Are you Parenting a Fantasy Child?

Are you Parenting a Fantasy Child?

Have you found yourself caught up in the trap of parenting a fantasy child, rather than your actual child? 

“Happiness is Letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything it is”
Mandy Hale

I have recently been following the lovely Joshua Becker (becomingminimalist.com) as he guides over 5,000 people worldwide to let go of their clutter and become minimalist. For some unknown reason (that much amuses my husband) decluttering fascinates me! We have to do it, to a certain extent, in our little Swiss apartment so that we don’t drown in stuff and trip over ourselves in the hallway!

On this course Joshua Becker introduced me to Francine Jay and her Huffington Post blog about decluttering and the “Fantasy Self”. This is an ideal version of you that, sometime in the future, will do all kinds of wonderful sports/ crafts/ travel …… you name it! We buy fantastic gadgets for this ‘Fantasy Self’ and tell ourselves that we will do this or that ……… and our homes become fuller and fuller and fuller! For example, my confession is that I have a food dehydrator. My ‘Fantasy Self’ is an excellent and healthy cook that makes all kinds of wondrous recipes. But I’m not. I have lots of lovely thoughts about this me, but it never happens (and my gadget collects dust in the cupboard!).

It that is at the root of it all: I have some nice thoughts about how I “should” or “could” be. They are not me: they are my “Fantasy Self”: a lovely little world that I have constructed in my head with the power of my thinking. The problem is that these thoughts take me over and I find myself shopping for this “Fantasy Self”! I have found this random construct of my mind also has a bizarre taste in clothes: clothes that never get worn!

Now that I have been shown the trick behind the magician’s curtain I have started to notice when I have genuine needs, or the siren call of the “Fantasy Self”. I have learnt to see through my thinking to who I actually am and what she actually needs, rather than what I think she needs. This gives me space to be grateful for what I do have, rather than what my ‘Fantasy Self’ will need in the future!

I also notice that, in my mind, I have constructed a ‘Fantasy Self’ for my daughter as well. This ‘Fantasy Child’ does all kinds of amazing things, including devouring with relish her stacks of reading books (and of course, tidying her room). But she doesn’t. Mainly because she is who is she. I buy tons of books for the Fantasy Child without actually acknowledging the child I have! Amazing what our thoughts create! Amazing that we believe our Fantasy Child to be more real than the one we actually have (and spend money accordingly). Such is the power of thinking!

Instead, I give gratitude for the ‘Child That Is’. I get out of my head, out of my thinking, and see what is truly before me, rather than the Fantasy Child. When I truly see, I wouldn’t want it any other way: as I am so in love with reality, I am so in love with my actual child.

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4 Comments

  1. Haha! Interesting post. I don’t do this so much now, but before my daughter was born my due date would make her a Leo and I constructed a whole personality based on that! Then she ended up being two weeks late and was a Virgo instead, whoops! I also notice how I often project my childhood difficulties onto her when in reality she is a completely different oerson to me. Our fantasies are definetly so different to our actual children.

    Reply
    • Kate, you hit on a key point there: the projection of our own childhood difficulties. I notice that when I am waiting for my daughter outside her school I project the behaviour of some of the children as bullying. They are not, but old old thoughts are coming to the surface and clouding my ability to “see” the scene as it really is. It is easy to think our child as “introverted” or “worrier” etc…. rather than see who they actually are. Thank you for raising this!

      Reply
  2. Great post Tammy!

    Reply
    • Thank you!

      Reply

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