When dreaming of baby-to-be, it’s easy to fantasize about what the child will be like.
“Do you think they’ll like getting their hands dirty?” “Will they be a bookworm like I was?” “Will they want to bake with me?”
After birth/adoption/etc., however, the shitshow of incorporating a new child hits, leaving us suspended in survival mode. Identity shifts, and it takes a while for our feet to touch back down, affirmed in our new role(s).
As we settle into our new identity, our kids stumble their way through finding one of their own. Each age and stage bringing a new round of interests, and if we have the time/rest/space, we’re happy to keep pace.
What happens though in the middle of a pandemic? Kids interests continue to deepen, or shift entirely and we’re left with little emotional reserves to dive in.
I remember feeling boxed in by the interests I had shown seasonally while growing up, and felt ashamed when they changed, or I outgrew them.
My kids (ages 3, 2) have loved everything: dumb jokes, legos, dirt and bugs, trucks, animals, books, movie characters. But it’s only just occurred to me that I don’t intentionally make space for them to explore those in the same capacity that I make them explore my own interests.
“We’re going here, we’re eating this, we’re not doing that right now” are all common phrases I find myself saying.
Lately, I’ve been trying to make that space for them. Sometimes practically by scheduling it in, sometimes by bringing it up when our family is all together. I want my boys to know that we’re a team, and part of being a team is leaning into the strengths that they’re exhibiting for that season; Allowing personal liberty to change if something else peaks them.
In the future their interests will level out. (Maybe?!) They’ll find something that carries them for days or weeks, months or years. For now though, I’ll aim to make time for their unique (albeit annoying or complex or demanding) interests within our family.
What are your kid(s) interests today? How do you include them for your family to encourage and participate in?
Cheers, parent friends!
Macy (The Doula Sister)