Those who have seen me in mothering action (or whom have been my au pairs or staff ) will know how much I treasure and deliberately inculcate the qualities of independence, self-sufficiency, initiative, courage, resourcefulness and thinking for oneself in whomever I happen to be leading.
(Funny that, until this above sentence composed itself out of my fingertips, I had never thought about my mothering as leadership before. Duh – it seems so obvious when I write it down – doesn’t it? How many fellow mothers reading these words right now have that same response towards your own leadership? ‘Cos sure as heck when I see you guys doing what you do, it’s so obvious!!! But how blind we all are to ourselves in various ways. >reframing in action<)
I have such strong and defined instincts driving my maternal philosophising, strategising and execution that I am acutely aware of how much some of these behaviours end up rubbing against the grain of what often goes on as the (unthinking/conditioned) behaviour of the many others around me.
But after 11 years of scientific trial-and-error, hypothesis formation, testing, reformulation and (seemingly endless/grinding) iteration, the emergent results of what for lack of a better word I’d call my parenting methodology is starting to show some results that give me a depth and breadth and intensity and purity of satisfaction, delight, pleasure that I have not yet known in any other aspect of my life thus far. (My instincts tell me more will come. )
Whence come these shots in the arm? Here are three from this morning alone, in quick succession within half an hour:
1) The kids are used to packing off downstairs on their own to start breakfasting. So they do, while I get ready; I do this partly for expediency and wholly on purpose, as training for the above qualities.
Ten mins later Seraphine comes back upstairs. “Mama! Are you ready? Please come downstairs, you need to eat something!”
Super-touched with this charming surprise; she’s never done this before. “Who sent you up Seraphine?”
A bit puzzled. “I did!”
“I mean, who gave you the idea to come up to fetch me?”
“I did! I thought you were hungry so I came up to get you.” 💗💗💗>melttttttttt<
2) Waiting for the lift down we can hear the unmistakeable sounds of her cute noisy second brother in the lift coming up.
“And what are *you* doing coming up here, Conrad?”
“I just wanted to come up and see you.” 💗💗💗 (this is the boy whom drives me crazy with his stubbornness and lawyerly always-has-a-reason-for-everything but who comes to me faithfully every single morning for our “daily cuddle”.)
3) I noticed upon leaving breakfast that the two boys (mostly Conrad’s doing; he picked out his brother’s outfit this morning) were deliberately dressed like twins. (Down to the shoes, which C with his trademark doesn’t-miss-a-beat observed were the same colourway. Serendipitously so; B is actually wearing my brand-new trainers which have now become his, while we bought C’s new trekking trainers at Decathlon yesterday without really noticing the colours.)
4) On the table, next to the kaya bottle (which C was absolutely delighted to have here to avail himself of) which is already a quarter eaten from this morning alone, I notice that on their own accord they have “done the Italian thing” and finally started looking after themselves (somewhat ) by putting all their breakfast rubbish into the receptacle provided. Without my presence or my nagging.
Ah. This parenting thing is *working*. As the Germans say, “langsam, aber sicher.”