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Tonight, I watched Mommie Dearest, and it made me cry. I sat up in my bed and cried during the infamous "No more wire hangers" scene. I'll be honest with you, I'm not exactly sure why I cried. Obviously I cried because I was watching Christina - the daughter - be beaten with a wire hanger...but I was also crying because I was watching what utter lack of control, self knowledge and the inability to understand one's emotions can do. Of course, this is an extreme reaction, but who is to say that these things can't actually happen?
I remember, a long time ago, when I had four under four - and it was HARD. I remember going into my bathroom to cry, because I didn't know how to do it all. I always felt lonely and alone during this time. My family was far away, my husband worked all of the time, just to bring in the bacon, and I was alone all day long with four small children, and you know what? I know what it's like to be furious and exhausted. To be so angry at my situation that I didn't know what to do.
For the longest time, I had to crawl through the trenches, and relearn everything that I thought I knew about myself, so that I could become a different kind of human being, one step at a time, I had to turn myself around to be the best mother for my kids - I didn't want to turn into that (Mommie Dearest)...and I learned that the hardest struggle that I had to overcome was myself. The story that I'd told myself for so long.
I had to rewrite patterns, change my reactions, and release old habits. You see, I learned that many of the things that I was struggling with, were in fact not truths, but merely beliefs that I was holding on to. Beliefs like:
Although this movie is an extreme example, the truth is that we all loose it is at times, and react in ways that at our best, we would never consider. We all have moments of frustrations, and self doubt, it's only natural. The trick is to use these moments to learn more about yourself, and your child, and the key factor to learning from yourself is HONESTY. Learning to understand why I felt the way that I did. Learning to understand the purpose for my reaction. Taking responsibility for the reactions, feelings and thoughts that lead to my reaction, and understanding where it came from. You see, if I did not learn to be honest with my feelings, myself, and my children, how was I supposed to change?
Being as transparent as possible. When you're honest with yourself (your actions, the reasons, and reaction) you can begin to understand, heal and move forward. When you're honest with yourself, believe it or not, you understand your child and life in a completely different way. Yes. It takes courage. It takes strength to live in such a open/raw manner, but when you take this step: learning to ask yourself why or why not, a different world opens up for you, and you can begin to live...with no BS in between - and then you can start to live the life that you want, for yourself and your children.
Do you want to learn more?
Or share your thoughts below. I would love to hear them..
Image found via Pinterest
I've been wondering if its possible to discipline my child without disciplining myself. For the last few weeks, I have been having some trouble with one of my older children. She is growing up, and the tension of her inner world, is bubbling up into our family life, creating havoc. I will admit, that when this first started happening, I was shaken to the core. She has been angry, combative, and stubborn. Now, it’s easy to hear this, and classify this behavior as bad, or some label whose connotation feels the same as the word bad, but I know my child. I know that she is nurturing and kind. She is the kind of person that cares about why her baby brother is crying and tries to do what’s in her power to help him out. She is the kind of kid that cares about dogs in shelters that she’s never seen in person, and whose goal it is to build a shelter for abused or lost dogs, and homeless people…this angry person is not my child.
Believe me when I tell you that my first feeling was anger. I became upset when this started to happen. Why is she behaving in this manner? Did I do something wrong? Is there something that she needs that I am not providing…all of those typical mom guilt feelings running through my mind. The first instance hurt me deeply. I cried. I admit that it hurt my feelings. I cried a lot. This is not something that I am used to receiving from her. The second instance, I realized that that preteen age is serious and that I have to learn to understand – I looked for help. I consulted with a mom who I admire very much, and asked for advice, while I scoured the Internet for anything that can give me answers. I found this great article, regarding the changes that 9 year olds go through. The article explains that this is a critical age, in which the world of a child is starting to be left behind for the world of a more conscious teen/adult. She is basically in a stage of development where children begin to question themselves and their place in the world. Eureka!
With this new understanding I began to perceive what she is going through, and see it in a different way. It’s easy for us moms to take things personally at times. When our children begin to react to things, as human BE-ings, it’s easy to latch onto something that causes us hurt and react in ways that we know. In fact this is where she learned this behavior from, it’s a learned behavior from my own childhood. Watching her struggle with these big feelings, and her lack of understanding has reminded me that, this is an old family reaction that I’ve decided to end; reacting to things without fully understanding them: reacting to feelings without knowing their origins: and reacting to others with anger when there are so many emotions inside, and allowing them bubble up to the surface.
You see, my beautiful, kind, nurturing kid learned this as a child – how to react without understanding, because it’s how I started out as a mother, because it’s also what I learned as a child. Watching her struggle with this has reminded me of two things:
1. She is my reason for learning to do different, because I will not continue those patterns, and
2. This is a never ending process where we all grow and learn from each other - learning to silence the emotions and old story is an important part of the process.
