Thursday, April 23, 2015

Raising a Mother

I'm a balancer. I can sense very early on when things are leaning too far one way or the other, and this sense has served me well. I don't always heed these little warnings, though, so when the scales tip, I can be hard on myself for having not saved things sooner. Indeed, I can be hard on myself for no good reason but an ingrained sense of not being enough. When the mood around here begins to shift, I look to what needs fixing before the whole mess turns upside down. I am learning that, more often than not, what needs fixing is me.

I don't say this to solicit assurances or to be self-deprecating. I have found it very empowering, as a control-minded Type A, to know I hold the reigns on both my happiness and my family's moods. When I get cranky that things aren't going my way, it's no one's fault. When I feel guilt that I am not living up to being the mother I want to be, I ask what that ideal is, and from where it came. I feel my jaw tighten when the breakfast routine deviates from my plan, and remember that my reactions make or break how everyone feels in the next few moments. This is great power and great responsibility, as they say.

Honey in my tea cures most of my crazy moments.
I have been doing a few things to help me focus on letting go of both my controlling tendencies and an inner dialogue that was growing unforgiving and punitive when I feel not good enough. (Because everyone feels not good enough sometimes, right?) 

I am remembering:
- The only way to raise happy children is to raise a happy mama. 
- I deserve the kindness from myself that I give to others. 
- When the pimp's in the crib ma, drop it like it's hot (sorry, had that song in my head)
- Thich Nhat Hanh's instructions for a simple life: "Smile, breathe, go slow."
- To make time to sit and meditate. I am noticing now when I haven't done this, I get more snappy, reactive and my brain feels easily overwhelmed.
- Not to read articles/posts about parenting. Some are helpful, but lately I am taking a hiatus because I would read something meant to be inspiring or unifying and instead feel like my style of parenting didn't measure up. And I am not making room anymore for guilt or doubt.
- To tell Rich what I'm trying to do, so he can support me in my efforts and recognize when I am trying not to let myself derail.
- To remain quiet and really listen. Why is this so hard? 

I stand against the wind in setting these intentions some days. Other days,  I recall these instructions and feel much more equipped to react with grace. Raising a mother is hard work, but it makes raising children so much more organic. 

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