Positive Parenting isn't about perfection. Thank goodness for that! I, for one, have been far from perfect lately. I've yelled. I've slammed doors. I've had tantrums. There have been times when my child has needed my compassion and my empathy, and I didn't have it to give. Not to him. Not to myself. I wallowed around in my guilt for a while. Berating myself for failing. Shaming myself for not being able to self-regulate. "I'm the author of a positive parenting website! I should be better than this!" "I know better!" "I suck." "My kids deserve better." Blah blah blah.
I'm human. I mess up sometimes. Just like my children, I'm still learning how to be in this world.
I found this post from Hippie Housewife so inspirational. So real. She says:
I'm so tired and everyone needs me and I just want to be taken care of instead. Meals cooked, house cleaned, someone tucking me into bed and sitting beside me until I've drifted off to much-needed sleep. And most days I get by. I nap when I can and I gratefully eat food cooked by a kind husband. I try to keep a quiet schedule. I let some things go. Even so, some days get the better of me and I bumble my way through them, so very human in my weakness.Then I read this post, and it slapped me upside my head. In a good way. I'm pretty terrible at self-regulating. One of the gifts I didn't receive in childhood, apparently. I'm more determined than ever to teach my kids how to do this so they don't have these same struggles when they're 30-something.
But those days don't define me. They don't define my children's childhood, either.
I've attacked the problem in my typical fashion. Research. Jot down ideas. Form a plan. Make a schedule. I'm nothing if not meticulous. Pardon me while I rewire my brain. I should have that put on a T-shirt.
There is a lesson to be learned in the rough patches, and if we learn it, internalize it, and put it to use, then we didn't really fail. We grew. And growth is good. Dr. Laura Markham says, "You can't simultaneously feel bad about what you've done and feel good enough to do better." My first step was to stop feeling bad about what I've done, to wrap my arms around myself and whisper, "It's okay. You're a good mama. You're good enough."
"Understanding alone cannot prevent disrupted connections from occurring. Some will inevitably happen. The challenge we all share is to embrace our humanity with humor and patience so that we can in turn relate to our children with openness and kindness. To continually chastise ourselves for our "errors" with our children keeps us involved in our own emotional issues and out of relationship with our children.." --Daniel J. Siegel
Once I stopped chastising myself, I sat in meditation for a while, letting the compassion flow in like it was coming from a fountain. I apologized to my children, who said "That's okay, Mom." Children are golden. Bless them.
If you find yourself off path, struggling, and in the midst of a rough patch, know that you are not alone. You are not a failure. You just need a little self-love. As important as it is to be loving and empathetic with our children, we owe as much to ourselves. We're all learning as we grow.
Try these techniques and meditations to bring yourself back to peace.