Parenting Through Change

Sometimes this Mom gig is just so HARD.

Tonight I am weary. Not so much from physical activity as from mental and emotional activity and from biting my strong emotions and retorts back when my kiddos push my buttons.

I don’t even particularly like that quote ‘push my buttons’. It always reminds me of the little toy cash registers where you push a button and a drawer pops open and you involuntary jump every time no matter what. Then there’s the confusion of making change from dollars when numbers are not your strong suit and the whole phrase leaves me feeling anxious and depleted and defeated.

So let’s just say I felt like totally yelling today and totally crying and totally sulking.

One of the hardest things about selling our house and living in a camper is most definitely the stress it has placed on the boys. They love it here at the RV park and we have lots of fun, but the change is always hard.

Always always hard. No matter if it’s joyful change, planned change, or sudden change, it takes bodies time to adapt and become accustomed to new normal. This move is no exception.

Big life changes always come with a price and deciding if it’s what your willing to pay is just part of it.

But back to this whole mothering through change. It’s just not my favorite part of life but learning to embrace it and being OK with not being OK is high on my mindset shift.

As Brene Brown says

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater then our level of self acceptance.

Drop back a few years to when we realized our style of parenting was not bringing the results we wanted. It just wasn’t working the way we thought it automatically should.

I wish I knew who to credit this t-shirt art to, but since I don’t, I will simply say ‘it’s awesome and true!’ Connection is vital to parenting.

We decided to take a connected parenting approach to raising our boys, we had no idea of the personal growth that would happen.

It is incredibly hard to allow my child to express emotions that I was never permitted to express.

(And here I will clarify this whole thing to say that I was raised in a Christian home and I absolutely have a high regard for my parents! I am so very grateful for their good influence and care in my life. I LOVe them! )

Ex: I was taught that being angry is sin.

And we were never permitted to become angry. In other words, we got angry, but absolutely NO angry outlet was tolerated.

It’s been a learning curve for me. To feel anger. and to see anger in my kids. To acknowledge it. And then to find a healthy way to release it.

Emotions are not sin just as anger is not sin.

What we do with our emotions, ourselves, and others in the heat of them surging through us is where the kicker lies.

Since I’m being honest here, I still struggle with panic when my boys get angry.

I want to control the situation immediately. Make the so called ‘bad emotions’ leave. Suffocate the feelings.

I want to push a button and create calm.

My blood pressure rises. I look around to see if anyone else is watching my kid have a traumatic big outburst of feelings. I think of how I was immediately silenced and think they have no right to have this big feeling if I wasn’t permitted to . I feel the fight in me rising, because I have feelings and emotions too and this is not comfortable for me.

Sometime I need to simply stop and write the words of how I feel in the moment to find what’s really happening inside of my own self.

It takes an incredibly larger amount of patience to sit with them in their big emotions and let them feel safe then it does to hand out quick, swift consequences and make the noise stop.

It takes much more self control to help them calm down and wait until their brains are thinking clearly before talking about better ways to handle the situation then it does to throw out threats at them and scare them into obedience and silence.

Did you know that when a child is in total unregulated meltdown mode they can hear about 1 word you are saying? So save your breathe! Wait to share your practical problem solving advice until they (and most likely you) are calmer!

Tonight, I sit beside my two sleeping boys. A storm is rolling in and the wind is picking up all kinds of gustiness. I want it to blow right through my heart and take away all the weary and all the times I made less then good choices as a mom this week.

I honesty feel like a total failure on some levels and then I remind myself that I am doing my best.

That we have grace and forgiveness and second chances in our family.

That the point is not about getting it all right. It’s about learning and growing and becoming stronger. Healthier. Braver.

That at the end of the day, we can lay down to rest, knowing we are loved. Loved in our weakness. Our pain. Our joy. Loved for our wild glory and our unique low lands. Loved for being ourselves.

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6 Comments

  1. Great post! I am curious if any other explanation other than it is a sin was ever given for why you couldn’t be angry? Also, how were you taught to deal with those feelings if you were never allowed to “officially” have them? Were there any other emotions that were off limits? I would think that would be a really frustrating to not be allowed to feel the honest emotions and only lead to more anger.

    1. Thanks Hannah!
      There could have been other explanations to getting angry, but I don’t remember them.
      I know from experience that what I understood from childhood is not always what my culture meant to teach me, but it’s what my perception understood.

      There were many emotions that were permitted but they had to always stay ‘under control’. That may sound strange but it’s the best way I can describe it 🙂

      Any big emotion needed to be rationalized or reasoned away or ‘understood’ instead of simply allowing it to be in your body. I am still learning to allow my emotions to be alive while at the same time, understanding that I am not my emotions.

      1. That is interesting. Did it apply to positive emotions as well? If something really good, exciting, happy happened-did that have to remain “under control” as well? And yes, it is hard to feel our emotions but not let them rule us. I think that is why ignoring or stuffing those uncomfortable emotions is easier, even though it is so unhealthy for our mental health.

      2. It did apply to positive emotions as well. It was all great to be happy or excited or to have a pleasant time but feeling extreme pleasure or satisfaction was quickly labeled ‘proud’. There was always an underlying fear in me that I would like something too much or have too good of a time and receive disapproval for my actions, which Came from my deep emotions. I was a huge people pleaser so the reaction of others was my guide instead of what I really felt or wanted.

  2. I am right there with you Anita! I am determined my kids will be allowed to have opinions because as a child I was expected to comply no matter what my thoughts or feelings were. But oh my, most times it feels like my parenting is slightly out of control and my life quite chaotic, but as we overcome challenges and I see my kids grow in the hard areas, I have moments of thinking that maybe we are doing alright at this parenting thing but those thoughts evaporate rather quickly at the very next meltdown in the middle of the grocery store😏 thanks for sharing this post, I love hearing other people’s parenting stories. Blessings to you guys!

    1. Thank you Graci! It’s quite a challenge, but how I love the healing I see as well! It’s such a gift that I am so very grateful for!
      Blessings to you as well!

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