A relationship with ourselves sets the foundation for other relationships we have with others, be it son/daughter, spouse, parent, employee, etc. Unmet emotional scars will always show up through those relationships until we are healed.
Our past influences our present and how we parent our children; we need to free ourselves consciously. Our children facilitate our evolution and foster a renewed sense of who we are. We enter parenthood with scars and baggage that we know of and the ones that we have numbed over time.
As we are in spring, this is an opportunity for rebirth, renewal and healing our emotional, mental baggage and negative belief systems which are sabotaging our relationship with our children. Being a conscious parent is not something that you have to go to school to learn, it is something you do daily through the awareness you have of how you are parenting. It is about creating a connection, being still and fully present when you are interacting with your children.
When I became a parent to my son, I read lots of books about how to take care of a child, what to do when they are sick, when to get them medical attention and never concentrated on how to prepare myself emotionally for parenting the child. What was always on my mind was how not to raise my son the way I was raised, what to do and what not to do. As parents, we do our best raising children the best way we know how. However, emotional and mental baggage, limiting beliefs creep in, such as childhood memories you have of how your parents parented you, e.g. neglect, lack of love and connection, not being good enough and worthy, etc.
I grew up without connecting with my mom. I was raised by my late grandmother, even though my mom was physically present, staying in the same household. I felt rage towards her, unloved, lost when around her. I couldn’t connect emotionally to her because she never played a big part in my life, my grandmother did. Granny filled the mother void which I longed for. She was there for me throughout, knew most of the time what was happening to me. Even when I lived far away from Soweto, she made a point of knowing where I was studying and staying. I always wondered why my mom never showed affection and we never communicated. Through my teenage years, I spent time studying, going to the library, attending extra classes and kept a handful of friends nearby that my caregivers approved of and knew. I made a vow that I would parent my children differently. Little did I know that my children would bear the brunt of the lack of love and compassion I received from my mother.
I remember one afternoon when I was coming back home from work and my son was less than two years old. He was standing by the door; he seems to have mastered the time when mommy returns from work, he will hear the car parking and stand by the front door to welcome me with open arms. I was hesitant at first because affection was never shown physically to me. He taught me to hug, something I couldn’t do because of the wall I created by not knowing better.
Have I healed from the baggage? I am better now, have forgiven mom, my personal mastery has improved because of the ‘innerwork’ I am doing with the guidance of coaches. I am loving the transformation and growth. Healing is a journey. I am more conscious, aware of how I raise my children through the ups and downs we go through and they daily take me through different levels of consciousness. The week I was writing this article, my mom called me to explain herself. It took over four decades to understand her side of the story, what she went through, trauma and regretting being an absent mother. Since my children have been born, I have restricted their visits to my mom by themselves, fearing their being treated like I was when young. I just realised that I made decisions because of lack of communication and the poor relationship I had with my mom. Now I am glad that we can improve our relationship and her grandchildren will connect with her more.
Understanding that I cannot protect my children from everything because they have their own spiritual journey and soul lessons. When my son was doing grade 7, planning to move to grade 8, he insisted on going to boarding school. I gave him a tough time, making him justify his decision. He had to write a motivational letter and do research of high schools near us and justify local schools vs boarding. His father and I finally approved because we realised that, if we did not support the growth he was requesting, he would grow up and blame us if his life didn’t turn the way he requested; lacking independence, etc. It was a difficult time for us, adjusting to having a teenager being miles away from home and the restrictions of not being able to visit him when we desired to. I felt like something was ripped apart. He taught me to accept his decisions, being independent at a young age.
After the last term ended, he returned home. We had to find him a local school. He learned his lessons; some, I believe, have changed the person that he is and will be in future.
Allowing them to guide me and teach me to parent them and heal my wounds of wanting to be a present parent, something I never felt whilst young.
Healing my own inner child, mother wound and father wounds which showed up in how I related to others and parented my children.
Spending quality time – I learned each child’s love language and have asked them to make me aware when I default to my old habits. It takes time to change habits; being intentional and sincere, makes it easy.
Redefining discipline by moving away from punishment to discipline.
Acknowledging their strength – I love how my daughter is non-apologetic about who she is. The confidence and self-awareness are on steroids.
Humility – being able to apologise, able to admit I have made a mistake or when I am wrong. It was hard to do; when I resist, they remind me of the commitment I made. They would say “Mommy, remember to admit when you are wrong”
Love – learning to love myself so that I can love my children for who they are and not give from an empty cup.
Reflect on how you are parenting your children and ask yourself:
How is my emotional and mental baggage affecting my parenting skills?
What areas of my life do I need to heal to be able to show up as a conscious parent? What needs to change?