The Parent I Thought I was Supposed to be (and the one I'm honored to be)
Before I was a parent, I was one of those friends.
You know the one who thought
I’d never do that
Or my child would never behave that way
Or I’d never let my child get away with that.
Even when the words weren’t spoken aloud
There were my thoughts.
A parent who commands and demands respect.
I had so many ideas and thoughts of how I was going to be as a mom
But the biggest one was that I would have control
My kids would listen to me
They were going to respect me.
My child was never going to sleep with me
I wasn’t going to lie with my child as he fell asleep
He’d clean up his toys when I said
I’d cook one meal, don’t want it don’t eat
And I’d squash any uprising that was attempted.
All of these thoughts swirled around
It was all a matter of control.
Kids just needed to be disciplined.
And that was pretty much how I parented the first few years
(well except for the sleeping in my bed, I was simply too tired to fight that one!)
Everything was about control.
I wasn’t going to bend or yield to this little person
I was the parent after all
It was my job to fix this behavior
To teach my child
To help them make the “right” choices
And every “bad” behavior was a reflection on me as a parent
Doing my job
Or failing at my job.
But the thing is if I let you behind the closed door for a moment,
Things were a mess
I was a mess
I was barely coping
And it felt like I was just trying to survive
(and doing a piss poor job at that)
Everything felt so hard
And my kids weren’t under control
Life was chaos
And time outs.
Even when I was filling my cup and taking care of me
I felt better but I can’t say I felt peaceful
I still reacted all the time
To my kids
To my husband
It was like there was this bridge
This gap between the parent (or partner) I wanted to be
And the parent (or partner) I was being.
So I blamed
If only they’d listen
If only they’d do what they are supposed to be doing
I wouldn’t lose my cool
If only my husband appreciated me
Or helped without losing his cool
Which only made more work for me.
When I stumbled into peaceful parenting
I had no idea there was another way to parent
But I was willing to try anything
And it made so much sense
So I jumped in
I was trying so hard to be peaceful
Before I felt it
Before I understood that my feelings
My emotional reactions are generated from my thoughts
The knowledge that my thoughts were creating my experience
These thoughts of needing control
And the parent I should be
How my child should behave.
I now had permission to create the experience I wanted to be having
By focusing on my thoughts
The freed me to truly connect with my kids
From a place of peace and high vibration energy.
I wanted dinner to be about the company and conversation
So I’m a short order cook
And I love it!
I wanted mornings to be peaceful and organized
So I pack my kids bags and get out their clothes
And mornings are wonderful.
I wanted a clean, organized home
So I pick up when I need to to create that
And I look around with satisfaction.
What am I teaching my kids?
To take joy in experience
To take ownership of what you want
That I love them unconditionally
And I take pleasure in caring for them.
The thing is they respond with more cooperation,
Listening and helping
Than they ever did when I was trying to make them.
I’m not permissive.
I set limits and boundaries around the things that are important to me
And we talk about why
And while they may not always like it
There isn’t a power struggle over it.
I’m nothing like the parent I thought I needed to be
But I’m exactly the parent my kids need me to be
And learning to navigate relationships
Regulate their emotions
And figuring out who they are
(without an external authority figure always dictating to them)
Is more important to me than picking up those toys
Or eating something they don’t like for dinner.
Judgement is just self-judgement anyway
A conflict between a thought you have (that you downloaded when you were a child)
Of how something is supposed to be done
And someone doing it differently
(because if they’re doing it right the thought is that you’re belief is wrong)
But when I found the confidence in myself
The love within to know that
Even when I feel like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing
That’s just a thought living beneath the surface
And that I have control over
To choose to believe in myself instead
To choose peace instead of whatever chaos is swirling around.
It is possible for every parent to create the experience you want to be having
By letting go of the shoulds
By connecting to who you really are
By finding your peace and joy in every day
Because when that is the energy your communicating
To others they can’t help but feel it.
When you communicate with compassion instead of resentment
The connection grows.
You are an emotional being so your first reaction in any situation
Will be an emotional one
But those feelings are simply communication to a thought
Nobody can make you feel something
And the beauty of that is
That you have control over how you feel in any situation
Simply by changing your thoughts.
But when you are low vibe energy
You fall into habitual responses
And if you learned to handle stress and chaos and messiness
(all of which parenting is)
By frustration and yelling that’s what you’ll do
If you learned to retreat and hold it in
That’s what you’ll do (until the dam bursts anyway)
If you learned to find comfort in food
Then that’s what you’ll do
But when you focus on your energy
And filling yourself up with positive thoughts at every opportunity
And bring yourself back to this whenever low vibe energy is creeping in
You can change your whole experience
(and influence others as well)
How grateful I am that I had support
Grateful that I received this knowledge
As I began this journey into peaceful parenting
The support to see my limitations in my beliefs
Which I couldn’t see myself because they felt like real life
I believed I couldn’t do this
I believed that I wasn’t a good mom
I believed that I had to do it all (and then resented that truth)
It wasn’t until I created new beliefs that I began to feel differently
That I began to feel confident and calm as I parented my boys
That I began to lean into the connection with my boys and my husband
And as I transformed my feelings and energy
The thing is the behaviors that triggered me before didn’t
And the listening and cooperation blossomed
And the power struggles faded away.
Shifting beliefs and feelings doesn’t happen without conscious awareness
It doesn’t happen without a desire to learn and grow
It’s like pulling back the layers to the true place of peace and joy.
Your feelings and emotions are simply communication
A barometer of how far off track your thoughts are from that peace, love and joy
That may play out as exhaustion and stress and overwhelm.
The beauty is that change is completely possible because it’s completely within you
You do get to get to create the experience you desire to have in parenting
If this resonates with you and you’re ready to learn more about peaceful parenting and de-escalating challenging parenting moments, click here to grab a free download or sign up for a free live masterclass!
Irene is a certified parenting coach who is passionate about creating peace in parenting and opening parents hearts to what is possible in their family. She works with clients 1-1 and offers support through her digital course, The Peaceful Parent Playbook. She is host of the private Facebook Community, The Moms Hive. She is inspired to help moms let go of the doing that leads to the overwhelm and more “bee-ing” in peace, joy and a love for parenting.