Because this is what I taught her in the beginning - how to react when one is scared of not understanding of situations, it is my job to stay balanced. Balanced so that I can help her understand and create different associations, learning to react in different ways. She reminds me of why I must continue to fight my old stories so that I do not revert to being that mom that does not understand and does not connect. She reminds me of the true meaning of discipline: to teach, and guide - to learn about myself, so that I can show her different possibilities. You see, the discipline in this situation has nothing to do with shaming her or making her feel guilty for being human, but has everything to do with me having self discipline, so that I don’t continue to react to her hurt and her cries for help in negative ways. The self-discipline to quiet those voices fuelled by past experience that say that I have to guilt, shame, yell back, or control.
I am always learning and growing, and have made it my life’s mission to continue to release old stories that no longer work, so that I can show my children a better way: understanding that I hold the key, and that I can show them that different ways are possible… we don’t have to continue in ways that we know - we can strive for better.
My action plan, while this period of change happens, is to connect with her as much as possible. Without reacting to the things that she is feeling. Helping her to understand her inner world, I will show her healthy boundaries, and show her how to release those feelings that she is learning about through a medium that she loves ex. music, art, reading, or writing – the choice is hers, while I walk her through her growing process.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ….
Image found via lifehack.org
Understanding her silent plight is opening up in me, the desire to connect with her more, while I grow to become the mother that I always wanted to be. I strive to quiet the voices that tell me that they are not worthy of loving connection, even though they are human – one challenge, one child, one moments at a time.
I would love to hear from you in the comments. What are your tricks or tips to connect, or to understand.
Also, if you found this post inspirational or helpful in any way - or knows anyone that needs to read this, like and share! :)
The key to spiritual growth through your child is to learn from them and with them. It’s so simple, yet so hard. We have so many stories in our heads about what parenting should or should not be that we often forget that our hearts know the answers, too.
In my observation, the biggest problem between parents and children is the lack of understanding: from the parent to the child. We just don’t know how to relate to our children. Somewhere along the way, we’ve become seriously disconnected – and this disconnect is causing serious harm to our ability to bond with our children.
Stories and beliefs that we hear or observe as children, play a big role in the way that we see our children. Unfortunately for some of our children the lack of understanding, observation and listening skills, is pulling us apart from our primal instincts and joys as parents: to naturally guide our children into adulthood, while allowing them to show us the glory of life.
When I talk to my clients and to mothers in general, one of my favorite stories to hear are the stories of their children’s births, because I've learned that when we listen to these stories, we learn so much about our children and who they are. We learn about their personalities, their traits and demeanors, just by observing our births and *pregnancies. For instance, my first child is very fun loving, free spirited and caring. Her birth was in a birthing center, and was beautiful. I was in a protected loving space, where I was allowed to birth naturally, at my own pace - her arriving at the time that was deemed appropriate to her own (and cosmic) timing. These are all words and descriptions that fit my daughter’s personality. My twins’ birth however, was via c-section: medical, exact and effective - they are just like this. They are old souls, and are extremely direct, logical are literal. They are the kind of people who say what they mean and mean what they say and carry hearts of gold to match. They instinctively know when to hug someone versus when to leave them in peace. During rough times or long days, remembering these things often takes me out of a funky moment, and allows me to align with who they are as people - allowing me to taylor my response to a need according to their personalities.
There is a beautiful story written in birth psychology, which describes the bond and understanding that child and mother share starting before birth and continuing after. It talks about how the mothers of an African tribe go off to sit under a tree after they've decided to have child, to that they can hear the song of their child. I think that this may be one of the key components needed in our current relationships with our children: the connection and understanding of their songs. When I stop struggling with my children and listen to them I realize that already know how to handle various situations in gentle, peaceful and connected way. We can forget that our children are conscious and deeply aware people, who come with their own guidance. We can forget during errands and to do’s, or feelings and memories of behaviors and battles. But, I believe that when we allow them to be who they are, while observing them with love, they blossom and grow into beautiful people. When we allow our relationship to take the forefront - remembering the natural flow of their energies, while allowing them to help us release our old stories, we gain more than we loose. Learning to be mindful, and remember that we all come with an inner guidance and map: being respectful of this, and trusting that we are born with the tools that we need to become our greatest selves, can set us mammas free – because we are reminded by our children, to trust the process, while connecting to our divine knowing and goddess.
Disconnection creates emotional responses from both, but understanding and connection help us blossom and grow – we just have to remember to listen to their songs, like the mothers in the African tribe.
Do you want to share you story and birth with us? Have you become aware of knowing your child through pregnancy and birth? I would love to hear your story in our comment section below :) Feel free to share, mamma!
*I've written about my meeting my children through pregnancy and birth HERE, under "Violet's Story," if you'd like to read more.