Today I’m pleased to have Shel of ElfWench Studio sharing her thoughts on parenting
Tell us a little about your family
I live with my husband Shawn and our two kids in Sitka Alaska. Jason aka The Squirrelman is 9 and Angelina aka The Diva is 3. Jason is all about building things, computers, and books. Like a lot of kids with ADHD he is scary smart. We’re fairly sure he is going to be an engineer someday. Angie is our creative force of nature. She loves to dance and draw. She will probably grow up to be a cross between Fancy Nancy, Angelina Ballerina, and Zena Warrior Princess. We also share our home with a spunky black cat named Midnite.
Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use.
If I had to put a label on it, I would say intuitive. We have no real set style and go with whatever seems to work. I tend to evolve and adapt how I interact and react with my kids based on who they are at any given moment. I had to laugh when one day my son’s OT asked me to come and talk to a group of parents whose kids had similar issues. She said “whatever your secret is, I want you to share it with the other parents”. She was astonished when I said I didn’t have a secret, I just do what feels like the right thing to do at that time. Just as a I would with anyone else. Why should my kids be any different?
What do you see your role is as a parent?
I see myself as a guide and I hope, a role model. I very much believe in letting my children be who they are and not what I or anyone else thinks they should be. We want them to figure out their hopes, their dreams, their own ambitions. I see it as my job to encourage them in that while showing them how to honor other people for who they are as well, no matter how different.
What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?
I won’t lie, I am not a patient person. I can’t tell you the number of times I catch myself getting overly impatient with my kids. I find that making sure to get some quiet “me” time in every day helps a lot. Even if I have to put on a movie for the kids and lock myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes. Sometimes it means writing in a notebook, listening to music, reading the news, or even crying out my frustrations some days. Stopping what I’m doing, closing my eyes, and counting to 10 is also a trick I use frequently. Believe it or not, it helps. A lot.
What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?
Hugs. Definitely the hugs. That and watching them grow, explore, and become kind, amazing little people.
Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself? What might you say to other parents?
Chill out and don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t worry about the dirt and let them run around naked to their hearts content. Kids aren’t and shouldn’t be “by the book” so don’t sweat what “The Book” says. The book isn’t doesn’t know your kids and isn’t raising them, YOU are. Trust YOU.
And give yourself a hug.
To sum me up nicely: Wife, mommy, gamer, goddess, meat/dairy free, wench, history nut, bibliophile, photographer, artist, maker of shiny the things, tattooed, pierced, small biz owner, crazy for yoga & the sea breeze.
Where to Stalk:
ElfWench Studio www.ElfWenchStudio.com
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