Yesterday Jon, Laurel and I experienced immense pride and happiness cheering on my sister Sharon as she zoomed towards the finish line at the Boston Half Marathon.
Afterwards over lunch I asked Sharon how she managed to look so fresh and upbeat at the end of her 13 mile journey. She said that her goal was to stay tuned in physically and mentally during the race; to listen to what her instincts and body were telling her and to move through the course at a pace where she felt energized yet comfortable. Meaning, she managed to march to her own beat and avoid getting caught up in the psychological dynamics or "should's" projected by the other runners.
This approach applies well to parenting. There’s so much judgment out there, so many sources that leave you feeling like a failure if you don’t rise to a prescribed level of perfection. But ultimately, at the end of the day the journey is similar to that experienced by my sister as she modified her textbook training regimen to incorporate meaningful, instinctive elements that were all her own. Ultimately the motherhood manual can’t fit every single person the same way; your instincts matter and likely will serve you well.
So today I’d like to applaud Sharon for completing her race successfully on her own terms; she inspires me to continue to parent in a way in which instructions simply serve as the framework on which my instincts operate.