oh perspective… you tricky beast

November 19, 2009 at 5:00 am 2 comments

Xi and I sat on either side of a table today looking at the cell phone I use. It was facing toward me.

Xi said: Nallie, that looks wrong! It’s upside down.

I said, to demonstrate the concept: No, it’s right.

Then we spun it around and she said: Now it’s right.

I said: If I see wrong and you see right, is there really any plain old right or wrong?

She said: Nope. Only right for me, or right for you. Or wrong for me, or wrong for you. It just depends on who’s looking at it.

Aaah. Perspective.

Well now I’ll leap to the topic currently on my mind: co-parenting. I’m not talking about the kind of parenting that two parents do under the same roof. I’m talking about when two parents split up, and continue to parent “together”, while living under two different roofs.

Our family, as I’ve mentioned before, is a modern one. There is one papa, three girls, three mothers, and three different homes. So let’s just illustrate this more clearly, that is at least four distinct perspectives. If you add in our best friends, parents, or boyfriends, the number of perspectives concerning these girls can feel overwhelming.

The tricky thing about parenting everybody, for me, is that my own opinion feels right no matter how much intellectual distance I manage to achieve. I do an exercise demonstrating perspective with Xi in the morning, but by the evening lose track of that very concept, and find myself shaking my head wondering why the other parent is making the completely wrong choice.

Okay, no one is right or wrong. Perhaps the other parent is making the choices that feel absolutely right for them. I very stubbornly make room for this to be true. But I still have feelings about it.

This is how I currently feel about recent moves by a co-parent:

frustrated, annoyed, mad, irritated, sad, appalled, unsettled, displeased, tired, guarded, and troubled.

This is how I feel about these beautiful girls:

open hearted, tender, sympathetic, enchanted, amazed, thankful, tickled, pleased, trusting, and loving.

With these feelings on one hand and the other feelings on the other hand, it sure is tempting to turn on the fierceness of a mama tiger and just….. just do what? That’s the kicker.

I guess I will continue to revisit perspective exercises and use them not just on cell phones, but on my own life. I’ll use them even when all the data stacks up on my side, and even when my emotions are yanking me toward a sense of righteousness.

Oh, and empathy of course. For me, for them, for Nathan, and for the girls.

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Entry filed under: empathy, life lessons. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

it doesn’t have to be difficult newbies

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Beth  |  November 19, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Thank you for allowing yourself to be exactly where you are and for allowing it to be seen. This makes space for everyone whose lives you touch to do the same. I especially thank you for showing your feelings and needs around parenting with other mothers in your kids’ lives. This is the reality of many women’s lives, including my own. I benefit greatly from beholding your truth and process. In gratitude,
    Beth

    Reply
  • 2. Ivy  |  November 19, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I think having perspective is the only way you can truly empathize. You need to be able to see things from different points of view. You don’t, however, have to like what you see.

    Reply

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