As I am sure all mothers do, I worry about how my kids will turn out, what will be their place in the world and whether they will be happy. There's no way of knowing. But I do know what I wish for them and I do know that it is my job (and my husband's of course) to equip them to make informed desicions.
Lately they have stopped answering when I talk to them or call their name, and it annoys the hell out of me. However, I do have enough insight into myself to know that it is probably my own fault somehow. It took a while for me to figure it out, but I finally arrived at the conclusion that I have been SO SO overwhelmed with work, house work and my husband being gone so much this year. And the kids are both at a stage right now where they constantly, and I do mean constantly, want my feedback and attention, the chatter is endless. And sometimes I need just two seconds to finish a thought, finish a sentence in an email or remember what it is I am standing in front of the fridge for. So I have found myself just tuning them out while I tie a bow on whatever I am in the middle of. Especially Emil's attention span is super short, so often he will give up and wander off before I am able to respond. That was the most recent of many moments when I realised how important it is to act or show your kids how you want them to behave instead of telling them. I can talk till I'm blue in the face and it will have made zero impact. (Although I can't get around the fact that sometimes I really really need to be allowed to be in my own head without interruptions, so it's a difficult balance)
I want my kids to grow up to be tolerant and openminded. So I try to pay attention to how and in what tone I talk about other people, especially when I am talking to my husband adult to adult and we think they aren't listening. As soon as they get a bit older we're gonna start taking them with us on travels further away, to introduce them to countries and cultures that are a lot more different to ours. And this is also one of the primary reasons that I am a part of the Couchsurfing community. So my kids can meet people from all around the world and hear other languages, but in the safe frame of their own home. The photo below is of my kids with the sweet Brooke from Canada, one of the many couchsurfers who stayed with us this summer.
I want my kids to be happy and to know it is okay to choose a different path, to not mindlessly join the rat race or the keeping up with the Jones'ses, and to live a values based life and be at peace with it. And to be happy you need a healthy mind and body. This is why we live where we do, why we make sure to spend as much time outside as possible; it is why I invite them to join me when I do yoga or dance, or meditation, or weight training, or stretching. And also why I am slowly starting to invite them to cook dinner with me a few times a week.
We want our kids to respect nature and animals but also to know what it means to take an animal's life and how that is necessary if you want to eat meat. We want them to know where food comes from. We let them help when we work on the wildlife projects on our land, they help feed and water the animals daily, and once I get the chicken coop up and running next spring, it will be their job to collect the eggs and fill up the water trough etc.
We want them to learn responsibility, teach them the pleasure of feeling needed and to have contributed. So we involve them in as many practical tasks and projects as possible, storing firewood, digging up potatoes and vegetables for dinner, vacuuming, clearing up their own toys and setting the table.
I want them to have faith in themselves, to pursue their dreams and feel fulfilled in their jobs. Which is why, despite the problems of overworking and travelling a lot, I feel it is important to show them that I love what I do, and that it is possible to be passionate in one's job and create something out of nothing.
But most importantly I want them to know love and feel love so that they recognise it when they meet it as adults. I want them to see my husband and I kiss and hug. To see a relationship of affection, respect, trust and generosity. And this is the most difficult one. One that needs constant attention. And who knows, in the process of becoming a good role model, I might actually become a better person and a better partner ;)