A New Year

Since the year began I have felt under the gun.  Time melting away, streaming through my fingers so fast it might as well have been made of water, and I found myself feeling so futile, so frustratingly inept, that I merely stared as it did so.  It all felt dictated to me.  My relationships have suffered.  My inner scream coming out to only sound in anger at my kids and not giving voice to the true hurt within me.  Tumult and drama are difficult for me to address up front; diminishment before words are unleashed being my foremost talent.

Affirmations and attestations of love do little when I have retreated behind the wall of safety: self inflicted damage and abandonment.  Control the where and how of the pain.  It will hurt less that way.

It’s a very wretched spot to be in.  And though there might be triggers, might indeed be justified reasons for me hurt, the end result is not one of healing but more self vilification.  Some cycle, eh?

Some of what goes into this is the awareness that so few really get what the experience is of a stay at home mom (SAHM).  Fewer still seem to have a comprehension of what it is to be a homeschooling SAHM.  Add to that the wife of an entrepreneur of two small businesses, mother to a child with celiac disease, and the peer group shrinks still more.

I feel alone most of the time.  Lost too much.  Feeling present is nothing more than a reminder of how very tired I am and how frustrated I am that my only audience is two little people for whom I should be their audience.

That inner voice of mine has wanted to scream so much my jaw hurts with the requirements of my commitment to my children from fighting it.  One year without yelling.  Today was the first day I managed it.

While the part of me that wants approval, support for how very burnt out I am, wishes to give the laundry list of the insane schedule I keep the bigger story lies away from those details.  For those details are not reasons to treat the ones I love most with unthinking cruelty; with outbursts I try to convince my children not to have.  There are no acceptable reasons for them.  There are excuses.  Justifications for being a bully, for causing them fear and using it against them.  It doesn’t matter that the sadism wasn’t/isn’t my intent, only that it’s the result of my arrested development.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic.  Mostly.

You see, at the crux of my frustration is this very deep need of being acknowledged, respected, and appreciated for who I am and what I do.  As a rule I don’t seek approval from my kids – it’s inappropriate and, if you’ve been around a two year old and almost six year old you know this isn’t likely – and so I try to keep at what I love: writing.  Well, that takes time without kids.  I do not have time without kids except for when they’re asleep.  And thus my problem.  Or so I thought.

This week, instead, my family awoke on Thursday to discover my daughter had a sudden limp.  No injury, no trauma that would result in her leg buckling when she put weight on it, and palpating/manipulating the limb resulted in no pain reactions.  None.

Every fear I do my best to keep in the shadows of my mind were thrown into stark relief with the spotlight that stripped it away.  The best I managed was to interrupt every thought that ended with cancer.  Worse.  That my two year old might have it.

To allay your fears let me just say: no she doesn’t.  This was determined after one round with our family doctor (our ND who then referred us to the Children’s Hospital) and about seven hours at the hospital.  Most of that waiting in the waiting room.  Blood tests had been ordered and run, x-rays taken – two rounds – and all came back with negative results.

It was one of the longest days of my life.  One in which the relationship with my husband seemed to find stronger ground and my self awareness and wants did an about face.

I would give up anything and everything if it meant my children would be healthy.

There were no exceptions to this.  At the darkest times when my husband and I were waiting for test results in that little room in the ER I even told him writing didn’t matter.  The kids did.

It is easy to think these words.  Possibilities ripe with horror or relief waiting and warring to see which would come to pass have a tendency of creating momentary change in the best of circumstances or for those who experience the horror that change is necessarily permanent.

We are lucky.  It was not to be that my daughter be diagnosed with something fatal, but instead we were gifted with a peace of mind and what will be a very large hospital bill.  This relief created a new awareness for me beyond all the superficiality of what I would do (everything) and what I wouldn’t do (nothing) for my kids to be healthy.  A mental list of what I would regret formed along side the things I wouldn’t/didn’t.

I would never regret holding my children.  Never think I did it too much.  Instead, thinking of having empty arms made me know there would never be too much of this good touch – always the want of doing more.

