Parenting wisdom from an elder

Do you sometimes feel like you're never going to get this juggling act of parenting, work and life right? Do you keep reading and gaining more information but get stuck in applying it? This post is about simple wisdom from a beautiful soul who cared enough to help me when I was struggling. It's the kind of wisdom that I feel needs passing on with loving kindness to all parents who spin plates and sometimes feel alone .

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It’s the summer holidays and as usual I’ve set myself up. I’m juggling and as work pressures increase, kids are at home and guilt snaps at my heels, I’m falling back into old reactive patterns.

The fact that my job is about leadership coaching is often my biggest stick. “Shouldn’t I know better than to react to teenage dramas?”

I’ll be honest it’s hard to write this. Women keeping up beautiful appearances surround me. Their struggles remain behind firmly closed doors.

Experts are everywhere and their formulas for successful, happy parenting ring through my head. Yet the reality is some days are hard. Some days I just can’t hear the wisdom inside of me on what the right thing to do is. Some days I react.

What taunts me is the perfected ideal of how mothers and children should be. I grew up with The Waltons, The Brady Bunch and Little House on the Prairie!

Picture the scene, a teenager that doesn’t want to adventure and develop art skills in a club with strangers. A mother who wants desperately to help her build her confidence, find her courage and see how talented and amazing she actually is beyond the use of a cell phone.

The combination of two strong willed females quickly turns into a battle for supremacy and control. I know this isn’t leadership and I’m not meeting this right. The guilt I feel is guidance.

Over lunch I meet a parenting angel, an elder, a grandmother, who owns a local café. She has community firmly in her heart. She sits down with me noticing I’m not my usual self. She shares with me her wisdom from her real life parenting. She passes it on with gentleness, love and compassion. There is absolutely no judgment or dogma. It’s just one woman that cares, opening her heart to another.

Here’s what she said...

  1. Everyone has stuff going on. They just don’t share it.
  2. Pick your battles. Choose wisely, don’t go headlong into everything, it’s not about control, it’s about the long term relationship and building trust for when you really need it.
  3. If you meet something with harsh edges you’re going to create a reason to rebel. Know your boundaries and don’t be taunted. Don’t give her a reason to rebel on the small things.
  4. Build trust everyday in small ways. Tell her you trust her. Remind her of the sensible choices she makes and acknowledge her for them.
  5. Admit when you’re wrong. Say you’re sorry and give in.
  6. When pushed to the edge go upstairs, lock the bathroom door and scream into a cushion. Do not react in front of her. Just find your centre and breathe.
  7. Remember that these small things that seem so big right now don’t really matter, we all find our way when we’re guided and someone holds a space for our brilliance to unfold.
When an elder gives you wisdom, its completely different to an expert telling you what to do. There’s a different energy to it. There is no ego. There’s compassion, understanding and love.

I believe we need more elders to share their magic. I believe that as parents finding our way is sometimes tough and it’s harder when we believe the illusion that there is one perfect way to parent.

I want you to know this: you’re doing a great job. You’re showing up here, reading, exploring and learning. That means you’ve a mindset for growth and a heart that’s open to love.

Take an adventure today and give yourself some love. This parenting role is a constantly evolving one. You are growing with it. You won’t get it right all the time. You will make mistakes and learn. And, if you’re as lucky as I was today to meet a kind elder on your journey, take heed and listen, their wisdom is pure and much needed in a world that’s reliant on formulas and experts.

Vanessa Anstee

Life Coach

I'm inspired by who you can be without apology and I want to help you let your real self shine. I've been a life coach for 10 years. I've always been a seeker trying to discover a way of being in life that feels soulful, authentic and aligned to what my heart wants not what my head thinks I should have, be or do. I spent 20+ year career in HR, OD, talent management and executive coaching. My kids were my biggest wake up. I saw the way I was working wasn't working anymore. I couldn't keep pushing myself harder. I had to accept I couldn't attain this perfected version of myself that I had strived most of my life to achieve. I had to find love not from accolades and other people's acceptance but from deep inside me. That's when I learnt to connect to my heart, heal my childhood wounds and fears of never being enough and set light to my passion in a completely new way. I want one thing for my clients. Be real. Be themselves, fall madly in love with that person and honour their soul's calling.