But, the other day he came up to me, and patting his chest said, "mama" then yelled "bye-bye" and went for a jog around the house. I love this!
It was such a real reminder to me of the truth that our kids learn from what we do not what we say.
Its not just when my own nasty words come back at me, or when manners start to slip, though those times are poignant. But in these little times, when our kids are acting out what it means to be a mother or father it becomes so obvious: its what we do with our time, and our passion that counts most of all.
My friends and I have had repeated conversations about this, and keep coming back to the same thing: As babies our children need us to be everything for them. But as they grow there is a space created, space for ourselves as women not just as mothers*. But its difficult to know how to best fill this new space. Particularly as homeschooling parents its hard to strike a balance. We can't possibly continue to put all our energy/time into our children (we'd be in their faces all the time). Then what else? How do we let them know they are valued, but also work on ourselves enough to feel fulfilled?
Sometime with this new space in our lives I find myself spending too much time and energy analyzing who my kids are and what they need. I'm trying to remember that the best way to teach them is by example. Its not so important that I figure out who they are (that's their job) but that I figure out who I want to be.
I'm still working on that one. But I'm hoping that by teaching myself, I am teaching them the best way I can.
* I realize this may be an issue for some fathers too--but it seems to be particularly true for stay at home mom's dealing with the cultural dilemma of choosing children over a career.