I would always regret scaring my children.  Making them fear me, causing their justified anger and/or resentment.  Hurting them is optional and it’s something I wish to never do again.

I would never regret co-sleeping.  Those night time cuddles, the assurance of rolling over and feeling and smelling the warmth and exhalations of those (not so small) warm bodies, the knowledge that when they awake at night and need comfort it can be had without disruption.  That my son, who used to have nightmares, now says how he never has bad dreams anymore.

I will always regret rushing them.  Making them feel bad (or angry with me) for taking the time to sort out their thoughts, to explain to me in their own words what their observations or feelings are about a situation.  The space these negative experiences I inflict upon them I likewise always regret.

I will never regret quiet moments of story telling or having a cup of tea at Canterlot Castle.

I will never regret saying “I love you” several times a day because these are words I can only hope I communicate so often that they can take them for granted.

I will always regret when I tell them “a few more minutes” as I tend to technology.  For it is another moment I treated something/someone else as more important than them.  And there isn’t.

I will never regret breastfeeding my child until she was ready to ween.  That it is natural and beautiful; a place of steadiness and comfort as well as nourishment especially in times of stress.

I would always regret hitting my children.  To have caused fear and pain instead of teaching the strength in kindness and empathy.  That respect is not the same as fear; love does not require fear in order to be had.

Love is its own ends.  Perfectly justified and everyone is worthy of it.

With this fresh in my heart I renewed my vow to work on a year of not yelling.  Tonight at bedtime I asked my almost six year old son if I had yelled – I thought I had – and he said no and that it was good I hadn’t.  It was the only encouragement I needed to continue into another day and adding more days to that goal.  One day of no yelling.  One day of not causing fear.  One day where more distance wasn’t created.  One day where the cuddles weren’t to soothe, but to enjoy each other’s company.

Just as I know that one day will come when I will not see or be with my children every day, that those days are fast approaching even during the slow days of tantrums and illness, I know that the things I won’t regret have everything to do decisions I made from the love I bear them.

Raw

There have been some amazingly beautiful moments in my life of late – truly inspiring – and so the knowledge of old/recent/constant hurts rear their ugly heads it takes me by surprise.  Tonight was just such a night.  On the heels of that wretched epiphany brought about by my wonderful naturopath:  “What is with the difficulty with self care?  Is that just the nature of motherhood?”  As she is a wise woman and mother her self I knew she wasn’t being flippant.  My answer was honest and a frustrating realization:  “I’d like to blame motherhood, but the truth is it’s only a convenient scapegoat for my self neglect.”

Some day I’ll get into the deeper issues there, but right now this is about what came later.  Came after the point where I well knew I had pushed myself past the point of maintaining my calm center, past that point where I needed a break…  As a matter of fact everyone lost their tempers.  My son, after a stream of deliberately poor decisions, finally escalated with an unintentional one that could have seriously injured his sister.  I yelled.  I grabbed.  I put him, none to gently, in the chair in front of me.  My husband yelled.  The little girl got upset.  My son was crying.  I yelled some more and sent him upstairs.  He kicked one of the steps my husband had just fixed (again), hubby yelled again.  His sister yelled at him to go upstairs… Pretty sure hubby yelled again while they were upstairs and I groused to no one in particular while calmly trying to encourage my daughter into kindness.  It ended quickly, this upset.  My husband calming down as he spoke with our son, me calming down when my son looked at me to say “Dada said it doesn’t do good for EITHER of us to hold grudges, that means you too Mama”.  He said it in the way of a very courageous child whose voice still shook with tears and who ever so slightly pulled back from me when I asked him to repeat it.

Yet he said it.

I can’t say I was perfect after that.  Or that I will be from here on out.  But that moment of great bravery I looked at my son and simply said:  “You’re right.”

When he seemed surprised I merely stated to him my truth: “I do not condemn you nor get angry with you for the truth.  You said what was right.  It took a lot of courage to say that to me.  Thank you for saying it.”

