Before another uninhibited deep dive into my neurosis, I want to preface with the purpose of why I am doing so:
I have identified that one of my children is much harder for me to parent because they are so much like me. So at surface level that means they are strong-willed, indignant, dance to the beat of their own drum, want what they want when they want it, usually choose the path most cheeky, etc. All of which can be hard to parent at times but also amusing at others and essentially we try to celebrate the gift of the strong-willed child as per this article.
But there is another facet to this. I have an internal cringe when I think of my child being just like me and I am stepping more and more into understanding and accepting that it’s because I find it really hard and almost unnatural to truly embrace, celebrate and like (not even ready for love) myself.
Up until very recently, I have found friendships and socialising hard. I was lucky enough to have a best friend and soul sister that anchored me from a very young age but aside from that, I would find the occasional nourishing friendship but my core circle was full of uncertainty with me being ousted from the group periodically throughout high school without any explanation. In a way it seems so petty to hang onto that hurt and angst but the reality is that I was always questioning “What did I do?”, “What is it about me?”. So I developed the understanding that there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t decide if I was an acquired taste or if getting to know me properly was the problem and all of this has manifested itself into social anxiety which I am working hard on combating to this very day.
What was incredibly freeing was when I found another best friend in my husband and then, as we settled into family life, we found so little time outside of ourselves and my immediate family. With that feeling of time being so precious and limited, I started to only nurture or create space for friendships that were worth the effort and what an incredible difference it made… At the ripe old age of 34, I have finally found my tribe!
The sad thing is that there’s still that part of me that worries that it won’t last because of those fundamental flaws in me that no one would ever name. Or IS that the fundamental flaw in me? Is it that I need to be able to embrace who I am and truly love her and truly mean it when I say “Take it or leave it?”.
I think that could be the key and I know I need to work on this so I can provide a good model of self-compassion to both of my children. Their social drama has been incredibly re-stimulating for me as those hurts bubble up to the surface and threaten to overwhelm and undermine my logic and rationality when trying to assist them with social dilemmas or hurts.
There’s so much more than me in my child, as well. There is a uniqueness that I don’t want to undersell too. I want to enjoy all parts. The ones from my husband and myself and the bits that are completely new.
I was quite reluctant to accept that parenting requires a lot of self-work. Initially, I didn’t think I needed any (hahahahahahahaha… ha!!!) and then I finally accepted that I did but I didn’t know what or how. Now I am fully aware that that’s the crux of it all… anything I can’t handle is about ME… not about them!
So my best course of action is offloading and getting myself heard and supported through Listening Time and with my family and those beautiful friends that I have had all the way through and the new friends that I have found in recent years. I find books and courses incredibly helpful and I am diving into Kristen Neff’s self-compassion, which (again) I resisted without even realising that I was doing so the many times it was on my radar.
Parenting is hard, under-supported and underappreciated work. It can also be quite isolating, especially if you have social fears or you feel silenced in expressing that it IS hard or that you could use some help. So that’s why I’m sharing this and why I also bared and exposed myself with this. Not only do I want to let you know you are not alone but I also want to hold myself accountable to doing the work. Not just admitting that there’s work to be done.
It’s more than OK to acknowledge it’s hard.
It’s more than OK to say “yes” to help.
It’s ESSENTIAL to reach out if you’re struggling.
Go out and find your tribe!
Prioritise your self-care!
Get Listened to!
You are worth it and you are MORE than enough!
For any of the above and more, I am here… Just Ask!