The Boss of Me!: (Re)Claiming Authentic Power

Today, I offered Maya a bite of my sandwich so she could try the sauce.  She made a face that looked like ‘I don’t want to,’ but she didn’t say anything, so I said, “Oh you don’t have to.”  She laughed and said with confidence, “I know I don’t have to take a bite if I don’t want to!”  Beaming a bright smile, she reflected further, “because why would I have to?!?”  She giggled at how silly the idea of her having to do something against her will was.

This reminded me of a time a week ago, when we were in the car discussing soccer rules. I mentioned that some people say it is not wise for small children to hit the ball with their heads.  Maya asked, “Mom, but what if the coaches say I have to?”  And I flippantly said, “Maya, who’s the boss?”  I hate to admit, but in that moment I was actually thinking me.  As in, “I’m your mother and I have your best interest at heart.”  Luckily though she knew the truth, and said, “Oh yeah, ME!”  And that settled that.  I was grateful that although her mama is still learning/correcting old patterns, she has integrated an empowered truth.

She has actually gotten into arguments with her five year old cohorts about this.  A child will say, “Your mom is the boss of you” explaining their understanding of the parent/child relationship, and she will adamantly say, “No, I am the boss of me!”  At times, she will run to me for validation, “Mom, I am the boss of me right?”  Which I always confirm because supporting a child’s intrinsic self trust and knowing is my highest role as parent.

There are times when she has said this defiantly, as in “You are not the boss of me! I won’t go to bed!”  Though I may not like to hear it this way, I am always grateful that she knows she is the keeper of her soul.  And because I value this, I hear her words in those moments as reminders that she is an autonomous person, to be guided but not controlled.

So I take pause to reframe and focus on what I can control; myself and the boundaries I have set (A key to avoiding power struggles)  “Yes, honey, I know I cannot control you.  You are welcome to go to sleep when you like, but mama is all done talking and I am going to read quietly now.”  (This works best when a child is developmentally ready) She really loves to hear that phrase, “I cannot control you” and she usually heads off to unwind with an empowered smile.

I reflect on how challenging life can be when we give others power over our lives in any way.  We look to a relationship to be fulfilled. We look to a dogma/doctrine to fit in and be right or good enough. We look to our achievements as indicators of our worth.  We settle, settle, settle to be safe and acceptable to others.   And there is no joy, only helplessness and frustration because we are giving our power to other people or things we have no control over. We are dis-empowered.

However, when we know that no one else has control over our happiness AND we take responsibility for our own happiness through self-presence and self-care, then our radiant souls shine and thrive, just like our children’s!

For support in Conscious Mothering (ourselves and our children) join a Conscious Mothering Circle or our new Conscious Parenting Playgroup! And for more on these concepts see my FREE downloadable ebook: BREATHE.



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