Things were somewhat peaceable after that.  He asked me to help him shower – his way of reconnecting with me – an opportunity I used to say I’m sorry for about the fifth time.  And then another hammer fell.  I told him I was upset I scared him, that I encroached and aggressed against him (no, I did not hit him – although given his fear I hardly think of this as being a worthwhile hair to split), that it’s my job to make him feel safe at home.  He said: “I didn’t feel safe when you yelled like that.  I felt like I was a chameleon and you were a predator.”

Oh. My.  God.

It was only through my own fear of unraveling completely that kept me from dropping to my knees in a big wheepy mess.  I swore I’d never do that to my kids and there I was – temper out of control, yelling, and scaring the crap out of my child.  Yep.  Stellar moment right there.

The worst part is I know, that despite him cuddling up to me after stories, after him saying he felt safe with me again, that all it takes is me showing anger – even in muscular tension while I take a deep calming breath – for him to brace.  I hate that.  I hate that even these somewhat rare moments of me losing my temper have forever consequences that I can not fucking erase.

I could blame stress – I certainly have plenty of it right now – I could blame any number of things, but as I also tell my son: right is right, wrong is wrong.  Period.  There are no exceptions to this.  We might attempt to justify, but at the end of the day justifying is only a way of prettying up excuses to make us be okay with acting wrong.  To make wrong action okay.  My kids have always gotten better than that from me.

No excuses.  Just apologies.

Explanations do not apply to wrong action for they do not make it right.

Every day I improve, but I can not erase what has been.  And that is the only reason I can manage to move forward some days.  The past is written, but the future is not.  If I have communicated to my children that one can grow, can change, can move in a positive direction through conscious and diligent action then I will have taught hope and, with any luck, love.

Goodness knows I have no want of teaching him that one should put with assholes no matter how much they say they love him.  For that is a lesson that rarely gets unlearned without some incredible damage being inflicted; a sad belief that one deserves it or that’s what love is cementing it.

Joy.  Love.  Peace.  Change.  Gentleness.

And at the root: The belief that we deserve the goodness of all of that and the shit that gets dealt along the way is always the fault and issue of the person dealing it.

Hopefully tomorrow will be filled with all that good stuff and the fifteen minutes of absolute horrifying shit from today gets flushed clean away.

 

The Hardest Thing

I originally started working on this blog post a week ago and in it my idea of the hardest thing was far different from what I’m going to write about now.  My initial understanding and emotional reaction to a grief ridden situation was in the complacency of being a victim.  That the hardest thing in this framing was for me to stand up for myself.  This was easier for me before I had kids and, truth be told, I have a REALLY hard time making decisions in my best interest when it will impact my children.  But now, as I’ve had almost two weeks to wrestle with this situation I realized the most difficult part was in accepting that sometimes we have to grieve for relationships for which we have no strength or power in affecting positively.

Plainly speaking: My good actions matter not at all if someone wishes to poison and sully my character with malicious lies.  When I am present with individuals who have their ears bent by such tales no amount of kindness, compassion, and love will change the lens through which they now see me.  Absolutely nothing.

This has been something I’ve known about for some time now even if the reality has been one which I have not accepted until recently.  Confrontation after confrontation has only led to more lies to cover up the previous ones so malicious persecution and ostracization can be pursued.  Perhaps it is not consciously done, there are some people in this world who are so damaged that they truly can not even see that these are the things they are doing; their survival depends on being “the only” in every relationship they have.  It is always about control.

My belief in control is one which I have done away with for a while now except when it comes to this idiotic and damaging notion of how people perceive me.  The issue there is that I am assuming they interpret everything I say and do as I intend them.  As *I* would perceive them.  How ridiculously egocentric of me.  To disallow another person their life experience and subsequent world view.

Perhaps it is that new understanding that has allowed me a bit of peace.  It is not an easy one mind you, but it’s there wanting and needing to be fed the nourishing morsels of sanity I can muster.

