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2022-04-20 - 7:23 a.m.

This is a marvelous project:

I find it very validating as my whole parenting philosophy may be summed up by one word:


and for now just allowing SPACE for my kids to BE in peace with security of needs met while they grow and figure out who they are. Who they WANT TO BE and how they want to spend their time here.

I just feel I still need to be HOME.
That still needs to be my focus so I have no inclination to try to be ambitious with work and try to find MORE work. I just want to set up the structure so I may do so if I HAVE TO.

I also figure if they want to go to college it makes no sense for me to work harder and not be present and for my well being to decline by working MORE to then have them not be eligibile for the need based aid they would get !
I mean it makes ZERO Sense since I am not in a position to pay for college for me to increase my income such that the impact is their aid is reduced and then I am just earning each extra dollar to pay tuition for college students I don't have time to be present for and emotionally support.
Its their path. They need to figure out what they want. It makes no sense for me to work more unless I have to do so because working more DOES impact my parenting. If I work more I am not as good at the REST of the parenting responsibilities I have! I can't keep up with cooking healthy meals as well; I can't keep the house as clean; I can't be fully present for school events etc.
And I know it really is worth it for me to drive half a day to watch the college chior concernt and then spend the later half of the day driving home.
That is WAY more valuable than the money I could have earned working an 8 hr day!

I believe there are different styles of parenting and sure some are more effective at teaching and training and skill building.
But regardless of life skills I believe the most important thing is relationship development.

It's why I intentionally choose to not be overly ambitious with career at certain points. I am highly ambitions when NEED to be. However once NEEDS are met then I just want to BE present close to home to be here with my kids as they grow.

It's why for a time I was content taking a job at my local deli across the street from my house to be close to home during their middle school years. It is why I took the job at the Assisted Living place as well which is a bus ride away.

Because I know some people are inherently shy, introverted, have social anxiety and do not venture out into the world unless or until someone they know has done so successfully. Kinda like my roommate in college who never dated a guy unless someone she trusted either had dated him first or he was very close to someone she knows really well. It bothered others that she only dated everyone's exs it seemed but it never bothered me as I quickly recognized she just had trust issues. I did not know WHY but later she revealed the trauma of growing up in a dysfuctional alcoholic family with abuse due to the rages when one parent drank. She navigated learning to trust and the relationships in her family were only healed by spending time together. As her parents aged it was the time spent that healed the relationships they had with their children and it was likely possible because despite all they did wrong- her parents were alway PRESENT and tried their best to love their kids. The illness was awful but she could forgive their failings and accept that the love they gave was limited.

I think of her as she is remarkable in how she was able to heal and go onto being an amazing mom in a happy marriage with a wonderful husband who has raised two boys.
She did it by giving up some of her dreams and realigning her priorities.

I think of her as 30 yrs ago I think I watched her choices and I questioned them. She was deeply in love with a guy she turned down as he was not as finanaically secure. She chose to date this guy for all the check boxes and I felt like it was a marriage chosen for the comforts he could provide so she did not have to worry. But the thing is that has worked for her and she is very happy.

The love she had that was hard for her to let go of was the graphic artist. I laugh as she thought he was so artsy and not as practical but I know a GRAPHIC artist 30 yrs ago might not have been a job many were that familiar with but now 30 yrs later it is clear if he was hard working and dedicated that man she let go of because of her fear has been very successful in the ways she was seeking.

But she did what she needed to do for her peace of mind.

I tried to not judge that.
It worked for her- and funny I thought of her as the example of the wife and mother who identified the key to being happy is truly to let go of your ego and put your presence with family above your ambition. You do what is best for everyone else often- best for your kids or your spouse if you want to really have a happy marriage and family life with your kids once they grow.

So on that legacy page the article half way down about
Father's Day really resonated with me.

there is one key to successful parenting: "Spend more time with your children. And if necessary, sacrifice to do it. The elders tell us that there is one great contribution to lifelong closeness for which there is no substitute: Your time."

In their opinion, your kids don’t want your money (or what your money buys) anywhere near as much as they want you. Specifically, they want you, with them. Parents who work double-shifts to keep the family afloat may have no choice. But if you and your spouse work 70-hour weeks to buy consumer goods and take lavish vacations, they say you are misusing your time. Even if it means doing with less, America’s elders tell you that what you will regret at their age is not spending time with your children. And it’s what your children will regret, too.

They also told me that the activity you and your kid engage in is not particularly important: It’s the shared time. In off moments during whatever the activity may be, there’s time to talk, to share confidences, to connect. And in those activities, the miracle of real communication sometimes occurs.

I remember an essay by former treasury secretary Robert Reich about his sons. He used the analogy of a clam to emphasize that to really know our children we need to be there at exactly the right moment. Our kids are often closed up tightly like clamshells, hard on the outside but with a soft and vulnerable interior. Suddenly and unexpectedly, however, they will decide to open up, and if you’re not there, Reich says, “you might as well be on the moon.”...
America’s elders bring home three key points. First, it’s your time that kids want and they will look back on the hours together with fondness and nostalgia. The elders remember this from their own families — indeed, it is the source of most of their pleasant memories about childhood. Second, what counts the most are shared activities — time spent in hobbies, sports, camping, hunting, and fishing (it’s extraordinary how many older men cherish hunting or fishing trips with their fathers), and in seeking out a new interest together. Third, the elders agree that we should be willing to sacrifice to have that kind of time. If you are going to have kids, they say, it’s worth it to live on less to be able to be with them"

YES! I do believe this to be true.
For now I feel like it is worth less for me to be home to cook dinner more regularly and to try to get these teens to sit and eat together as a family.
They resist.
They want to do things their own way; but I try at least to have family meals.
It starts with breakfast. I try to get up and make breakfast and have a nice meal ready for each of the kids- whether they come down or not.

My Dad always did that and it is one of the things that I recall fondly which I think made him an AWESOME Father. His consistent loving routines of making breakfast for us all every morning; of Saturday chores like clockwork- he cleaned all the bathrooms in the house and then he did the grocery shopping. Whomever wanted to go with him was welcome to come.

Evenings he was always home for dinner at 6 sharp. He had a routine- he went to 6AM Mass every morning; then walked to catch the train into LI City for work and he caught that 5pm train back home every evening and was back by 6pm sharp for dinner. Then he spent time in church volunteer activities in the evening. When kids were younger it was the Boy Scouts activities along with my Mother as well; and she too was volunteering in some of the church inititives they worked on. They provided marriage preparation meetings with couples who would come to our home.

They provided the wisdom of elders to their community.
And the #1 message of parenting indeed was PRESENCE.

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