No one was more shocked than me when my oldest daughter told me she wanted to take a professional level yoga training with me this fall. She wanted to study—with her mother.
Asking all kinds of questions about the HeartRise Children’s training, I could hear the excitement in her voice. At twelve years old, she’d be the youngest grad at DevaTree School of Yoga.
Playing it cool on the outside, she had no idea I was bursting at the seams on the inside.
HeartRise was the first training Tamika and I created and is so dear to my heart—I knew sharing it with Anabel would be a huge journey for both of us. It was a dream come true—a dream I didn’t even know I had!
We talked about the commitment of taking a 100-hour training and what it might be like for her to teach kids her own age. I was thinking about how we discuss sexual development in the program and all the juicy personal stories about my own childhood and my parenting journey—I definitely had some cautions coming up. But I made peace with it and decided to trust she was ready to hear it all. She’d grown up in an open household—we’d handle it together. We even discussed what she’d do on breaks while I was with the team, and what it might be like for me to be her teacher.
And then one day she decided she didn’t want to do it—just like that.
What? I had totally wrapped my head around it and was getting excited for the challenge. My daughter’s whim and my hopes of having a child who wants to teach yoga were dashed. But here’s the thing. It wasn’t about me—it never was.
It was Classic Parenting 101. I had to let go—I had to make sure I wasn’t imposing my agenda on her.
Parenting is about constantly letting go.
There are so many ways we let go from the moment our children come into this world. First we let go of our “birth plan” (still good to have)—but what a joke! Then we let go of expectations, plans, ideas about how everything else will go. We let go of who they will become.
We let go of being able to protect them from every bad thing that could ever possibly happen. And we let go of being there for every moment of their lives.
My kids were young when I separated from their father, so I really had to embrace letting go. I remember the quizzical look on other parents’ faces when I would say I didn’t know where the rain boots were, or that I had no clue what my kids were doing at that moment.
I used to think moms who weren’t separated had it easier because they had more control over their child’s environment, but I’ve realized it’s not always easier—because we think we’re in charge of their universe.
From a young age I was learning to let go of all the details of what happened when they were with their dad; what they ate, when they went to bed, and the list goes on. I had to accept early on that I never had control over these little beings. It was so hard—but it made me better at letting go at each new stage of development—whether I wanted to or not.
A major bonus of this kind of radical letting go, is it’s helped me realize I can’t be a perfect parent.
One friend told me that at the beginning of every school year she tells her children’s teachers that her kids live in a separated family and to expect the forms won’t show up at school on time. With all the paperwork going back and forth, claiming this out loud helped me let go of getting it perfect.
Letting go frees me up; it allows me to be imperfect. Now, if I find myself wanting to control a situation, I have to stop and tell my “perfect parent” to move over.
Letting go never ends.
The moment I let go of one thing, another issue crops up. We don’t have to be parents to practice letting go. This week I’m working on letting go of my anger at a situation that occurred weeks ago. No matter how much I practice, letting go still pops up and presents a new challenge.
I may sound like a loosey-goosey parent without boundaries and rules, but that’s not the case. I’m still constantly setting limits, and I’m fiercely committed to loving and nurturing these babies of mine.
I love being the Mama Bear-Protectress of my kids, but allowing them to also do their own thing, their own way, in their own timing strengthens their Spirit.
I’m growing independent, free-thinking humans. They’re growing a mom who is learning to let go.
Anabel might change her mind, but who knows what will come next for her. It’s not for me to know.
What are you letting go of in your life? Does it feel easy or hard right now? I’d love to hear, in the comments below.
In love and freedom,