The societal norm these days is generally to put those we love and anyone else ahead of ourselves. This leaves each of us feeling like we’re holding an empty cup in this time of individual homes as opposed to community, tribes, clans which provide support and safety.
We’re taught that we are going to grow up to find someone to love us, as if we’ll live without love if we don’t. I’ve been listening to a new thought leader lately named Matt Kahn on YouTube who suggests that we can nourish ourselves from the love we give rather than looking to get it from someone else. I’ve recently discovered how effective this can be in the world of parenting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8SmlRDzIRM
I have two sons, one is now 32 and the other preparing to be 13. I was 21 starting my first voyage into parenting and had no idea that I would be starting over on the top side of forty but since it wasn’t my first rodeo I knew how important my investment in my child was.
The first time around was very challenging with the divorce of his parents when my son was 4 and there have been many consequences along the way and the ripple effect is still impacting his 32 yr old life. Things were much less tumultuous for my younger son but his parents did split when he was 10.
I’m basically earthy crunchy by most people’s standards and have been grooming my son to read labels since he could read. We do Reiki, essential oils and reflexology to support our well being and exclude as many toxins as we can. We don’t use cleaning chemicals or chemical personal care products and exclude “foods” that contain aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, MSG and any known genetic modifications. We choose a lifestyle that also excludes vaccinations, doctor’s office appointments other than emergency and virtually anything that is advertised on tv, most especially prescription or over the counter medication.
Recently my son has begun to stretch his boundaries and has been testing me and his newly established individuality regularly. The first evidence that showed itself was him using Axe body products. I knew that I have a hard time breathing in the presence of things like this but had just recently learned that Axe body spray is known to effect boy’s testicles and that it has been banned by many school systems because it causes what is called an “Axe Attack”, an allergy or asthma attack and that’s not even for the person wearing it but others around them. Once I started to share I heard from one girlfriend that her son, after its use was taken to the doctor for major skin eruptions and was told one testicle was enlarged and the other one was shriveling. Another friend whose son had used Old Spice body spray had just been told by his doctor that he had an enlarged testicle that required surgery, not a welcome revelation at any age, let alone 18. I took my son’s 3 products (shampoo, body wash and spray) and threw them in the trash.
He was outraged but considering our lifestyle I don’t know why he was surprised. Several weeks later the next evidence was that I found a charge for iTunes on my bank account that he had “found” his way into without my permission and specifically against 3 times I told him I would never attach my bank account to iTunes.
He had been given a friend’s old iPhone without my consent last summer but once he had it I figured as long as he didn’t have a phone account and could just use it for free apps and the camera, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Knowing the dangers of EMFs and how high powered iPhones are I would not allow him to have an account that would not only be cost prohibitive but would have him putting that powerful transmitter to his head. Of course many parents allow children who are younger and younger to use them, I don’t happen to be one of them. There’s more to the story but suffice to say that the iPhone has become a bone of contention since he misappropriated my account for its benefit.
I took the iPhone from him and illustrated all the correspondent issues and reasons for which he was receiving the consequences he was and thought he understood the situation at that point in time.
The next morning after he left for school, I got into the shower to find that there on the shelf, were Axe shampoo and body wash. I was dumbfounded and wondered if I’d had a stroke! After the events of the last evening I simply could not believe that I was finding products I had forbidden just a few weeks before! I was at a loss for how not to just flip my lid quite honestly. I had the day to think about it while he was in school and thoughts of my elder son’s life reeled through my head as they had the night before. Suffice to say I had ended up needing to protect myself against my elder son’s financial disrespect as he went into his teens and did not want to have the second coming of that with this son.
My thoughts went to what I had been learning from Matt Kahn and his offering that loving yourself more is always the answer so I was challenged with what that would look like in the real world. I expected since I found 2 products at home that the body spray would be in his locker at school so he could still use it and escape my notice. I had him called to the office in school before the final bell and walked him to his locker to see if the body spray was there. He said it wasn’t but we went to check. There was no body spray, as it turned out instead of purchasing replacements he had just gotten in the trash to retrieve the shower products but the body spray was messy so he didn’t get it. Instead I found his tablet in his locker and told him that would need a ride home because he wouldn’t be using it in school.
He was aggravated and embarrassed but only one person actually saw that his Mom was checking into his locker. I told him he had a sure way to never have it happen again. On the way out of the school I apologized to him. I told him that I must have neglected his needs for him to have acted out to this extent to get my attention. I told him that since technology was causing a distraction in our relationship it would have to be removed so we could spend more quality time together. I had obligations that evening but provided a jigsaw puzzle for him so he could be right in the next room and not bored. He chose to do his homework instead.
Once my obligation was complete I had him help me fix dinner instead of playing games while I did it all and told him afterward it was time for him to learn to wash the dishes in hot water without burning himself since he’d already been putting the dishes away for a couple of years. As we were elbow to elbow at the sink I told him that I didn’t think we’d been spending nearly enough time together and that I missed him so I was really appreciative of him creating this opportunity for us to have this quality time together.
I told him he would be able to snuggle into Mom’s bed (he loves my king sized pillow top and dual electric blanket in these NY below 0 temps) that night since he wouldn’t have the technology to use as an alarm clock, that I’d get up and make breakfast for him if he wanted (he’s in middle school and long since taking care of that himself) and I would even be sure to throw on a house coat over my night gown and slippers before I walked him to the bus stop because I wanted him and everyone else to know that I was there for him every minute! His response, “Oh my God Mom, shoot me in the head now!” I said, “Ohh, are you sad? Come here, I’ll give you a hug!” There’s so much more to the story but that will have to be Part 2, look for that in the near future.