Parenting in default mode
If you want to see default mode on roids, become a parent. Never in your life will you have more people giving you their opinion about the only way to do things. Sure, there are alternatives, people challenging the norm, but they’re often drowned out by the sounds of popular opinion. This, coupled with sleep deprivation, not knowing what you’re doing and abject fear of seriously screwing up your off-spring, means switching to default mode is easy.
Way before we became parents, we went on holiday to Zanzibar at a time when the foreign office had declared it a ‘dodgy’ travel at your own peril area. We packed our malaria tablets and spent a week in a beach hut with cold showers, locals and not a lot else to do but hop on the dive boat and eat roasted cashews. It was bliss. While we were there, we noticed a couple with a young baby who were obviously passionate divers. They spent their mornings exploring the ocean while their baby was looked after by the lovely local ladies at our lodge. Then in the afternoons, they would all hang out together. I remember at the time saying how aspirational they were, how they were still living life to the full and exploring the world as a family. That’ll be us I thought!
Fast forward to the point my dairy and soya intolerant daughter is a year old and we’re sitting on a laptop perusing tots go too luxury holidays where you can enjoy a multitude of child-friendly mod cons and conveniences including UK Ofsted approved kids clubs and gated pools. What the hell happened!?!
Fear and doubt happened…coupled with switching to default mode.
Now I’m not saying we would take off to a malaria-ridden, no travel zone with my daughter but my point is we veered so far away from it that we started to lose who we were and what made us come alive. Patterns and habits can kick in and over time it becomes more and more difficult to see freedom and choice. And then school starts and whoa! More opinion, rules, benchmarks and keeping up with everyone else.
But, all this isn’t the only option or ‘truth’, it’s simply society's ideas and the majority opinion.
Seeing beyond default
Friends of ours recently moved back to South Africa with their 7-year-old daughter. Of course, they were worried about the disruption but they could see beyond the mill they were in and they knew that the idea of freedom, choice and possibility were as important for their daughter as a stable education. They navigated their way through and they’re thriving.
I’m not saying we should all up sticks and move to Botswana, or that stress free luxury holidays are bad (I’m up for one of those), what I’m saying is that challenging our limiting beliefs about what is and isn’t possible for us, shaking up habits and patterns, can help us to connect with who we are and what we want. When we reconnect, we’re able to switch into create mode and create a life we love.
Default mode is believing…
“It’s just the way it is…It’s just the way I am”
But like society’s rules, beliefs are just concepts that we’ve chosen to adopt. They’re not universal ‘truths’ or ‘reality’ but they can seriously limit life unless we see them for what they are.
It’s my belief that the most empowering thing we can do is to play in the mill, in society, but not be ‘had’ by it. An unlimited life is about living your way and on your terms.