The other day, my daughter and I were purchasing things in a local health shop, when the cashier struck up a conversation with me about being a mother. I was a bit distracted and apologized to her. One of the things she said was: “Don’t worry about it. I know what it’s like. I haven’t had a connecting thought for several years”
So I started thinking about that, and looking at it inside myself, and I realized that since having my child, and even more since she started talking, I’ve been forced to change the way I process and deal with things inside me. When you have a child, their needs take precedence, and I know many mothers who become so completely caught up in taking care of their child’s needs, that their own needs disappear into the background, and that’s not healthy. But why do we do it then?
When my daughter started speaking, she also never stopped lol. She’s a talker (like me, I was exactly the same) and she’ll chew my ear of the entire day. So when I for example am busy preparing for us to go somewhere and want to check everything inside myself, she’s there, asking for things, demanding my attention. It is also often so that I have just started doing something, when I’m interrupted and have to take care of her instead.
This is a problem, only because I throughout my life have been a peoplepleaser who’s afraid of saying no. It’s literally a taboo inside of me to NOT give my child attention and give her what she wants. This makes me feel under a constant pressure to give. A lot of it probably has to do with how I don’t want to be like I perceived adults when I was growing up. So I’ve taken it to the opposite extreme of feeling like I have to be constantly “open for business” in terms of being present, listening, caring and attentive.
She is also not like this when she’s with my husband who is much more internalized and individualized in his nature. When she’s with him, each of them is doing their own thing, so it’s something that I originate with the way I’m approaching her.
I’ve been thinking about how, the way I feel I’m being disrupted, is actually very similar to how the mind is; constantly chatting and disrupting my natural flow. So I’ve thought that if I can learn to stay centered and focused when she’s chatting, it can help me to also not allow the mind to push me around. My buddy brought up an interesting point here though; that my daughter is actually supporting me to remain grounded, here, instead of going into the mind, and I hadn’t looked at it that way.
Another friend brought up the topic of “ghost mothers” which basically refers to a mother that’s there physically, but who is vacant otherwise; she’s like a ghost. She was saying that it is something that happens a lot to sensitive, empathic moms who tries so hard to be fully, completely present, that they lose their sense of Self, and end up as shells of a ghost, doing the motions, but not being fully there.
I also talked to my partner about it, and he brought up the fact how he actually avoids thinking about, or looking at things when he’s with our daughter. So he for example prepares everything they need for the day before hand, so that he doesn’t have to stress about it when he’s with her (and she’s chewing his ear off lol). He also doesn’t look at work stuff inside himself when he’s with her. All of these things I do. I try to be everywhere at once, be everything at once, have everything present with me all the time, and it becomes like a pressure cooker that eventually erupts because I hold everything within me, and never let go. And then I do “ME” time but all I have the energy for (because I’ve given all of me all day) is watching a show or reading a mindless book on my phone, which does not support me to release energy and come back to my being.
I forgive myself that I, in my attempt of being totally present and perfect for my child, and for everyone and everything else, actually have become the exact opposite, where I check out, become irritated and annoyed and emotional, and cannot function properly, because my mind is constantly everywhere at once
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to try to hold and manage my entire world inside of me at once, constantly, all the time, instead of utilizing the physical tools and methods I have available for me, to make things more practical and tangible and to take the pressure of myself, my body and my mind
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to be overly ambitious and arrogant about what I think I am able to handle, and to just pile on more and more things and responsibilities, without having effective ways of managing or handling them, to the point where I become so stressed, that I start failing at things, and my body takes a huge strain
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to take on things that I know deep down that I don’t have the capacity to handle right now, and yet I do it anyway, because I feel like I can’t say no, because I feel like I’ll be missing the train on an opportunity that I don’t know will come again
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to waste other people’s time, and to cause consequences in their lives because I haven’t taken proper responsibility to admit to myself what I can, and cannot handle, and so say yes to things I shouldn’t
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to create a delusional idea about what it means to be a good mother, where I think that it’s about being at my child’s beg and call, to constantly keep her satisfied and satiated, and to constantly compromise my own wants and needs in her favor, not realizing how this behavior is actually causing me to become the exact opposite – where it causes me to pull away, disengage, become irritated and disconnected from her, because I disconnect from myself
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself to fear being a bad mother if my child become dissatisfied because I don’t engage with her the way she wants me to in the moment, or give her what she wants, instead of realizing that in my fear of being a bad mother, I’m actually becoming exactly what I fear
I forgive myself that I’ve accepted and allowed myself not to realize that I can be present, connected, caring and attentive towards my child, without loosing my connection with myself. That its about me not being everywhere all at once, but about being present here in the moment, and being here for ME and for whomever or whatever I’m with in the moment, and that’s it.
I commit myself to work on creating routines that allows me to remain focused with my child because I don’t have to think about and look at things inside myself when I am with her.
I commit myself to push myself to focus on the present moment and what I am doing here right now
I commit myself to focus on reconnecting with myself, and to allow myself to give myself focus, attention and care, and to say no
I commit myself to show and express more care for myself, by checking in with my own wants and needs
I commit myself to give more care, attention and focus to ME
I commit myself to say NO as an act of radical self-care.
[photo by Steinar Engeland]
Check out http://lite.desteniiprocess.com to learn how to use the writing technique I’m using here to empower myself on a deep level.