You will probably never get so many good advice on how to live your life as you do when you get kids. It´s like you step into this universe of panic morality, where everyone but yourself seems to be experts in how life with kids should be lived.
There are so many stand points and unwritten rules in our society that families have to deal with every day. Stand points that choke us as parents, make us feel insufficient and lose track with our own belief of how we want to raise our kids.
Every advice you get today as parent is more or less based on two factors: stability and safety. Kids need to grow up in safe surroundings (parents of today chose school for their kids when they´ve just given birth). Kids need to be in a good and sound group of peers and they need to interact in an activity, at least one. They need to eat healthy food without sugar, ONLY sugar on week ends. They need at least two sets of clothes for all kinds of weather, new car seat every year (and god forbid if this is second hand). Parents need to have stable jobs, a good income, a nice house – all that stuff.
I don´t question these stand points per se. Some of them are very important for you as parent to be aware of, but you need to look at them with perspective. And, most importantly, you need to add your own stand points that make sense to you as a family and to your kids as individuals. I would like to add an important stand point that I think often gets forgotten. Something that is crucial in the act of helping kids grow up and become independent thinkers:
Kids needs confidence in themselves. They need to believe that they can, that they are meant to, create their own future.
And the most important coach they have are you. Their parents.
That´s all nice and everything. But how do you manage to give your kids that as a parent? Well, the first step in my mind is to show them how you do it. Everyone who has been reading any literature on child upbringing knows that it isn´t what you tell your kids, but what you show them that will make an impact. You can tell them all their lives that they are smart, and wonderful and that they should go for what they believe in, but if you as parent don´t do this for yourself, this is all they will see.
You start to understand what I´m getting at right?
If you don´t live the life you want, how can you expect your children to.
I want to show my kids the world. I want to give them perspective. By traveling, by living in different places, by daring to quit my job and try to make a living on something that I always dreamt of trying out. I want them to know that even if you move away from your peers, it don´t necessarily mean that you´ve lost something. It just means that you have the possibility to have friendships in many different parts of the world. I don´t want my kids to be afraid of change. I want them to embrace it.
So that´s why I think it is important to follow your dreams as a parent. Let your kids into your life instead of trying to create a life for them, for you, based on what you hear is right. I won´t be surprised if the so to say right way of living as a family will be something different in ten years. The perspective of what is right or wrong will constantly change.
So I believe that, if I dare to go my own way, even though it is bloody scary at times and I feel like a little child dreaming, this is something that I will pass on to my kids. Maybe I fail, but this is also ok. It´s all part of the journey in showing myself and my kids that taking a chance, and sometimes falling is not a catastrophe. It is just a natural part of finding your way.
Before we went on our trip I started my own company. Which is a dream that I´ve had since the moment I decided that I wanted to study journalism. I want to work with journalism and writing independently. I have a clean slate, no fix income (and having a husband that is currently doing the same makes it even more scary), and no idea if I can actually do this. But I will try, and I will share both my winnings and my failures with you. I hope you want to do the same with me.
What do you dream of? How are you pulling it through having a family and going for your dreams at the same time? Please share. Either private or in the comment field below.
Hi Katrine, Tom, Kids, I have really enjoyed your blog, both the writing and the pics. We could talk for hours and hours on all the existential topics you bring up in your blog. Most of us struggle almost daily with the life we live and the one we wish for. Nonetheless, it’s all relative, as you have said! And I’m pretty sure more than half of the world would be extremely happy and greatful to have the type of security (physical, financial, etc) and stability we have and sometimes dread of, so it’s also good to acknowledge our little bourgeois lives are not so bad after all, as they provide us both with the time and financial means to question what we eat, what we do for a living and so on, a luxury that a big chunk of humanity can’t even afford. In the end, as my old friend Karl Marx would say, it’s all about historical materialism! Kisses to all, and hope we meet soon so we can talk in person over a glass of wine!
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Dear Clara. You are so right. Thank you for bringing up this perspective. It IS important to acknowledge that we live good lives and that it is partly our privileges that makes it possible for us to follow our dreams. And I am very grateful for that. But with privileges comes also fear of losing what you have, which in my mind hinders us in our development. It´s all a balance, between cherishing your life as it is and wanting to make the most of what you have been given. And I´m not saying that this is easy.
One of our next trips will have to be to Amsterdam, where a glass of wine, discussing with you and playing with little Carlota will be highly cherished :-). Kisses to you from all of us.