School has started with its "getting back to the grind" and its "mama has a chance to breath without interruption," so I've been able to hit the refresh button on my parenting mindset which always always always leads me home to this poem that happened upon me during my pregnancy with my oldest daughter and has been my parenting model ever since.
Every season that passes through us, I am able to digest and integrate a bit more of this. It slowly seeps in and becomes me, and yet, I need its constant reminder on my refrigerator.
When my heart is raging at the cost of mothering and it seems my eardrums have only to burst from the strain of pressure, I turn to it and see through the waving water before my eyes and allow it to restore me. To remind me.
That there is a point where I stop and they begin. That my job is to remain steady and flexible, which I manage to do only when I am fierce about caring for myself.
Ultimately, though, that parenting is something that comes from the soul.
I think most of you will already know it, but there is never a wrong time or place for this, so once again...
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Anna Turner is the woman behind Little Hearth. She's an ordained interfaith minister, a writer, a believer in purposeful living and healing, a perpetual student, and a full time feminist mother.