What is the role of a parent?

There are a lot of things I want to be for my child.

Above all, I want to be a loving, safe place for him where he always feels welcome and knows he can be himself.

I want to be someone who challenges him to push himself, to not give into his fears, and to always strive for his best.

I want to be the person hugging him, or sitting quietly by his side, when his best falls short.

I want to be a scientist, always observing him so that I can know him better and know what he needs.

I want to be an architect, shaping his environment so that it offers him a place to thrive and grow.

I want to be a librarian, reading to him for hours on end and planting the seed for a love of books.

I want to be his travel agent, planning adventures near and far to open his eyes to the world.

I want to be an explorer, discovering whatever worlds his yet to be determined interests lead me to, so we have common ground.

I want to be his chef, cooking him healthy meals and baking cookies with him on a Sunday afternoon.

There is one thing though that I do not want to be: I do not want to be an entertainer, making sure he’s always occupied, never bored, constantly engaged in something fun or “educational”.

I believe that boredom is needed for creativity, that quiet times of nothingness are where imagination sparks and ideas are born.  I believe that the ability to entertain yourself is a life skill, one that is falling away now that we have constant entertainment in our pockets.

So while I of course play with him, after all I’m his only available playmate most of the time, I don’t interact with him 100% of the time he’s awake.  I look for those moments when he’s inside his own head and I sit quietly while he entertains himself.

I watch as the time he can do this stretches and I hope it serves him well as he grows.  I watch as he discovers shadows on the floor and tries to capture them.  I watch as he stares at his reflection in the mirror and watches himself move.  I watch as he stares out the window at the beautiful world, captivated by the leaves dancing in the wind.

I watch as he starts to get frustrated or want attention, and then I watch a little bit longer, until it’s a little uncomfortable, walking that line so that he knows – he doesn’t need me to entertain him.

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6 Comments

    1. Thank you! It’s fun to see him notice little things and play with his reflection when he’s not “occupied” 🙂

  1. I’ve only learned this recently. Too little, too late! I read so many books about baby’s need for play. I never realized if meant that I didn’t have to provide the entertainment. I’m striving to change things now and definitely will do this with the new baby. It’s so important and although Liam will play alone for extended periods, it could be for so much longer. It’s my “lesson learned,” if you will! Thank you for the reminder! 😉

    1. I think that’s so true – there are so many books / opinions about how to engage children and help them with language, etc., which is all so great, I just thing it’s a balance. I bet it’s more of a necessity with a second baby anyway lol 🙂 Little Liam is lucky to have you!

      1. Thank you! 🙂 Being a parent is definitely an adjustment and I’m always learning.
        Happy Mother’s Day, btw!

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