Parenting Possibilities: The Relief of Yielding to the Other Parent
Life is Like a Rotary
Last month my column post The Co-Parenting Dance was part one of an experiment I decided to embark on with my partner, the love of my life for the last (gulp!) 14 years. To catch you up, my partner and I are both equally involved, strong-minded women and parents which often brings complication along with it’s joys. At the time I wrote my last post I was having a particularly challenging time. All our decisions around parenting were feeling like constant negotiation and I was tiring from the dynamic…
I have realized since that that when I wrote last month’s column I was in overload as summer was coming to an end, the kids had been out of camp for weeks, there was barely any structure and I felt like I was falling behind on work projects. Even though I loved so many moments of the summer, it had become way too unbalanced.
I needed something to change so I decided to take a purposeful and mindful step back and yield to decisions or an approach my partner was leaning towards even if it differed from what I thought was best.
I set my sights on yielding at least 5 times a day. For the most part, I think I did pretty well. I even yielded when my partner allowed our 1st grader to climb a fairly high ladder next to her and help nail in some shingles. As I watched them from afar, I made the decision to trust her choice rather than react with worry. I tried to appreciate that she was teaching him valuable skills in the handy work area and allowing him independence which increases confidence.
I yielded when she allowed our 4th grader to bike to baseball practice by himself for the first time. He was thrilled and I knew in my heart this level of independence would happen some day. Even though I would have waited longer myself, someone had to allow him to leave the nest. It became clear that we cannot protect our boys by sheltering but by teaching and preparing them as best we can.
A few times yielding actually came as a relief. I did not have to make the final decision and I could instead go listen to music or take a walk and let her deal with the situation. Other times it was really difficult.
Once school began and the boys were settled in, I felt an opening, an air I could breathe now that life had some predictable flow to it. I could feel more fully how much I adore my family. My kids are happy, doing well in school, emotionally intelligent, independent, compassionate and so sweet to cuddle with. Even when the difficulties flare up, I feel in my heart and always have that my partner and I were brought together in this world not to just bask in marital bliss but to challenge each other to be our best. To learn and to grow and to share in parenting the amazing children we were blessed with.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shana Hiranandani shares a home with her two boys, her partner of 12 years, a big dog and a small cat in the Pioneer Valley of Western MA. Shana earned a B.A. in Psychology from UMass Amherst and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England College. Shana is a Board Certified Life and Career Coach, offering consultations from her office in Florence, MA. Her monthly column offers parenting perspectives from a Jewish-Indian-American, 2-mommy household.