Enter: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
Within the first few pages, I felt such an overwhelming relief that I couldn’t help the tears from swelling up in my eyes. I feel like this may be the answer that I have been so desperately searching for, the guidance that I truly needed.
So far, what I’ve gotten from the book is that most of the way you parent comes from your own childhood experiences. This has ignited the light bulb in my mind and brought out some of the deepest memories of mine. I tend to try and erase all memories of my teenage years and younger years so when these memories appeared so vivid in my brain, it brought some serious emotions as well. As a child, I remember my mother always telling me to stop whining. I don’t blame her, when Andrew whines, it drives me absolutely bonkers.
Yet, now that I can look back and reflect on the possible issues that may have been cause by this simple phrase my mother always repeated to me, I realize it could have contributed to how I am today as an adult. I suddenly became aware that it indeed had a profound influence on the person I was molded into. As an adult, I constantly deal with issues related to communication. Someone confronts me with an issues? I freeze up. My husband wants to talk to me about something that may be bothering him? The cat got my tongue. It’s as if I can no longer speak.
After reading the first section of Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids, I truly believe that part of the reason I have such a problem with communication is because of my childhood and how my mother reacted to me when I was “acting out.” When I needed to express my feelings to my mother as a child, I was immediately shut down by her telling me to stop whining. That whining was me needing my mother.
My needs were not met. So, I learned to keep everything in.
This has been an extremely difficult thing for me to deal with growing up — and now — and it is incredibly hard for me to express how I truly feel to the people who are closest to me. It has affected my personal relationships with previous boyfriends, friends, etc. It still affects my relationship with my husband and now I feel like it is affecting my relationship with my son. Because when he needs me, I tell him to be quiet.
You see, it’s a vicious cycle.
Before I go any further, I want to make one thing clear and that is that I officially forgive my mother for being that way with me. I forgive her because I know she did not mean to. She did not know better and was doing the best she could with what she knew. This does not make her any less of a mother and this certainly does not make me any less of a mother.
Nonetheless, it is my job to break that vicious cycle with my son. No matter how hard it may be to stay calm when he has me at my wits end. No matter how hard it is to listen to my son cry and whine about not getting his way for the millionth time of the day. I will break the cycle and I believe it starts with understanding my issues, learning to become more at peace with myself, and making sure my soul is satisfied.
In Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids — the author Dr. Laura Markham — states as a parent, we should keep our own cups full. I don’t know about you, but I know for me, my cup has a few drops in it. I put myself on the back burner 99% of the time which is something that I think is natural to do as a parent and as a wife.
However, this simple act of putting ourselves on the backburner — by far — is the most destructive thing a mother could ever do for herself and for her family. I often say that I feel as if my fire inside has been burnt out and I don’t know who I am anymore. It is a huge struggle for me to deal with and every day, I feel like I don’t know the person looking at me in the mirror. I feel uptight and serious all the time which makes my heart feel hard and cold. I don’t know how to relax any more and I only know how to give tough love.
But I’m ready to change because it is completely affecting my whole life, for the worse. I feel like I am dangling off of a cliff and at any moment, I feel as if I just want to let go. I truly believe how your outer world is perceived is a direct reflection on how your inner self feels.
Does your inner self feel uptight? Depressed? Sad? Serious? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Negative?
Chances are, those feelings are reflecting out to the world around you and you may be dealing with lots of negativity, stress, overwhelming circumstances, sadness in day to day activities and never feeling you can actually relax and enjoy life.
Chances are, also, that it is directly affecting your relationship with your child(ren). How could you possibly give your child everything they need if you have nothing to give? How could you give compassion, understanding, patience and love if your soul feels the opposite?
I know for me, I have nothing left to give and that is not the way I want to feel. I want to give my child an abundance of love, understanding, compassion, happiness. I want to fill Andrew’s life up to the fullest and I want him to feel connected with me. I want him to come to me for security, for a cuddle, for a laugh and even for a cry because at that point, he will have full confidence that I will love him no matter what.
So how does one work on their inner self so the inner soul can radiate positivity to everyone around?
I think the first step is working on filling that cup of yours and making it a priority. This is not to say to put your child second but it is to be consciously aware of needing to set even a few hours aside each week to have for yourself.
Personally, I do absolutely nothing for myself. I’ll be lucky if I remember to brush my teeth by 3pm, some days I don’t even shower when I need to, my hair always goes up in a bun, yoga pants are my normal attire and I don’t even set time aside for me. Friends? Ha! Yeah right! I had a couple really close friends that are SAHM’s in California but since we’ve moved I haven’t met anyone I truly connect with, like I did in CA. The friends I do have here in Florida are either 45 minutes away or don’t have kids which can be difficult when trying to arrange times to get together. I don’t ever read anymore (until this book came along), I don’t do anything that I love and I hardly ever just sit and take mindful breaths.
I told my husband this morning that every Saturday when he does not have to work, I am going to get up early, get myself ready and go to a local coffee shop, buy myself a latte and spend a couple hours doing whatever I want to do, by myself.
I’m going to stay on the look out for yoga package prices and when I see a good deal, I am going to jump on it. I am not going to make any excuses about how the money could be spent on groceries, on whatever else I can find to make an excuse at the time and just do it. My happiness is important. It’s time for me to acknowledge that and take charge of how I want my life to be.
The alone time for me will be invaluable in my inner healing journey and will be an immense help in my journey to become a more mindful, connected, passionate, and peaceful parent.
I am excited to not put myself on the back burner anymore. I am looking forward to continue reading the book and putting the things I learn into practice. I will buy the audio version so my husband can listen to it in the car since we are in this together.
I am hopeful for a positive change and most of all, I am hopeful for a sense of connectedness that seems ever so desolate right now.
p.s. This is just the beginning of peaceful parenting posts on Healthy Roots, Happy Soul. With each new step, discovery, and setback, I will be documenting it on here in hopes to help anyone else dealing with the same struggle I am.