I am here to tell you how my relationship as a parent improved with my daughters — and why it started out the way that it did.
My girls are 16 months apart to the day, and they could not be more different. My oldest slept from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am and woke once for bottle service at 4:00 am. My youngest – well, her schedule was more party till midnight and woke up at noon.
I completely understood why sleep deprivation is an actual form of torture.
Life so quickly became all about them. It was like any sense of me (very little, if any at this point), and my already stressed marriage, were floating further and further away in a sea of “mama!”.
I found myself yelling at my toddlers, at some point in the day, over the stupidest things – only to feel like shit about it, every evening.
I’d be huffing and puffing, all day – and then upset about how little we laughed and played, once they were tucked into their beds.
It was chores and routine and storybooks and meals and snacks – day in and day out…
Cue the cultivating self-awareness part of my journey. Connecting with myself, or differently stated, stepping back inside my body, was only possible once I made the decision to do the work and get to the root of the thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs that no longer felt good.
That version of parenthood I had subconsciously fallen into – though often laced with sadness, frustration, and confusion – felt familiar.
Being firm with and having crazy high expectations of these little beings, was a narrative I recognized, and so, it felt normal.
Any real sense of connection between either parent and me, was not a part of my story, and this awareness helped me to see why I struggled to establish this for us – I simply didn’t know how.
One of my most prized takeaways from all of this has been to finally see my children in their entirety, and to be able to connect with them in a meaningful way.
The yelling doesn’t happen nearly as often – and if ever it does, I make it a point to apologize and reconnect. This felt uncomfortable at first but has only gotten easier with time.
Fear and control as measures of doing it right have been replaced with trust and connection.
Guilt and shame are no longer used as tactics to ‘get my way’. My children do not owe me anything and are worthy just for being here.
Not only has our dynamic changed, but their sibling relationship has improved. They even make it a point to say I love you to each other before bedtime – without me suggesting or prompting this.
They see and love the perfection that stares back at them in the mirror.
We say I love you to one another.
I enjoy being their mom, take responsibility for my actions, and feel ecstatic to have broken the cycle for our family.
If you are done feeling shitty about the kind of parent, you feel you are…
If you find yourself and your kids, stuck in a loop that you’d no longer like to be in…
If you’re ready to understand and connect with your children in a way that fosters a lifelong, loving connection…
I urge you to seek support.
I can help you change your parenting story, and support you in doing the necessary work so that you too, can break the cycle for your family.
Nina is a former Social Worker (MSW), turned SAHM, turned certified Life Coach — and coming this fall, a children’s book author. She is committed to helping parents connect with the kids they have, and heal the kid they once were. Her loves include; her daughters, their cat, leggings, nature, cooking, baking… and pizza!