On motherhood: I apologize often
Bedtime was extra rough the other night. I was not the best mom I could have been and we have been struggling through our bed time routine for quite some time now. When the dust, and my daughter, was able to settle--I had to spend some time reflecting on what I could have done to support her better. My daughter, among other things, is autonomous. She is type A, sure and pure. When she has her mind about something, she is relentless. She is an old soul who likes to mother her mother, as she has seen how much mothering I truly need.
I don't blame her or myself for the series of events that occurred the night before. Which, if I'm being completely transparent, looked like: outbursts towards her brother, incessant tears, stomping, hitting, screaming, an attempt to leave the house and a stint in the time out chair while her brother attempted to settle in and be at peace. We made it to bed; I was able to help her use her self regulation skills, we did some deep breathing and I rubbed her back until she fell asleep.
I took myself to my own bed and cried into my pillow. Deep, strong cries of guilt, exhaustion and wondering if we were making the wrong co-parenting choices. I was so deeply triggered by my own lack of compassion and the emotional turbulence my baby was displaying. I tried not to analyze and diagnose the mini crisis because there are so many conditions that could've exacerbated it. The transition from her fathers, being tired from having gymnastics, restlessness in her new room or feeling a lack of control within her environment. I could go on and on about the why, but it wouldn't help me fix it in the future. In the morning, we all felt the residual stress.
I take responsibility for the energy in my home, so I knew what had to be done. I sat my kids down on the couch and I apologized to both of them.
What I learned in the experience was that triggers are unavoidable and the sources can be unexpected. The first time I had heard someone be transparent about being triggered by their children, I was at work listening to a keynote speaker and Human Trafficking survivor. They spent time talking to us about generational trauma and the triggers that they experienced as a new parent. How hard it must have been to make the realization that thing thing you love most in the world, is also a source of traumatic stress. As a mother and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, this notion hit me like a ton of bricks.
Stress related to parenting was becoming almost to much to bear before the kids father and I split. It was an area of my life that I was truly feeling a lack of success within. That night, after I had a good cry, I allowed myself to think about all of the things I love about mothering my daughter. I'd list them for you here, but that list is for me. It is for me to return to when I am not acting out of love, but from a wound. It is for me when my daughter is showing me, with her behavior, that she needs more love from me. It is for me when I feel triggered by her need for control, or her blunt opinions, or her quick witted come backs. It is for me when I need to be reminded that I'm raising a trail blazer and a woman who I will pass this torch onto. It is for me when I need to empower the mother within me, and when I need to soothe the child within me.
When I apologize to my children I am 100% honest with them. "Mommy is so sorry for losing her temper and yelling last night. It was a hard night for everyone and I want to do better for you." I told them, "I know how hard it has been for you since Mommy moved to her apartment. But I want you to know that you are loved and you are allowed to tell me how it makes you feel." I also reminded my daughter that I am her mother and that I make the rules and set the boundaries so that she can have fun and be safe. I have to constantly remind her that I am the mother; to which she always replies, "No, I'm YOUR mother!"or "I'm Lucca's mom!"
I believe in a past life this definitely may have been the case, and I don't doubt that this is part of our work in this life time. We are working on being patient with one another. We are working on recognizing when one of us has bigger needs or feelings than the others. We are working on getting settled into our new safe spaces. We are working on setting healthy limits, boundaries and expectations within our family unit. We are working on smooth transitions, being flexible and being softer with our response to emotions. We are working on relating with love and finding ways to help and support one another.
I am working on mothering my Self, so that my daughter can feel safe being a daughter and sister. I am working on taking my time, being direct and receptive to the needs of my children and their father. I am working on my entire approach to life, relationships, my future and parenting. I am becoming more conscious of the ways my energy affects my environment. I am working on seeing the world through eyes of love and releasing judgement and my attachments to preconceived notions. I am working on allowing my children to blossom and express their feelings and being honest with them every step of they way.
Most importantly, I apologize and I tell my children how much I love them and I tell them that my intentions are to always show them love and compassion. We're learning and growing together and the process is painfully beautiful. All of us are becoming and all of us are healing.
Singing this one is for my babies today <3