We all assume that parenting starts with having a baby or child and this is what qualifies us to have the title or role of ‘parent.’ What if parenting starts before baby arrives and even, before we get pregnant, and has very little to do with what we do for another but what foundations we have laid, moved, and lived for ourselves?
Whaaaaat, parenting having nothing to do with having children? How can that be?
What if, if we are in reaction to how we were parented then our parenting style will never truly know what it is to nurture and care for another because we have not taken steps to care and nurture ourselves first. An example might be not knowing what it is to be spoken to in a decent way if we have been brought up in a household where everyone mocks each other; or if you are used to rough and tumble play, then you will be less likely to know when you are being rough with someone who does not play in that way.
Your ‘normal’ is your ‘normal’ until you come into contact with someone who reflects a different ‘normal’.
Therefore, could we potentially say that parenting begins as soon we start making choices for ourselves that set a standard for what we feel is honouring of ourselves and nurturing what it is we are here to bring to the world with no apology?
Our parenting practice could therefore have started in our own childhood and was not reliant on how we were parented to set the model for how we would parent. By that stepped process, we could re-set the marker for parenting at any age because…
No matter what my own childhood was like, I can start lovingly parenting myself right now. It is never too late to do this.
We can parent ourselves way before we consider having children and parent ourselves after having had children. In fact, we can begin to lovingly parent ourselves at any age, even as a great grand-parent. This form of self-parenting will impact everything.
The responsibility for looking after ourselves in this way has a ripple effect on every part of our lives and upon everyone around us.
Considering that parenting doesn’t start with having a child is of huge value. It allows us to prepare a foundation to support our true parenting path and to recognise what is possible when we self-parent. It lets us parent ourselves at any and every age and doesn’t rely on being a biological parent to offer that reflection to another.