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  • Reparenting: Is it just gonna turn you a big ole baby?

    Self Portrait with his Wife Sanneke van Bommel and their two Children, Hendrik Spilman, 1761–1784, Rijksmuseum
    A guy I know had a baby quite late in life. This happened after his first set of kids were already grown. So he was actually old enough to be this child's grandfather. I never questioned him about this - I hope I just listened! always! - but I remember him, as he strapped the baby into a stroller, intoning the words I am prepared to face society's disapproval.

    I am thinking of his words again in light of my own new obsession: Reparenting. 

    I want to say I had heard the word before a couple months ago. I think? But it had not seized hold of me. Now it has, and I’m seeing all life through its lens.Probably reparenting is not a new idea to you. But in case it is, we're not talking about the kind of reparenting where you have a second set of kids, and get it rightthis time, by gum!

    I mean reparenting yourself. F
    inishing the job for the unfinished parts of you. Parts that weren’t adequately parented, on account of your parents being inadequately parented and therefore not fully hip to the duties or techniques of parenting, or on account of their not being present - addicted, depressed, dead, what have you - or just still growing up themselves, which is a process that having children accelerates and perhaps completes.So reparenting is more like rebirthing - which I believe is quite dead, as a movement - except it's about what comes next. It's consciously filling the gaps, such as learning how to eat better, instead of assuming all such knowledge is innate and only needs to be allowed to surface.Now as I do various things to reparent myself - casting no aspersions whatsoever on my own actual parents, may they be happy forever - I have noticed this: The process can be quite irritating to other people.

    Here are two things I have heard in reaction to various things I have tried out, such as going to bed on a schedule, or eating a very balanced meal:
    Wow, you’re kind of a big baby, huh?andWow, you’re kinda like an old lady, huh?

    And my answer - which I might not say out loud, because who cares - is NO. I’M KINDA LIKE A GROWNUP.

    Because that is the purpose of reparenting. It is not self-care for a pedicure’s sake, or sticking to a schedule for predictability’s sake. It is GROWING UP for the sake of making it possible to live life more fully. 
    And people who seek to live life more fully might want to prepare to face society’s disapproval.

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