Like most of us, I was forced to help at home as a child. Unfortunately, my mum didn’t know that by demanding help, she was actually teaching me to resent house work. When I lived in the beautiful spiritual eco-village of Findhorn, I experienced work as love in action. In “Women who run with the wolves”, by Clarissa Pincola Estes, I read that washing clothes is about understanding the fabric of life, and it changed my attitude toward the fabric pads I wash every month. And with Aware Parenting and Nonviolent Communication, I understood that if I tidy up, clean, water the plants or wash the dishes with a nurturing spirit, I am nurtured in the process.
All of those lessons came to the forefront in my last “round” of the battle of getting the kids to help at home. Determined to find the right balance between honouring my desire to be supported and the children’s need for autonomy and choice, I discovered a new depth to my acts of service. It has taken a lot of inner work, but I have come to a new appreciation of the beauty and pleasure of doing for my children the things that, one day, I hope they will do for themselves. I have come to make their beds, put away their clothes or wash up their lunch boxes with real love, tasks that previously I was adamant they should do.
The surprise has come when, after my inner shift, I have seen them do it of their own accord without me asking. Not all the time, not everything. But more often, and more tasks than I would have expected. When I dropped my demand and really honoured their freedom, they were able to choose without needing to protect it themselves. And, lo and behold, their true nature is actually caring. The battle is no more, and in this new paradigm, we all win.
Empoweror (“the person who empowers”)
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