutions.

Partnership isn’t perfect, just like parenting is never perfect.

Yet, partnership allows the space for you AND your child to thrive.

Approaching parenting as a partnership has allowed me to breathe.  It’s allowed my child to do for himself and contribute to our family.  Allowing him the space within our relationship to have the answers sometimes.   Allowing myself to give him my pause and take a breath before reacting when I’m feeling angry or upset.  Allowing both of us to feel, to mess up, to explore, to be right, to be wrong, to not have all of the answers, to discover and ….

To return to who we truly are and what we’re truly capable of.