02 Feb Parents are Human Too! by Brooks Haislip
I used to have this image of myself as being Supermom with multiple children frolicking around me with huge smiles on their faces, myself at ease and radiant all the time.” Ha ha ha!!! I can now laugh out loud at that idea! Parenthood is INTENSE- yes, intensely amazing, wonderful and filled with all the goo-goo and gah-gah sweet, heart-melting moments EVERYONE talks about, and, YES, one of the most humbling, life-altering, burliest teachers of my life, which I feel like NO ONE talks about. Perhaps not talking about the difficulties of parenthood is why we think it is is supposed to be easy? Perhaps, since it’s in our nature to procreate this should be natural? Perhaps, over time, you forget how trying it can be at times because overall the joys outweigh the melt-down moments? In any case, I am in the middle of it as a mom of a 23-month old, so my perspective on this is raw.
A few “I am definitely NOT Supermom” reality checks- an attempt to use dog food as laundry detergent, punching my parents’ alarm code into ours over and over again 100% certain I was punching in the right one until the alarm went off and the police came, multiple days of being so tired by 9 am that I would crawl in bed and sob during morning nap time and the numerous “I feel like a beast mom I said I would never be” times I have lost my temper and yelled at my son. As many parents are doing today, I too can digress into negative coping ways, like doing too much/taking on too many responsibilities, not trusting in the ebbs and flows of life, researching one of ten zillion parenting books searching for the answer to my ‘parenting problem’ and over-reacting to totally normal developmental stages. And so, I have realized that, yes, THIS IS HARD AND IT’S OK, that I am actually a SuperHUMANmom, which is a lot more connective than a Supermom, that, by being honest with myself about how much I can handle and being honest with everyone, especially myself, about how I am feeling, and asking for help when I need it, I am being REAL, INVINCIBLE, IMPERFECTLY PERFECT, and that this is the human experience, and THIS is what I am supposed to be having. By authentically experiencing (in other words, NOT AVOIDING) my struggles, crumbling moments and greatest challenges I can then choose to use these as leverage, support and inspiration to GROW, to do better next time. That parenthood is hard BECAUSE we ARE HUMAN and that this is an amazing ride if we choose for it to be.
So, I am here to offer a ‘simple’ recipe to those who may find it difficult, and yes, maybe even moments of it feeling impossible, that I find profoundly grounding and encouraging, a sort of home-base, soul-self daily check-in list as I walk this path with you. The ingredients may be something you may see on a tea bag, simple on the surface, at first seeming so obvious and attainable. It may even create an internal response of “Well, yeah, duh?!?! Tell me something I don’t know please!” But are you EMBODYING these? Are you making them a daily part of your life? Are you living them? Here are the ingredients:
1) LOVE YOURSELF- TRUST yourself by getting back in touch with your primal intuitive parenting compasses (choose 2-3 parenting books that feel right to you and stick to them), keep up any disciplined practices you had before becoming a parent (exercise, meditation, journalling, yoga, walking in nature, etc), ASK for help- we are not meant to raise our children alone (“It takes a village” is not an extreme concept!), take parenthood breaks (naps, date nights, etc)
2) FORGIVE YOURSELF- part of being human is that we have choice which means we will make ‘mistakes’; so, when we do so we can either beat ourselves up with unproductive feelings of guilt, shame and/or regret OR we can respond to them with productive thoughts and feelings of self-love and forgiveness and choose to use these as leverage to do better next time; the only authentic way to be able to forgive others is to authentically know how to forgive yourself
3) ENJOY YOURSELF- be spontaneous, leave room on your calendar for random fun and play (in other words, say NO to more so you can say YES to this), laugh as much as possible at trying situations; a sense of humor is key!!! Have fun with yourself and your partner- your love for each other is the nucleus of the family- take good care of it. Have fun with your children-And, try to enjoy the whole ride, embracing the challenges with a seriously playful attitude (Making the Terrible Two’s Terrific is a great read). For our child/ren too, his/her tantrums/challenges can be some of the greatest gifts. And, remember, this too shall pass, and before you know it, your child/ren may be out their raising their own.
4) AND HELP EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY YOUR OWN CHILD/REN) DO THE SAME- our children will do as we do, NOT as we say. They are the future movers and shakers of the planet. SO, the ultimate question is this, as parents, do we want to raise children who never take time to nourish their own well-being, who hold grudges towards themselves and others, who take everything too seriously, and who do not share their gifts with others and receive the gifts of others? OR will the next generation be one that embodies the truths that taking care of ourselves is the least selfish thing we can do, that forgiveness of ourselves and others is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other, that a sense of humor and laughter is one of the most beautiful connections to the Divine we can have as humans and that to heal this planet from so many feeling separate, alone and not-worthy, we must connect and share our gifts with each other, we must be REAL HUMAN BEINGS and allow others to be so too!
So, YES, let yourself be human, ESPECIALLY AS A PARENT!!!!
By Brooks Haislip