I’ve already written about this being my year of transition with respect to my vision board, but I have tried to also be mindful about what kinds of things I want to pursue in my parenting. Here’s a quickie list of my goals when it comes to parenting.
I will prioritize my core needs.
I realize that when I feel my worst, when I’m parenting my worst, when our relationship is the most rocky, I have not made sure my core needs have been met. Many times over the last few years, I failed to put my oxygen mask on first. If I can’t breathe, WE can’t breathe. And it’s not just about self-care or being selfish. It’s really about making sure that I have space in my life for me. Hope can’t take up all the air either.
I also want to model for Hope that living her life authentically, I mean *really* living her life fully and authentically should be a personal pursuit. So yeah, I’m trying to make me a priority this year.
I will affirm my daughter.
A couple of years ago, I papered Hope’s bedroom door with affirmation memes. Every time she went in her room, I wanted her to see some positive messaging. It stayed up for more than a year. She groaned when I first started doing it, but it was kind of emotional when we took it down to repaint her door.
Now, with Hope away at school, I text her affirmations a few times a week. Much like the door, she doesn’t always acknowledge them or she sends me an eyeroll emoji. Sometimes I luck out and she sends me a quick “TY” or a smiley. Sounds hokey, but I know that sending her affirmations resonates. When she first moved in I did a note every single morning that highlighted my love for her, what day it was, a goal for the day and an affirmation. Five years later, she has every single one of those notes. She keeps them in special folder. I know my girl likes a good affirmation.
I will care less.
I will really, really, really, really, really try to care less. I struggle with this; I always have, probably always will. My worries about Hope’s academic ability and overall ability to launch is rooted in some tough stuff. I know that there are aspects that have me thinking about what my expectations would’ve been with a biological child—totally unfair to Hope—but real nonetheless. But as I’ve written before, more of my concerns are rooted in my fears around systemic racism and the inequities that go with it.
Education has been key to my own ability to navigate and be successful as both Black and female. Academic performance opened doors; it’s the pathway I know and believe in because it works for me. More than anything I want to give my daughter every opportunity to excel and to acquire certain kinds of social privilege that will protect her. The reality is that at this time, academics isn’t Hope’s thing, and that’s for lots of reasons, including ability, interest, maturity, competing priorities (emotional survival). This has been hard for me these last years. It never occurred to me that Hope would struggle academically, and that was just a freakish assumption I made.
I do know that in emphasizing it so much, yes, Hope got the message, but she also struggled and never measured up to the goal I set in isolation of her. I know how harmful this has been. I cared too much about some of the wrong things; I will still care, but I will care less so that I can show her my increased care for her to just do what she is capable of at any given point. I’ll try to meet her where she is and not where I think she should be.
I will still push.
Hope is immature and there are definitely times when it’s clear she just wants to be babied. I’m ok with some of that, but I do hope to strategically step back in some areas to encourage her to chart her own path. I want her to feel my support, but I want her to be more willing and comfortable to try her sea legs. I think this will help build her confidence. I think it will help build my confidence in her as well.
And that’s it. I think those are BHAGs—Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals—and will keep me busy this year. It’s enough. Hopefully I’ll continue to be enough for Hope too.
What are your parenting goals for 2019?
January 26th, 2019 at 9:45 am
Again, great post. My biggest parenting goal is to be attempt to be more present in my kids’ lives as I am also trying to figure out how to focus more on my blog.
I can completely relate to your thoughts about not putting that oxygen mask on first. I have been really terrible about this, and I think as a society, women are expected to do this automatically without a second thought, especially moms. So here’s to self care in order to be the best women and best parents we can be!
On Sat, Jan 26, 2019 at 7:01 AM AdoptiveBlackMom wrote:
> AdoptiveBlackMom posted: “I’ve already written about this being my year of > transition with respect to my vision board, but I have tried to also be > mindful about what kinds of things I want to pursue in my parenting. Here’s > a quickie list of my goals when it comes to parenting. I ” >
January 26th, 2019 at 11:51 am
Hey hey! *FYI I edited my ‘real’ name out of your comment.*
Yes, I do think there’s a lot of pressure to get the kids together at our own expense. Eventually we just wear down, and that’s no good for anyone or any part of our lives! It’s basic Maslow!
So let’s keep each other honest and check in and whether we’ve got our masks on!
January 26th, 2019 at 3:49 pm
Great Post and Great Parenting Goals 🙂 Happy Saturday and Happy Blogging !!
January 27th, 2019 at 9:08 am
Your parenting goals are beautiful and on point. (They’re centered around the well-being of your family and that’s what I strive to do in my own household as well). I’m so encouraged to see black mommas loving the most precious job they could ever be given…that of a Mom. It’s a gift and a privilege; and I can tell that you love your job. Keep up the excellent work!
January 28th, 2019 at 11:43 am
I so relate to your struggles and fears about academics. This was a big one for me with my older daughter, who struggled so hard that I wasn’t sure she would be able to graduate high school. Like, we tried for 2 years to memorize the times tables before I gave up and realized she really just couldn’t. the degree to which she did not get it and could not do the work, by the time she was a high school senior, terrified me for how she was ever going to function in the world.
I just want you to know that now, she is 23, and some of those circuits have finally matured. she is succeeding (making As!!!!) in vocational community college classes and I’m seeing abilities and skills unfold that just weren’t there a few years ago. If you put her in some of those high school classes now, with those extra few years of growing and maturing, she would be able to do them.
It’s always seemed to me that kids who grew up a large part of their lives in foster care are younger than their age and need some extra time. My 23 year old is now, maybe about 19 inside. When she was trying to get through senior year of high school, her body was 18-19, but her brain was 13. Gradually she is narrowing the gap.
So just remember that what looks right now like a limit on Hope’s future potential may actually be a delay that needs more time to be overcome. It may not be that she can’t, just that she can’t yet. I wish I could go back and tell my 5 years ago self that, but I’ll have to settle for telling you. 🙂
January 29th, 2019 at 6:30 pm
I know people making very stable livings through either the trades (electricians, for instance, you can get paid during training apprenticeship through the guild or the union and come out well into the middle class), physical therapist assistants (2 year community college degree leads to $40,000+ employment) and also through programs like Johnson & Wales University hospitality majors that may not seem “academic” to people from a liberal arts background but definitely lead to money. Have done a lot of research into how people can make a stable living without what my family viewed as the standard educational path and those are some thoughts. May not be jazzy but they are out there and things she could plug into 5 years after graduation and still have opportunities to be self-sufficient when ready.
February 1st, 2019 at 5:10 pm
Absolutely, the rub is that Hope has no interest in that path. She’s been pretty clear about how she sees herself in the future, even if she doesn’t exactly know what she will be doing. Of course, at this age, all that could change, especially when you consider that she’s emotionally younger than her chrono age. I don’t know, we’ll see! Thanks so much!