By Steps to Recovery on November 16, 2012
For me, there is a HUGE connection between Recovery and Motherhood. Even though this has nothing to do with drugs, for me. Being a mom makes me constantly look at myself, and it is ever forcing me to look at my stuff. And a lot is shifting for me, every single day.
I want to change the world by changing myself, I want to change the world through the way I parent my daughter. I want the world to be different for her than it was for me. And I think all it takes is changing things little by little. But let me tell you, it is a work in progress! And sometimes I don’t feel like the best mom ever.
It’s an interesting thing. Don’t we all want to be the very best parent? I do so much that I have even found myself ashamed a time or two. And man, it’s the hardest thing to admit this and talk about it! Sometimes it is so hard, to deal with a toddler who has her very own ideas and plans going on, when all you want to do is get the dishes done so there are plates to eat from when dinner is ready. Really, the dishes aren’t that big of a deal, but still, in really unimportant situations, sometimes I find myself growing impatient. Ego kicks in. I want I want I WANT!
It’s hard to kick ego off the podium sometimes, and my thing is that when I grow impatient, sometimes…My voice gets loud. Not yelling…But louder than normal. (Well, I DID yell “NO!” once and it was at a totally stupid time, my girl was in the trash and I was so frustrated! It scared her and she cried and I felt awful!!) Totally disconnected and inappropriate. My daughter deserves to be respected as her own very small human being, not treated like an object.
This is where my Recovery work kicks in. I raise my voice, and repeat the same thing a time or three, each time a little bit louder, instead of just going to my 18 month old and redirecting her. It’s all ego. It’s no big deal to just walk over there and say, “Hey! Let’s go do (whatever) and take her there and engage her. But I want something and I want it NOW! Familiar? Yup. It is a conscious effort, in the moments when I begin to feel frustrated, to take a step back and say to myself, “Hey. What’s going on with me that I feel like this?”
It’s an old theme for me. I don’t feel heard so I become insistent, louder, more demanding and less willing to be flexible. I feel a little angry and sorry for myself. This has absolutely nothing to do with my daughter, but I am taking out all of my experience on her. She hasn’t done these things to me, but she gets the feedback for what I have been through. This is not how I choose to parent, so I have to stop and make the choice to respond instead of react. And then take some time to myself later toprocess what’s coming up for me.
I am growing, everyday, with this little ball of love that shines so bright sometimes I can’t see straight. I love her with my whole heart and I make sure she knows that, especially if I have raised my voice. I take the time to scoop her up into my arms and tell her that I am sorry, that it is not ok for me to talk to her that way, I put words to how I am feeling and tell her I love her and shower her with kisses and hugs. I am not perfect, but I can show my daughter how to talk about her feelings and be real when she does something that might not be in line with her values. It happens to everyone, and it’s ok.
Every time I go through something like this with my daughter, I can make the correlation to my own past, I can see where I have experienced this before. I can say, “Hey, I see you there, and you know what, I love you and it’s ok. I understand.” I can hear my own little girl now, all these years later, after all this time that she has thought no one was listening. I can help her grow and heal from these old, painful wounds. And it’s ok with me, because my daughter will learn this with me. How to self soothe and love herself.
Pretty important stuff. I am recovering, everyday, in my heart. And for that and so many other reasons I am blessed.