You are not a bad parent, you are a broken parent
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably asked yourself the same question I’ve asked myself, am I a bad parent? The answer is no, and I can say that because a “bad parent” (by definition) wouldn’t care to know the answer. Another thing I can say is, parenting is hard and there is no handbook for it. Most people bring babies into the world, completely under-prepared and with no knowledge of what hurdles are to come as they get older.
“we create a separation between motherhood and self hood, when in reality, they are one”
As a mom of three boys, I have definitely had my fair share of moments of mom guilt, confusion, dissatisfactions, feelings of failure, and questioning whether my kids would be better off with someone else. I’ve fought through depression, more guilt and misguidance before I had my “come to Jesus” moment of motherhood. The flaw that I’ve found is that we create a separation between motherhood and self hood, when in reality, they are one. How you operate as a person, will always spill over into how you operate as a mother. Why is that a problem? The problem is, most women enter into motherhood unknowingly (or knowingly) broken. We don’t typically say, “Hey, I’d really love to have a baby, but first I need to go to therapy, heal from my traumas, achieve total self love, and go through a full development of mind, body and soul”. Nope, society tells us that preparing for a baby means making sure we have a spouse, and financial stability, and a crib, with lots of clothes and even more diapers. In essence, yes, those things are important. However, our babies will outgrow the clothes, and the diapers, but they may not outgrow the damage that we inadvertently cause them by not assessing our own flaws.
Yes most of us are broken, because our parents were broken, because their parents were broken, but the good news is, we have the power to end it. I remember being on an airplane once and listening to the captain say, “In the event of an emergency landing, please put on your oxygen masks first before assisting any children”. I remember thinking how ironic it was how heavy this rule related to parenting. The same way you obviously can’t assist your child with their mask if you are without oxygen yourself, is the same way you can’t help your child thrive if you are mentally and emotionally drowning. When you take the right steps towards healing yourself, your traumas and flaws, you will inevitably heal your parental flaws as well.
“Trauma doesn’t always look like the “Trauma” we imagine when we hear the word”
You may be telling yourself, “I’ve never experienced any trauma”. Something to keep in mind is, Trauma doesn’t always look like the “Trauma” we imagine when we hear the word. You may very well have suffered abuse, tragedy, or neglect. However Trauma could also result from having parents who weren’t good communicators, or growing up with poor self esteem, or lack of a good or stable support system. There are so many obstacles we pass in life that cause us to become broken, but here’s to repairing ourselves and starting over.
Here’s some important steps to consider as you journey through this process..
Acknowledge that you need healing and be accepting of it.
We go through so much of our life saying “I’m Okay” and standing so hard in denial that even we start to believe it. To move forward, we have to stop lying to ourselves, acknowledge that some work needs to take place and be willing to do the work, knowing that it will result in a better future for us and our family.
Write it out
Statistics say you are nearly 50% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. So needless to say, there is some crazy real power in writing and it’s a must do when it comes to making changes. Find a journal that you love and make it your best friend, use it as therapy to write out your fears, your pain, your hopes and your dreams. Most importantly, use it to write out your goals. Create a written visual of what you look like healed. You can also use sticky notes with positive messages for encouragement. All of these writings will play an important part in your journey.
Seek Help From A Professional
Professional therapy may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it should definitely always be a consideration. There are so many stigmas around going to therapy but it could very well end up being the help you never know you needed. However, this resource can get expensive, and is even less ideal in the midst of a pandemic. In these cases, alternative online therapy sessions like Better Help have been becoming more and more popular for at home counseling from licensed therapists.
Make Self Care A Priority
As a mom, I know it is second nature to put our needs last, but in the process of healing, it’s a must to make a habit of making time for self care on a regular basis. When we feel good, we do better and that’s a fact.
This was the most important step for me, and also the most difficult. Practicing mindfulness not only gives you a sense of peace and balance, but it gives you a very deep understanding of yourself and helps you to act from a higher place. Incorporating affirmations, meditation, reading and yoga into your time on a regular basis will drastically change your life as you know it. All of the above can easily be found and learned on youtube, or designated apps such as Calm and Breethe.
Most importantly, remember not to be too hard on yourself. Like I said, Life is hard and motherhood is hard. You aren’t a bad mom and you will reach your goal if you keep pushing towards it. It’s not a race, it’s not a competition, It’s your journey to healing and being a better you, so enjoy it.