I have never felt more alienated as I did parenting my kids in public or around other adults and family. I clearly remember Esme disobeying me in front of grown-ups. The looks and sideways glances were unreal.
The fighting between my girls is what brought me to my knees as a parent. The pinching, pushing and hitting left me feeling devastated. Some days the sweetness between them was the most beautiful thing I had ever witnessed, and on other days, I would go to bed crying.
Sometimes I just can’t be empathetic to my kids. In fact I find their meltdowns and upset beyond annoying. All I want to say to them is; “You have got to be kidding me. I don’t have time to listen to your feelings. I am busy. Mommy has things to do!” It is in those moments where I can’t find the empathy; it’s buried in a world of me, me, me!
We have all felt shame in our lives. Some of us more than others, and to degrees that vary greatly. Shame doesn’t feel good and doesn’t go away. It sticks in our psyche creating bigger problems, mainly perfectionism which I know a thing or two about for sure.
When I first introduce Special Time to parents many of them will tell me: “all the time I spend with my child is special” or “I am always with them, we spend all of our days together.” My first response is this; “I was the most disconnected stay-at-home-mom, before I started doing Special Time”.
When I first contemplated eliminating consequences and bribes with my own kids, it scared me. How could I possibly get my kids to brush their teeth every night if I didn’t promise them a TV show afterward? There was no way they would do it, and if they did, it was going to be a knock down drag out fight. I just rather not! I thought it sounded lovely to have my kids just do as I asked all the time without bribery or threatening and consequences; but at the time, it was all I knew, and it worked.
Learning to be a more Peaceful Parent led me on a journey of becoming a more peaceful person. For me these two are inextricably linked. I never really quite understood how my inner happiness and calm or lack thereof could so greatly affect my children. I mean, I knew if I was in a bad mood I was not a great parent.
Don’t take it personally! Really? I just read that the other day, don’t take your child’s anger and “off track” behavior personally. WHAT? You mean to tell me when my 10 year old rolls her eyes in the back of her head and says that I don’t know what I am talking about demanding that I leave her room I am not supposed to take it personally?
If you had met me 10 years ago and asked me about becoming a new mom I would have told you I had everything figured out. My baby registry was filled with all the newest thingamabobs and doohickies. I had read Dr. Sears, Sweet Dreams, The Happiest Baby on the Block, and a half dozen other baby books of the time.