Parenting From Within: You told yourself you would never do those things to your kids when you became a parent. You know the hurt and pain those actions cause. Your own child self hurt from it growing up. You committed that the hurtful dynamics would STOP with you. Never again and never with your own children. The very thing you feared is happening. Perhaps you notice yourself doing and saying regretful things out of anger and frustration. You are heartbroken, ashamed and disappointed. You pelt yourself with “How could you’s?!” Or, perhaps despite your best efforts, you still find yourself in some unbalanced or unhealthy pattern with your kid/s. You feel lost and confused. How did this even happen? Yet, here you are, wondering how to stop this ugly pattern that you tried so hard to avoid.
You have a strong sense of what you DON’T want in your created family. This is defined by what happened (or did not happen) in your own childhood. Though you might have tried your best to correct course and create a healthier and new pattern–you find that somehow, you are still deadlocked in a way of being that hurts. You feel heavy with guilt and like you have failed. You are scared to ask for help. You are afraid that you are just like your parent. You hurt so much and worry about what your choices are doing to your kid/s.
Newly Parents: You had a dream of how parenting would look like. This most definitely is not what you pictured. You are exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. You feel terrified. You feel like you have no idea what you are doing or how things should be done. You cry a lot. There is a lot of fighting. You feel guilty. You are worried that you are messing it up and doing it all wrong. You don’t feel like you even know yourself anymore. There’s simply not enough time to do the things you feel need to be done and it is stressing you out. When you try to be more on top of things, something always disrupts it. You feel those flashes of anger and the frustration. You feel defeated and may even find yourself yelling a lot. Your house is in chaos, you may feel disconnected from those you love most, and you feel like change needs to happen NOW.
Lost Yourself: Rediscovering YOU: Some days you do not want to get out of bed. You feel exhausted and drained. You tell yourself you ‘should’ feel happier and more grateful. You have a lot going for you–that’s what everyone tells you at least. You struggle with admitting out loud that sometimes anxiety and fear take over. You mask your pain with frozen smiles and laughter. You find yourself terrified of failing and this overwhelming need to do BETTER and MORE. You feel like if you don’t, then everything will fall apart. You feel responsible for it all (work, home, kids) and the heavy burden of so many people relying on you. You cry when alone. You are terrified of disappointing others, You pretend that everything is fine. You worry what would happen if anyone knew how you really felt and thought. You feel like you cannot keep doing this but are afraid that you will lose it all if you don’t.
You want balance in your life. You want to feel more energized and more at peace. You want to reconnect with you and have time to do the things that you love and enjoy but can never dedicate time to. You want to feel free of guilt when you take care of you. You want to keep being a top performer at work, feel like a good parent, wife, daughter and friend but feel pleasure in those aspects of life. You want a partner who understands you and doesn’t seem content to let you smile and keep it all going–that shares the heaviness of the burden you carry each day. You want to wake up ready for the challenges you seek out and excited about your day. You want to like you again.
Parenting Fighting and Uniting: The fighting. The yelling. The same looping conflicts. You feel like your styles of parenting are so different. Sometimes you align, but most others you simply do not. The kids are in the middle. They feel the stress and sometimes they even take sides. You feel so guilty. It shouldn’t be like this. This isn’t your child’s fault. Nothing seems to work. Your co-parent just does what you plead and ask that they don’t do. They always seem frustrated with you and feel like you are undermining them as parents. You sometimes agree, but there are situations in which you simply cannot stand down as you feel like what s/he is doing is ‘wrong’ and/or hurtful. You try to talk about it but it goes no where. It just keeps happening….again and again….and you are losing hope.
It hurts to feel like your choices may be harming your kids. You want to avoid home–it no longer feels like a positive and loving space. You so desperately want this to change. You just do not know how. Nothing you have done before has helped. You are not sure your relationship will last. You feel so angry and hurt. Maybe you are even questioning if you even like or respect your partner.
Balancing roles and Expectations: The chaos. The never ending list of to do’s: You complete one task and four more are added to the list. There is just never enough time. Things feel out of your control most days. You swing from a place of empowerment telling yourself “I got this!” to feeling discouraged and yelling “I can’t do this anymore!”. You feel so alone, exhausted and angry. You look at your partner and can feel the resentment growing….what is S/HE doing in all this to help? When you try to talk and express your frustration, your partner becomes defensive and starts citing how s/he also feels busy and has no more to give. Things might get better for a little while but it always returns to this same dark place. This was not how you envisioned things would be. You knew it was going to be tough….but just not in this way. The frustration and anger is starting to impact the kids. Home is feeling stressed and not the happy place you want it to be.
Revitalization and Reconnection: You are feeling disconnected. There’s a void that didn’t used to be there. You miss the hugs, smiles and laughter. You yearn for the time you felt that you could easily talk, share and there was just a ease and genuine warmth in your interactions. Now, s/he seems so far away….aloof….unreachable. You are not sure how it got this bad. Yes, there has been a lot of stress, fighting, and hurt. However, there has always been love to help see things through. But things seem different now…they feel…broken. Things feel so wrong and you don’t even know what is going on in his/her head and heart most times. You want to fix it all but you don’t know where to start. You might even worry that is not even possible anymore. But you still want to try. You feel you have to try and that you need to start now.
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