I’ve been giving a lot of thought to parenting.
I’m not a parent myself—at least not to humans. So I defer to all those parents out there. But I am a dog parent. And a business parent. And a parent to myself.
We don’t often talk about business in the context of parenting—though the metaphors out there are endless. We talk about our business as our “baby.” We talk about nurturing and tending to the business.
It’s absolutely parenting. So what kind of parent are you to your business?
I’ve given a lot of thought to this question. And, truthfully, I wasn’t a very good one at first. I wanted to objectify my business. I wanted to see it as a means of making me money. Something I could love only conditionally.
I loved it when it made me money. I didn’t when it didn’t. I was fed up with it. I was frustrated with it. I’d demand things from it but never really ask what it needed from me.
I wanted my business to be precocious. To be growing fast for its age. There was so much I had internalized about the value of precociousness. And rather than accepting the business as its own being, I told it what I wanted it to become.
And that wasn’t far off from how I parented myself. I’d see exhaustion as a weakness. Why couldn’t I be more productive and efficient like others? I saw value only in results—in what I could accomplish.
In the last few weeks, I’ve heard two very different stories of parenting from clients. One told me that her parents set impossible expectations that she could never live up to realistically. And so she was always a disappointment and failure. Because they wanted her to be someone else. They wished she were someone else. And they could never love her.
The other told me that she had a challenging childhood, so when she and her husband decided to raise kids, they vowed to see them as fully formed, subjective beings. And their job was never to set expectations or condition them one way or the other, but rather to just nurture them to unfold into who they already are.
Two very different experiences. And it made me wonder—which type of parent am I being? And which do I want to be?
Yesterday, I cleared my schedule and rested. I let go of so many things I had to do. I pushed it all aside. And I did things for me. Like get a haircut. And catch up on laundry. And watch trashy TV. And clean the house. And run essential oils.
I rested until I couldn’t stand to rest any longer. And the crazy thing is I answer all my e-mails—not because I had to, but because I wanted to. And I caught up on Facebook posts I needed to respond to. And finished admin projects that had been on the backburner.
And, through a day of extreme rest, I got everything I needed to done. It wasn’t my intention. But the more I rested, the more I wanted to.
In fact, I got more done yesterday than I have in weeks. Because I subjectified myself. I parented myself based on what I needed. And I listened to myself.
When my dogs are misbehaving or acting out of the ordinary, I don’t immediately shame and punish them. I figure out what’s going on. I listen to them in the ways I know how. Fortunately, being with them all day helps me know their mannerisms and expressions and language.
And then I communicate with them based on their needs and mine to make it work. Sometimes I have to honor my needs more. Sometimes I have space to honor theirs more. But I always listen.
So many of us—myself included—have objectified and shamed our businesses. We’ve demanded they give us money like kidnappers demanding a ransom. We’ve yelled at them in frustration. Wishing they were someone else. Maybe, on some level, wishing we were someone else.
And, all the while, we could choose to see them as our children in some ways. As these subjective entities that have their own needs and wisdom. That can tell us what is and isn’t working for them. What they need from us.
Subjects use objects. But subjects have relationships with other subjects.
If all is Divine, then all is subjective. And it’s my personal experience that the more we subjectify (and not objectify), the more we can see our own Divinity and that of the world around us.
Can we see our business, our money, our home, our clothing, our whatever as subjective entities? Can we parent them? Can we check in on what type of parent we’ve been? And what type of parent we want to be?
Avoiding looking at finances probably isn’t the parent we want to be. And hating our business probably isn’t the parent we want to be. And being resentful for having to write a blog post probably isn’t the parent we want to be.
So what does the parent you want to be do? And can you be that much of a parent to yourself?
Through parenting myself with love, I’ve learned to love myself deeper. Through parenting my business with love, I’ve learned to love my business deeper.
How will you parent all the things in your life?