See that picture down there? That's my family. If you're anything like me, you might look at that photo and feel a twinge of envy, mainly because you'll assume that one photo tells a story of our lives, as opposed to the one moment we captured. That was a really, really happy moment. That's why I snapped a shot. I can tell you, so very honestly, that those moments don't happen all the time when raising small kids. I just don't snap pictures of myself screaming into pillows or punching walls, or scowling at my spouse for not doing the laundry *right*.
But this, this was a great moment:
I have often wondered about the Creator's Master Plan. It's ironic you know, that one of the main objectives of raising a human is to foster independence. We live a good portion of our lives being independent and full of ego, and doing what we want, when we want, and then BOOM we have kids and all the stuff the ego thrives on gets completely destroyed.
It's not about you anymore. It's not even about them, really. It's about being willing to give to other humans wholeheartedly, and to jump into the abyss of service.
My two biggest parenting challenges have been:
1) Controlling my temper.
This means that I blow sometimes. I get full to the brim from sensory overload and frustration and I blow. After I blow I feel like the world's worst mother and I beat myself up for days and days. It's a shitty cycle and it sucks. So I work on it daily: cultivating patience.
2) Knowing what to do with my kids.
I know that sounds weird, but I have a lot of anxiety around my time alone with them: finding things to do, keeping them occupied, trying new things, getting creative. I realized that I am not confident with my ability to play and be on the spot. So what happens? I get angry (see above) and the cycle continues.
I have told myself that I'm just not good at it. I look at other parents playing with their kids and I compare myself. I zone out when with them, or avoid moments of playtime by doing housework or making busy. Meanwhile, I miss out on all the moments of connection that I long for.
My older child is almost 4, and it was just a few days ago that I decided to ditch this story of me being a shitty parent and get down on the floor with him and play. What was the hang-up? I've been afraid to fail. Afraid to try things I don't feel good at. Afraid to let go and jump into the moment.
Someone said to me today, "You know what? I think I'm really afraid of failure" to which I replied, "Who isn't?"
I know it's only been a few days, but in deciding to be open to trying new things, to committing to being present and playful with my kids, I feel like someone new. I feel my heart opening. I feel my vulnerability and humanness. I feel like it's okay to suck at this for awhile because then I'll get good at it.
I had a breakthrough.
And here's the wisdom I want to share:
My fear of failure and insecurity showed up in the form of a bad attitude. You know, "I hate playing with them. Playing is so boring. This sucks. I'd rather be doing anything else..."
A bad attitude is like being stuck in stone.
In shifting my attitude, I discovered that the voice of intuition kicks in. This is the voice that knows how to play with my kids, knows what they need, knows how to be present. It's all there, I just have to keep kicking the shitty voices away.
And hey, look, this is us playing: