I should have been a hippie…

A scowl and a demeaning remark from a mom, a smirk from a grandmother and I’ve decided I must have been a hippie in a previous life. I have a child that has tactile issues with certain types of clothing and a strong opinion on the very few items he will wear. So there are times that he will run around outside in bare feet or without a shirt. According to this duo, this is apparently “unhealthy”. It took everything I had not to say something (I have issues with people who prefer to mutter under their breath instead of being confident enough to say it to your face), because I am trying to be a kinder, gentler soul to people I think are idiotic. (So far this “resolution” has lasted almost twenty-four hours!)

As I tweeted out my incredulity, I thought to myself yet again – wow, I sure am lucky to be alive today. I can’t count the number of times I ran around outside in my bare feet – I even went to the pool without shower shoes! (I know, gasp!) On the beach, on the grass, on the sidewalk, I can remember hot-stepping my way to the nearby fields to play tag with my friends.

And I actually let my children make many of their own decisions at the ripe old age of well… as soon as they could communicate. I don’t color co-ordinate their clothing – (gee whiz, all I ever wore were hand-me-downs, at least my children have brand new clothes…). I don’t gel and spray their hair for picture day, nor scrub them from head to foot – I want them to look like the children they are. Again, when I was young, children were children. I didn’t even know you could wax your eyebrows until I hit University!

I love that my children smell like dirt and sunshine at the end of the day and not soap and hairspray. I love that they seem to bloom under the sun and don’t mind dirt under their fingernails. I love that my little one is so comfortable with his body that he will chase the dog (in his birthday suit) as she runs out the front door. (Yes I pull him back in as quick as I can.) I love that they don’t care what they wear, what they have, what they do in order to impress friends. I love that they speak their own mind – no matter how much it might frustrate me when it’s me they are speaking it to. I love that my children can say “I hate you!” when they are really mad or upset with me. Why? Because it means I am a safe haven. They are not afraid to share their strongest emotions because they know I will still love them, I will not leave them and I will not discipline them. Feelings are feelings.

I celebrate every mark and comment my child gets in school – good AND bad – because it means that he can GO to school. It means that he can read, write and is learning. It means that he is developing the opportunity to experience reward for a job well done, disappointment for a lack of effort and pride for the work of improvement. Again, when I was young, my parents didn’t go to teacher interviews (yes, I do), they didn’t ask if my homework was done and they didn’t feel the need for me to report in on my hourly activities at school. I also don’t force my children into activities that they don’t like – even if I have paid for them. I believe that money (yes, very necessary), is not “the be all and end all”. I will not cause unnecessary stress for something that they may love in a year. I don’t believe I should force my children to continue because someone thinks they will become quitters in life. I disagree. I believe I am teaching them that their opinions are valuable.

I sometimes wish I was parenting in the 70’s where my every action, my every word, my every parenting philosophy wasn’t grounds for a custody battle. (Whatever happened to custody hearings being for parents that abandon their children, hurt their children – how did we get to the spot where a child not wanting to wear socks is cause for court battles?)

I wish I could be a hippie – loving nature, people and life. Well, without the funny stuff, never been my thing. But free flowing clothing, singing, hugging – I could do this!

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Comments

  1. I was raised by a real -life hippie and I am totally on board with your parenting style 🙂

  2. I so love what you have shared, and in many ways I can relate. You are such a strong mom to keep doing what is best for your kids. You are doing an amazing job.

  3. Linda L. says:

    What a great future you are preparing your kids for! They will be independent but strongly connected to you; able to think things through and make decisions; understand that they and their thoughts & opinions are valued; confident that, even if things don’t work out, they made the decisions that were right for them in that place and time; able to learn from their experiences, both good and bad; secure in their place in the world and the world’s place in their lives; able to understand that there will be consequences to their actions and know how to work through & deal with them.

    Most important of all, they will always, always know they were loved unconditionally and that, whatever they may do in life, they are worthy of love. What could possibly be wrong with any of that?? You are doing them the incredible favour of honouring their persons and that is always the right thing to do. I feel sorry for the children of those old biddies (p.s. you can be an “old biddy” at any age – it’s a mental condition, not a chronological one. Like “old fogey”!) and others like them.

    My 22 year old granddaughter’s memory of my dad, who died when she was 4, is that he taught her how to jump from bed to bed in the guest room and that he thought we were special. It doesn’t get much better than that! That’s what your kids will carry with them long after you are gone and it’s the best inheritance you can give them – that they are special and they are loved and valued.

    By the way, people talked behind their hands about me too – both my kids and I have survived it. One woman told me many years later that she hated me because I somehow got away with all the things they all wanted to do but were afraid would get them ‘into trouble’. Repression is a horrible master and nobody’s friend – be thankful he isn’t in your life. Live, laugh, love and you’ll do right by your kids.

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