I had protected, yes – I protected a person I would certainly consider my abuser, protected her children from her when she showed herself to be that to them, and worst still I have done each of these by taking the abuse on to myself.  Biting comments at every meeting, lies spun to those same children I intervened on behalf of both physically and emotionally to paint me as their abuser, their absent relative who has no interest in them or their lives…  And so I began mourning when attempts at honest communication were greeted with more lies and the horrifying realization that those lies were not limited to interactions with me, but also used in maligning who I am.

There’s a strong desire in me to remain ethical in this situation, that shouting out truths I have witnessed would not be fair or right (and I do so have a strong sense of fairness in me), but overwhelmingly I realize the reality of what Mark Twain said:  What other people think of me is none of my business.  More to the point, if people wish to believe such things about me, to judge me out of turn without so much as giving it a second thought then there’s nothing I can do to change their minds.  That I would be attempting character assassination to sway minds of people to believe me when, if they were worth having as friends they wouldn’t have needed the swaying.  What use is any of that?  What use is bending my ethic for a gain which is, at best, a short lived bid at neutrality or camaraderie?

There isn’t any answer I can have to that which doesn’t involve me letting my craziness rule.  And it is a type of crazy to think I can change anyone else, to make sense out of someone else’s crazy.  No doubt I have other pieces of it as well, but for now I am making my own sanity, encouraging my own mental health, and NOT showing my children it’s appropriate to treat me – or anyone – the way I consistently have been.  I’d rather teach love and live my days filled with and giving it.

A Marriage Tried

It hasn’t been all that often I’ve discussed the dark times in my marriage, but today as I held my husband’s hand on the drive back from the aquarium I found myself considering the distance traveled since then.  Those reasons are no longer truly relevant to where we are now nor do they have much consequence to my present.  Still it seems as though the emotions are worth bringing up now if only as a way of marking the emotional distance that has transpired in the years that have passed.  I feel largely present these days.  The months and indeed years that have gone since my husband became a business owner have been trying.

rich and eira mystic falloween

Hours that seem so long when you’re walking the floors with cranky or sick children have dripped through our fingers with the rapidity few non-parents can understand.  All of them precious, not all of them well spent.  Anger and bitterness has been my companion during much of it, resentment closely on their heels, and at the root of it the unquenched thirst of “success” and societal acknowledgment.  In short: my present was robbed of joy through the internalized marker of what I now understand to be bullshit.  Absolute, unadulterated bullshit.

Even now I can feel that piece of anger at my past self – a shout wanting to get back the years of my life spent with this negativity – and own that it is time wasted.  Gone.

In reality we choose how we spend each moment, we decide (or, as an old Rush song goes, choose not to decide) how we wish to be, how we handle certain events.  This isn’t to say it isn’t about feeling.  That’s a distinction I used to miss out on: a belief that being conscious of each moment and decision meant not being heartful, compassionate.  It’s exactly the opposite.

A replay, in brief, of the last few weeks in my life:  My two year old has been climbing my big upright piano constantly, when she doesn’t get what she wants (and half the time I had no idea what that is due to the verbalization skills not being in that easy to discern place as yet) rip roaring tantrums, a five year old who has gotten so annoyed by said tantrums he has said “Oh, great -there she goes again.  I think we should just give her what she wants”, and a husband who has been home no more than two hours a day when our children have been awake with half of that spent getting ready for work.  Come to that – a husband who hasn’t been home before 10 more than three days in the last two and a half weeks.  Due to our son’s celiac diagnosis we follow a strictly paleo diet in the household so there has been no takeout relief from cooking which goes hand in hand with picky eaters saying they won’t eat what I cooked despite even admitting they like it.  And did I mention I home school?  Yep.  That’s right.  I’m with my kids 14 hours a day and my husband has been working six days a week lately.

We can add in all the other stressors: his grandmother passed away unexpectedly last month, there have been issues with the brewery getting up and running necessitating many of those really long hours so it can open this week, a stranded mother due to car problems (and the financial woes that come with it), negotiations with a mortgage company that left me consulting with a lawyer, and top it off with that aforementioned five year old saying he wants to move to Maryland because that’s when he got to see his father more often (we took a long weekend and went down there a couple months ago).  Life, quite simply, has not gotten easier in the years I’ve been with my husband.

