I was with a mom recently who said something I think most new parents can relate to: “I just want to teach her everything, and I don’t want to screw her up!”
We’ll probably all screw up our kids somehow, and screw up other people’s kids while we’re at it. I’ve been at this Mom Game for only ten years, so I’m certainly no expert. But one saving grace I’ve received from astrology is the insight that I don’t actually have to teach Lyndon everything. There will be things he needs to know that I’ll be extremely good at teaching him. There will be things I know that he won’t ever have to learn. And there will be things he needs to know that other people can teach him. Thank God — that takes a tiny bit of the pressure off.
I actually think that family members teach each other, and with a little humility and awareness, we develop together into the people we’re meant to be. Knowing Lyndon’s birth chart very much tailors the way that I parent him. I’m raising an Aquarius boy with a Libra Moon and Pisces rising. His Moon and rising signs, as well as the rest of his chart, are all really important information for me as his Mom. But if you’re not all that into astrology, even knowing just the Sun sign can help.
Lyndon is here to develop an Aquarian identity or purpose. He is learning the path of the Individual, the Genius, the Awakener. Since we all have every sign somewhere in our chart, as long as I honor the Aquarian energy in Lyndon, he helps to awaken the Aquarian parts of my chart. In general, Lyndon gives me permission to be a little quirkier, a little bit more myself. He’s without judgment when it comes to those qualities, and I honestly think that he came at a time when I needed to accept an original path myself. With Aquarius on the cusp of my 11th and 12th houses, my right goals, groups, and spiritual peace depend on my individuation, and yet I can so easily stifle who I really am in order to fit a more traditional script. Lyndon gives me a chance to explore my own uniqueness and to make sure that I don’t heap societal pressures onto him. As an Aquarian, he’s not here to fit a mold.
Lyndon’s Sun and mine happen to be in easy aspect to each other, so the Aquarius he’s becoming doesn’t get in the way of the Sagittarius I’m becoming. We get each other. In many ways, we energize each other. But that’s not always the case for parents and children. Sometimes, what family members need or happen to be learning can be at cross purposes. When that happens, parents can just try for empathy, compassion, and integration, while they look to the “village” around them to fill in the blanks.
Even with harmonious Sun signs, Lyndon and I do have our challenges. It’s not always fun and games, “Free to Be You and Me” at all times in our relationship. So, for astrology to truly help, just knowing Sun signs isn’t enough for me to understand what feels hard or uncomfortable about parenting Lyndon. I need to look at his whole chart and mine. The toughest challenge I see is our opposing Moons. A 7th House Libra agenda of diplomacy, fairness, and sociability underlies Lyndon’s overall mood and makes him happy; a 1st House Aries agenda of survival, action, and adventure underlies mine.
“WhyDoWeHaveToHaveThisConversationWhenIJustNeedYouToTieYourShoesAndGoToSchool?!” That’s often my mood. And it’s not always kind or productive. I live in a world with other people, and other people are not necessarily opponents — but I don’t naturally see that on my own. And so the hurt or confused look on Lyndon’s face when I push too hard gives me valuable information to scale it back. Everything doesn’t have to be a battle or a crisis, and I don’t always have to be in charge. He teaches me to be more considerate. At the same time, Lyndon can be so concerned with honoring everyone around him that he forgets to share his own voice or take action. That’s where my Aries energy can help. “What do you want, Lyndon? What’s important to you?” He already knows how to be nice. From me he’s learning how to be brave.
We work on this every day, and for the most part, it’s fine because we love each other, because so many other parts of our charts are harmonious, and because of the awareness that astrology as a practice gives me. Lyndon and I are teaching each other. But as we learn this 1st House/7th House, Aries/Libra axis together, it takes space and discernment to make sure our natural tendencies don't keep us both from growing. Lyndon's instinct to worry and to look to a partner for help can trigger my Mama Bear instinct to rush in to save him. His sweetness can make other people think I'm right to protect him fiercely. I've gotten the balance wrong, like when I stoically charged through Lyndon's first year of colic without asking for more help, or screamed at the neighborhood kid who bullied Lyndon when he was three years old. Neither was my finest moment – as a parent or a human being. But I've gotten it right, too: like the time I wrote a very sweet note to Lyndon's teacher explaining the significance of his name, which she had gotten wrong for weeks. He had finally been brave enough to raise his hand in class and say, "It's Lyndon, not London," and so he was crushed when his teacher casually responded, "Whatever." My instinct was to storm up to school to yell at her, but I tried to build a bridge instead. Because I didn't alienate and shame her, the teacher not only learned his name but also used the opportunity to teach the class about presidents and Civil Rights. Lyndon felt validated and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Even though Lyndon and I both benefit from this mutual growth, sometimes enough is enough. Integrating our opposing energies can be exhausting for both of us. That’s when we need help from the village. Like Lyndon, my mother also happens to have a Libra Moon. So, when I'm tired of all this talking and together time (and Lyndon is no doubt tired of all this action and self-assertion), Grandma swoops in to give me the alone time that my soul needs and the easygoing peace that Lyndon needs. If I thought I had to adapt fully to Lyndon’s emotional needs, or if I thought he had to adapt fully to mine, one of us would suffer greatly, and neither of us would feel true connection or peace.
So, new parents and not-so-new parents, I just want to say that your child matters — but you do, too. It’s okay not to be all things to your child. It’s okay to learn from your child. And while you’re trying your best with the tools that happen to help you, just remember that in this big, diverse world, the right teachers will show up for both of you.