When we CONCEIVE of a project, it is fun. All our creative juice goes into the VISIONING of this project; it lives in the ethereal realm - not yet actualized.
Then we bring that project to LIFE, we materialize it. It is so exciting and so new, and we are deeply committed to seeing the project THRIVE.
We show up and we show up - to assure the well-being and the longevity of this project we have brought into being - that we love and cherish so much.
When that project is doing well, and we're a few years in....some of the excitement starts to wane... because now it is not just about CREATING, but about SUSTAINING the project.
A few more years in.... and more sustenance is required. The JUICE that brought this project into creation, is often funneled into the internal growth that is required to sustain external growth. There is an opportunity of profound maturation here: it comes when we heal our wounds that are brought to the surface through this long-term dedication. It is the refining of the stone into the diamond.
This phase may not be as "sexy" as the Conception nor Creation phase.... but it is needed to see this "project" through into the long-term vision.
All of the above is true for all aspects of our adult, human life: For our projects. For our artistic creations. For our Businesses. For our relationships, especially primary relationships. For Having Children & Being Parents. The conception phase and the creation phase tend to be juicy and fun and imaginative and often EASY. The long-term tending is where the true work ARISES.
For containment of this writing, I want to focus on PARENTING at this time in the world - under this concept of Creating Versus Sustaining:
It's FUN to talk about making a baby with a partner that we love....Imagining the parents we will be; envisioning into the future....
It's EROTIC to create a baby with a partner that we love....
It's so playful and sexy to be pregnant with a partner that we love....
We're often so committed during pregnancy to create birth experiences and postpartum experiences that will support our family's capacity to THRIVE...
When our babies are born, we really GET the download - that we have been entrusted with the caretaking of human life, OUR child, and we are determined to create pathways for them to flourish. We focus on "re-parenting" ourselves and healing our childhood wounds - so that we do not pass on intergenerational trauma.
When our children are little, we show up and show up - to ASSURE their well-being - because we love them and cherish them so much. We care so much about who they spend time with / who they don't - so that our baby's wholeness and innocence are kept intact.
Parents typically are "on it" like this until their children are 3 years old.... then there is a wane in the way that parents show up...
The realness of parenting in the modern world without sufficient support - is deeply known by three years into the journey, and parents are weary.....
There is tiredness of the unsexiness of the day-to-day....
Tiredness from making 27 million meals....
Tiredness from the SUSTENANCE that is required.
Then there is another wane in the way that parents show up when children are around 7 years old..... and then again at 9 years old. After 9 years, all that FRESH, creative juice from birthing our children into being - begins to dissipate. And now we reach a new territory where it's not about CREATING, but rather about SUSTAINING what we began.
It is at this time (7-9 years in), that parents begin to accept that which doesn't feel totally good nor right - for them or their children.
At first, it begins as small concessions: Whereas before there was no screen time - now there is screen time - so that parents can get a break. Whereas before it was only certain foods - now there are processed foods - so that parents can get a break. Whereas before it was no hanging out with certain people - now those same people are deemed 'ok' - so that parents can get a break.
And while ACCEPTANCE can absolutely be a point of maturation (being with reality as it is, not always how we want it to be) - what I track is that this "acceptance" actually leans more towards RESIGNATION for parents in the modern world.
"I don't really LIKE ______(fill in the blank)"...." but it's just how it is....." is what I have heard parents say MULTIPLE times - relative to their older aged children.
By the time our babies get to their preteen and teen years - the majority of parents - from what I witness, have largely given up.
Preteens and teens are at school like 40+ hours a week, with late afternoons filled up with activities. So that the only time families with older aged children are all home together - is PERHAPS to eat dinner and sleep....... just to do it all again the next day.
Sure, there are practicalities; Parents need to work. Our preteens and teens need MORE socializing / community / etc than our young children do, etc. AND what I track is that parents are doing this with their preteens and teens because this type of schedule assures that parents don't need to BE WITH the complexities of BEING WITH teenage children.
WHY would parents WANT this?
The first main reason is because: It is one thing to "reparent" yourself when our children are tiny, but it is WHOLE other thing to "reparent" ourselves when our children are preteens and teens.
Most of us who are adults at this time - had not even a FRACTION of the support, connection and guidance we truly needed when we were teenagers, especially in relation to: Our Emotional Selves, Our Sexual Selves, Our Relational Selves.
And so... being WITH our teenagers is deeply uncomfortable for many parents, as these long-forgotten parts of ourselves (that have often still YET to be brought into maturation), are triggered.
Most of us were never taught how to BE with our emotions in healthy ways in adolescence.
Most of us were never taught how to deeply KNOW our own bodies and sexual landscapes in life-giving ways in adolescence.
Most of us were never taught the SKILLS of how to navigate the complexities of human relationships of any kind in adolescence.
Most of us were never initiated from adolescence into adulthood.
Most adults are arrested in development - never having matured beyond the point of adolescence.
And so.... how can we PARENT our adolescents?
Many parents of adolescents do not have the LIVED EXPERIENCE of HOW TO be in right relationship with this age group.
The second main reason that parents don't want to BE WITH the complexities of BEING WITH teenage children, is because by this point in their parenting journey, they have largely GIVEN up. They have GIVEN UP not just on their parenting, but they have "given up" on themselves. Especially for "middle-aged" parents in their forties and older. Instead of continuing to EVOLVE through this time of life, stepping into the next version of WHO WE'RE MEANT TO BE, they get stuck in old patterns and programs. Many adults in the modern world in "middle age" forget about their own desires and their own aliveness; and they get boring.
Adolescents in the modern world - are so often sent away to institutions (schools) and structures (after-school activities) that are NOT in service of their highest good. But parents send their teenagers to these institutions and structures, simply because they exist. "I don't really LIKE it....but it's just how it is....." These institutions and structures then raise our teenagers for us - because parents are NOT doing the work of raising their teenagers themselves.
This is a CALL IN to parents in general - and especially parents of older-aged children: Our preteens and teenagers are deeply lacking the support they need, during this evolutionary time in the human lifespan. They need US to do our inner work - so that we can actually PARENT them. They need US to tap into our own aliveness - so that we can CREATE new pathways in support of them!
Adolescence is the most misunderstood and culturally en-shadowed time in our modern reality. It is a time that is SCREAMING for adults to show up to, to be GUIDES and WAY SHOWERS for.... so that our CHILDREN (because they are still indeed children) can have sure-footing and deep roots for their life ahead.
If we want to have healthy adults in the time to come - we, collectively - must step up and take care of our youth NOW.
It’s one thing to start something, it’s another thing to sustain it.
We begin a business project, art project, a relationship, etc, our job is to carry it through and tend to it - to completion.
We birth a child, our job is to carry our child into full maturation of adulthood - until they can pick up the responsibility for their own lives.
This is the way that we assure that OUR seeds give LIFE to THRIVING LIFE.
-Rachelle Garcia Seliga ©