Yet it’s simpler and far more beautiful than it was during those dark times before we had kids despite it being more complex.  Every emotion is uncomplicated for me at this point.  Things are as they are – I have no desire to change much beyond finding ways of continuing to make the most use out of the time we have together as well as finding MORE time to have together and doing my best to make it positive.

For that is the one thing we have so little of in this life.  Time.  You have this moment and no other.  When investing in the future you place a wager that what you’re doing right now will be worth it at this other time in life:  that you’ll have that other time.  There are so many facets in American culture that run contrary to this notion – or at the very least in denial of this single fact – and yet it is THE thing that all people should be raised in the knowledge of.  Each moment spent is one that can not be re-spent.  If you are not enjoying and loving the now, that you’re spending the time in misery in hopes of having “more” money/fun later then you have just cheapened your life in the worst possible way.  You’re putting a monetary value, something controlled by other people, something that is manipulated by others, on something that has no real value to anyone but yourself and/or your loved ones.

This is why I voice my upsets after finding words for them, after seeking out whether or not they need to be said instead of railing at my husband for the things he’s doing with his time that I know he’d rather not be (or in avoidance of doing things he doesn’t like – like dishes); it’s why I consider whether or not a situation really requires me yelling (they never do – really), whether or not whatever emotion I’m experiencing in relation to an upsetting situation is worth holding on to for longer than it takes me to understand the where or why of it.  Processing, not denial, is healing in it of its self.  Nothing else is worth holding on to.  If time were a currency that each individual had control over for themselves then we’d be left with never knowing the amount we have to spend.  We would only have the knowledge that time was so precious precisely because of its unknown quantity.

Bitterness is so easy; it’s something so many can relate with.  Happiness is harder.  And yet when that choice has been made love is easier, bountiful, and never ending.  It’s beauty you can live every moment.  You just have to choose to own your humanity and, by extension recognize other’s.  Pain, love, honesty, compassion, anger, and grief…  Deny none of them and in them find the beauty of each.

The AHA! Moment

Through out my constant struggle in finding out who I am there has been that insidious belief that I’m not “enough”.   However much I clean, there are the fleas (infestation from hell); however peaceful a parent I am, there are moments when I yell; no matter how much I cook, someone is always not eating something.  My writing is at a similar place – mostly because it gets crammed in amid the other stuff that takes priority and, quite frankly, by the time I’m done with the absolute must do’s all I want to do is read the works of others.  Every “accomplishment” I have is transient.  Every goal I have for being a mother as well as the stuff that has little to do with my mothering are things that take me further away from a simple and elegant truth.

To explain it fully I feel I need to give context to my moment of clarity.  The last couple of weeks have been difficult – my husband’s brewery is now officially in crunch time with applying for a permit of occupancy coming up very fast now while the store he manages and also co-owns is short staffed – leaving me little time to myself as well as the new fall schedule for this homeschooling family.  Amid all this I attended the regular playdate with some local homeschoolers, people I consider friends of me and my children, and felt myself to be quieter than usual.  Perhaps this is because of the dietary modifications I’ve been making for myself recently (that’s another topic altogether), but even if not for the first time in a long time I felt the ground beneath the feet as my own.  I was earth bound and my energy was that of someone present.

I didn’t feel the need to complain.

And then it happened.  I was talking to the few moms who showed up about the drama of my son, and I started bringing up all that other stuff, too.  It was all that other stuff that made it difficult to handle the stress of a dramatic five year old.  As though it wasn’t difficult on its own.  As though being a mother wasn’t enough of a reason to need support.  As if being a mother wasn’t enough.

But it is.

My upbringing in the public school system was typical and very much involved external validation and acknowledgment simply to move forward.  Survival depended upon all of these things even if, like me, you defined survival as getting the hell out of it alive.  BEING was not enough.  Not ever.  It was what you DID.  It was what you COMPLETED.  It was HOW you completed it.  It was never simply you.

