Last night, before my eyelids clapped shut for the next few hours (til my son woke me for the start of the day at 4.30am– oi!), I read the following:
There is nothing like parenting to show you your shortcomings and less-than-perfect places…. With so many mirrors held up to your humanness, there is the possibility for great learning. However, much depends on what you do when you see your less-than-compassionate thoughts and your less-than-perfect actions. Will you judge and berate and punish yourself? Or will you observe your imperfections with compassion, take stumbles in stride, and learn from your mistakes while keeping self-respect?
That’s from “Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids” by Hart and Kindle-Hodson.
After reading those words, I sleepily stared into the middle distance and considered how parenting has changed me and developed my ideas about life, other people and myself. In my low moments, that negative voice within loudly chastises me for making so many parenting mistakes. Instead of seeing them as an opportunity for learning, I hear those thoughts telling me that my children are suffering because I’m not good at being a parent. It’s easy to give in to those negative thoughts, to let them take up permanent residence in my mind, to invite them in for a cup of tea and a piece of cake.
What’s harder is seeing myself with compassion and accepting every knock as an opportunity to learn about myself, to connect deeply with my authentic self and to reach out to my child from a place of vulnerability and love.