Do you ever feel misunderstood? Or feel unseen and unheard?... You can't quite articulate the experience in words - and there is an experience that sometimes you wish the people around you "got you".
If only they understood how much you're trying, and how much you love.
If only they could sense that you're giving this parenting thing everything you have.
There is a lull of feeling under-appreciated.
The feeling of being not good enough is a constant - no matter how much you meditate, do yoga, read the self-help books; and no matter how many times you're seeking validation and approval from those around you. You hear that "you're doing great!" and you somewhat find it hard to fully digest.
I've been a mother for under 4 years... and I've come to the following conclusion.
Children are the most misunderstood beings in the world... and misunderstood children grow up to be misunderstood, adults.
To feel seen, to feel heard, to feel understood - that's what we are all seeking.
From the moment we enter the world as a newborn to the moment when we take our last breath.
We are all seeking to be seen, heard, and understood - especially by the ones we love.
"You're not listening to me!" - says the parent.
"You don't understand me!" - thinks the child.
Listening - is an art. It is active - not passive. How we listen and where we're listening from matters.
Are we listening from Love, or are we listening from Fear? When a parent learns to observe and listen to their child from a place of Love - the child grows up knowing how to listen from that place too.
Are we listening to seek understanding from our children - or are we listening to our children as though they are deliberately disobedient and defiant?
I don't believe children are naughty. Nor are their tantrums unwarranted. They react when they have difficulty regulating their emotions and are challenged.
If they are "acting out" it's because they are having a hard time knowing how to work through some tough emotions, or they may be tired, hungry, and overstimulated.
We act out when we are tired, spent, and going through challenges.
In these moments, all we are seeking is to be loved when we are at our worst.
If we can give ourselves some space and grace; we'll be able to understand our children on a deeper level rather than judge them on their behaviour.
There is always a reason behind the behaviour. - And this pertains to both our children and ourselves. We have a choice to judge the behaviour or seek to understand.
I'm clear that this world of ours is at it's best when it is seeking more Love, more understanding, more compassion - for ourselves and therefore, one another.
AND... the toughest part of all of this - learning to love ourselves.
When we can meet our soul, and learn to love ourselves - we become better parents.
This isn't about perfection - nor am I criticising how we parent.
My intention, my pure intention, is that we embody the following realisation: I am a better parent when I know how to love myself better.
The other day Avery asked me; "Mummy, do you love me?".
"Oh Avery, I LOVE YOU!!!.. How come you question that?", I answered.
"...Because you yelled at me before." He responded.
I wanted to defend myself. I was even thinking; "DUDE! Are you for real?! Mummy was stern; however, I didn't yell! I felt "misunderstood".
Here's how it unfolded.
I bent down to his eye-level, I cupped his face in the palm of my hands, and I asked him to look at me in my eyes.
"Darling, I love you. And if I ever say anything mean or hurtful, or I act out in a way that upsets you - I'm sorry...and please tell me as I'm learning. I make mistakes and I'm always learning to do better.".
Here's what I know - as an adult, as the parent, our mental faculty is more developed than our children's. They are looking for us to be guided and feel safe and seen.
We can only meet them on that level when we feel safe and seen within ourselves.
As much as I wanted to defend myself - that was the inner child in me screaming. The adult in me could create space and Love for what Avery communicated.
In his world, I raised my voice. That is real to him. He wanted me to "hear" that. He wanted me to "understand" how it felt for him.
When we heal our inner-child, we alter the trajectory of parenting. We no longer perpetuate the lineage of feeling unseen, unheard, and misunderstood.
If we want to enjoy parenting and be the best parent we can be, start loving ourselves. Allow that inner-child to heal - and know that she is capable of being loved.
As you go on this journey of learning to love yourself, you will feel seen, heard, and understood.
The ripple effect is that your children will too feel seen, heard, and understood.
My invitation to you this week. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Bring compassion in the moments of judgement, guilt, and shame.
...and take the time to connect within yourself and love on yourself a little more.