Support was similarly handled.  It was for the external stuff.  It wasn’t for being.  Hell, I was in therapy for years – tremendous support had – and it’s only now that I recall sitting with my dear therapist and, later, friend that I truly get what he was doing when he offered to just sit with me one Saturday afternoon in his living room.  I spoke.  I deflected.  He just was.  And he was showing me support for who I was.  And who I was had little to do with the nervous words I used to fill a silence too painful to be in.

Every moment of discomfort has taught me a great deal, but none more so than the awareness of fighting the discomfort.  It was a fight that stood between me and myself – in realizing that love can’t be had while denigrating each and every experience or role I have chosen for myself.  Those moments of condescension rob me and those I love of me, of them, and of the joy that becomes possible the moment one realizes this:

Just being is enough.  It’s all there really is.

Gratitude from an unworthy parent…

I wish I were one of those incredibly happy individuals, one who felt the blessing of each moment of every day, but the truth is I’m not.  Self criticism is something I excel at.  My perfectionism, while limited, knows no bounds.  I used to be incredibly proud of this, these days I’m horrified and crippled by it.  Each day I hear thoughts in my head about how I wish my children would be, wonder why they’re not, and then harp on myself as to the source of such thoughts.  Why am I so accomplishment driven?  Why is my sense of accomplishment coming to rest upon my little ones?

I wish I could say I didn’t rage  – fervently – except I can’t.  Not honestly.  I yell, I say mean things, I will physically move my children, and then I act as though this is somehow better than hitting, beating….  In truth I don’t think it is.  Not to mention I think even discussing or thinking of things on sliding scales is simply bullshit.  Damage is damage, is damage, is damage.

It’s caused me to really reflect upon myself and the root of what drives these tendencies within me.  That sadistic edge that drives me to punish someone for making things difficult, worse, frustrating – for NOT DOING WHAT I NEED RIGHT THEN, has had too much of a voice in how things go in my life.  Sometimes it’s simply masochism, with young children – to whom you need to be vulnerable to tend to their needs – it becomes a protective force; a metal shell of sadism to coat the soft squishy vulnerable child who had been silenced so long she didn’t know she had been.

Despite it being an obvious truth, vulnerability is something I’ve been shunning actively for a long time now.  The more I shun it, the worse the armoring, and the worse the resulting explosion becomes.  Even typing all of this it seems so nonsensical especially when the crux of the issue is control.  Control is very seldom nothing more than illusion excepting when in consideration of having it over the self.

And as a parent the control you need is different than before, your sense of autonomy is very different (children needing cuddles, nursing, kisses) as well which can act as an invasion if you’re like me and feel as though you’ve been denied the right to self; that there wasn’t support for it.  There are few things I’ve confronted in myself that are as hard hitting as the recent verbal sparring sessions I’ve had with my five year old.  Words that were the antithesis of everything I believe as a parent, as a philosophy – and so to a way of life, came flying out of my mouth in rancor filled bile.

I don’t have the courage to confront it all here – to share the nitty gritty – but each two wretched confrontations resulted in cuddles given, apologies made.  Each after my son, even with tears in his eyes, would tell me point blank – with no apology in his voice, or eyes (as there should not have been): You really hurt my feelings.  You owe me an apology.  You’re being mean.

And those words stopped me.  He was right.  He was fucking right.

I do not begrudge him his correctness, nor his fortitude in confronting me at my craziest – quite the opposite, instead I breathe a sigh of relief that he has all of that in him.  His strength is what led me to the horrifying realization that my identity, my sense of self, was built upon my value to others.  What I could and did do for them.

Some people think this is a good thing – a sign of a serious ethic being instilled- it’s absolutely not. It’s the sign of damage, of hurt, of a lack of acceptance.  There is joy to be had in giving of time and possessions to other people, but if this is born of a need to find love and approval the nature of the good action is perverted and based upon nothing more than a superficially dictated moral externally imposed through an unconstant love; a love only perceived and felt when lauded action had been taken.  Love as a reward.  Anger without compassion or love as punishment.

This was a common thing at one point – or so I like to believe – many come to grow and do better as they age without having to consider the whys of it, but for some of us time is of the essence.  I am already awake and in those terrible moments the Mom I Want To Be is fast asleep/dead while The Child Who Didn’t Get What She Needed throws an epic tantrum that has casualties.

Or maybe not too many.

My children still snuggle up to me, they seek to give me and each other comfort – my son doing so with kids he just meets, and I can’t help but realize that they’re raising me.  Each day they teach me unconditional love.  And each day I choose whether or not to succumb to my feelings of unworthiness.

Today, and hopefully tomorrow, I choose to feel the love they embody, espouse, and offer.

 

Courage

Last night my husband and I made a move that rather solidified to me how very non-mainstream we are – despite the act being one that would never have been necessary in other cultures: we brought my son’s mattress into our bedroom and laid it along side our own.  During this midnight adventure, wherein our son told us very frankly that he changed his mind and would prefer to sleep with us, something seemed to click.  Our room has never been so full nor felt so right.

I felt awkward with it initially – until we did it.  Even with that feeling of rightness I still held the idea of “what will people think” in my mind and heart; precious space being usurped by a freeloading parasite.  Then I saw Monsters University today and sat with the knowledge that it’s okay to be so different.  Not only that, but we only damage ourselves through denying who we are.

In the last few days that very issue is something that has unknowingly plagued me.  This idea of not fitting in, being resentful of those who continue to seek this out for themselves and their children, is a big one.  When viewed with the broad brush strokes of the word conformity it seems like a paltry notion, but renamed as self acceptance – being either deficient or abundant in it – it holds some importance.  So many of us make decisions with the unwitting subconscious ploy that we’ll just be happy when we’re accepted.  When.

When.

When?

This is possibly one of the single most fallacious notions I’ve come to understand in modern day and MOST of those I associate with seem to suffer from the issues it brings.  Acceptance shouldn’t be an if or when situation and it doesn’t come up later as an adult unless it was not done so from birth.  So why and when are kids being taught they are not loved simply for being?  That they are not accepted?  In this context the question of when becomes paramount – WHEN are we teaching kids they are not accepted or loved and WHEN do we?

But, moreover, why?  Why are we not teaching them the positives of being them right off the bad?  Why are so many of us invested in pointing out the failings, in not showing them they are complete unto themselves?

As many people constantly engage in a power battle, a battle which has no bearing other than one’s belief in being right – a lesson that teaches nothing but subservience, we are also feeding the insecure child within us that did not learn self acceptance.  We’re teaching our own children that their acceptance is conditional, too.  That paralyzing fear of being different, even if it’s best for who each of us is, is what is being instilled.  Hesitance, fear of failure, worry, unproductive and punishing self judgment and criticism is what we’re teaching.

For growth to occur a child must feel the ground beneath their feet, to know it’s there, that it will not be ripped out from underneath them.  In order to feel they must be encouraged to trust, to believe, to feel and know that love is their’s.  No matter what.  Teaching peace, acceptance, and the full bodied courage and vulnerability of loving someone and accepting someone else’s love is perhaps one of the hardest things to do for some of us – certainly so for me – but without it where would we be?

I can think of no lesson necessary for children to learn for the purpose of life that requires cruelty or abandonment; fear of punishment.  These things interfere with learning and teach nothing but the emotions being forced upon the child.

The question when is no longer important to me.  The question of why, for my methods and motivations, is something that surrounds me.

Be Firm – The Tao of Motherhood

At each stage of your child’s life

she needs demonstrations of

your love and support.

 

Your love comforts and accepts.

It is a mirror in which your child

sees herself as beautiful and worthy.

 

Your support encourages and

affirms; it is a springboard toward

independence.

 

Too many rules turn facilitation

into interference, affection into

business.  Let your child help set

her own limits against which

she can push now and then.

 

Be firm without being rigid.

Your child will grow up with

lots of healthy personal power.