Ready to have you mind blown?? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The truth that I’m about to drop is going to change the way you see the world…
Being a parent is really fucking hard!
So much truth, so many layers, so much awareness that I am still so god damn new at this and one day I will look back and grin at my adorable ignorance. But I also know that this is real for me right now, and it will feel this real for me 20 years from now for a whole new set of reasons. It will never not be hard, because when you are this deeply in love you never stop living in your most vulnerable state. This shit can be intense. Not like P-90x core work out, makes you want to vomit just thinking about it kind of intense, more like that feeling you get when you are watching a sitcom and you know you are about to witness the turning point in the series. You’re about to find out something about the main character that is going to change everything you felt about them in a split second. Your body is at a peak state of awareness and if one more god damn commercial drags this out for another second you are going to explode! It’s like that, and then it can be somewhat boring, and then it repeats itself over and over again. No wonder why we are so exhausted all the time. That and the whole ‘kids have no respect for the fact that humans need to sleep to stay alive’ thing.
Wanna know what else is really hard? Having to be brutally honest with yourself when you realize that you slipped back into old habits fueled by insecurity and codependence. But the difference is, now you are a Mom, and you are all too aware of the fact that you do nothing alone anymore, including your old worn out habits. You now have a 2.0 version of yourself downloading everything you do, say, and feel into the hard drive of her subconscious which will later manifest into her very own habits, values, and self-image. Now that, that’s some sobering shit right there. It also kinda sucks when you are getting to know yourself at a new level, and you realize that writing this ego-bruising stuff down and sharing it is the only way that you can properly digest this knowledge and turn it into something prettier than how it feels right now. So here it goes…
Recently my immediate family and I went away for a week to the Poconos. A trip that we have been doing for a few years now, and we love it. It gives you something to look forward to after the exhausting holiday season is over, and it gets you out of the house and into a new environment, which after having Ellie I have a whole new appreciation for. The week is filled with over-indulgence. A ridiculous amount of laughter, hugs, games, relaxation, naps, food, booze (kinda-good kinda-bad I guess), but you get the point. However this time around, I also over-indulged in avoidance. Avoiding meditation, avoiding mirrors, avoiding the fact that I was avoiding mirrors, avoiding being still enough, for long enough, to become aware that I was inhabiting my current 30 year old body with the thought patterns of my 25 year old self. I was insanely self-conscious, weirdly jealous, and annoyingly passive aggressive in ways that I didn’t even recognize until today, honestly. And the worst part about it, the part that I honestly don’t even want to type because I feel like such an asshole Mom, some of these behaviors were directed at Ellie. I of course in my intentional state of unawareness was not doing this intentionally, but I did it none the less. It’s not a good-look, and although I know that the reality of the situation is far less dramatic than I am making it out to be, it happened, and I know that if it can happen that easily once, it can that easily reoccur for the rest of her life if I don’t own up to it now. The examples that are sticking out in my head are the moments of jealousy and codependence, and when I was being passive-aggressive to mask my own insecurities.
I remember when my sister was pregnant with my oldest niece Gigi, I would constantly say ‘I can’t wait until the day she reaches for me while you are holding her, that has to be the best feeling in the world as an Aunt.’ I mean as I’m typing it I sound like a total asshole, but I also know that it was coming from an insecure place of love and complete ignorance, so it’s cool. Fast forward to February 2017 when I have a daughter of my own, my sisters first niece, who is madly in love with her Aunt Kiki. Now all of a sudden my ass isn’t all that ok with this ‘best feeling as an Aunt’ stuff. But like every other part of parenthood its super confusing. I am filled with so much love watching the two of them love on each other, fully aware that this is what she has witnessed with me and her girls for all these years, while simultaneously feeling like that insecure jealous little sister who simply can’t deal. I am grateful that through the work I am doing on myself, I was aware enough to know that this feeling of jealousy wasn’t coming from a place of truth, but from a place of Ego, but nonetheless it was right there, coming up so that I could work on it. But as I had mentioned previously, I was practicing avoidance that week, so much like my 25 year old self would have done, I shoved that shit down with a bag of potato chips and kept it moving.
The one good thing about the really uncomfortable and painful moments that our Ego experiences, is that we are simultaneously being given an opportunity to get to know our true selves better. In the experience that I just talked about, I became highly attuned to the fact that I am already co-dependent with my daughter. My Ego was translating her interactions with Kristin as threatening to my relationship with her, which is co-dependence 101. This deeper understanding didn’t necessarily make me feel better about having felt that way, but there is a sense of relief that comes from knowing your feelings are not who you are, and are they are not a reflection of your character. It kind of lets your soul off the hook. It does not however let me off the hook for the work that I must do around my tendency to become co-dependent with the people closest to me. That is something that I will always be on the hook for, and thank god I am. Lord knows I am responsible for this chain, and I plan on breaking it.
Now for the passive-aggressive little ditty’s I was tossing around all week. One of them was “Ohhh you are so rotten!” the other “Ugh! Next week is going to be brutal, trying to break her of this wanting to be held all the time stuff!” Both of them seemingly harmless, I mean it’s not like I was calling Ellie out on the carpet and blasting her for not knowing how to tie her own shoes yet, or making fun of what she was wearing. But the way I see it, these little ways of masking MY OWN insecurities could possibly be more damaging in the long run, because of how innocent they sound, but how powerful they feel. These mindless messages could be the broken record of her life, going totally unnoticed by everyone but being felt by the one person who had nothing to do with any of it. So the “Ohhh you are so rotten!” comment would almost always follow a moment when Ellie would unapologetically take any and all food from any and all people at any time she wanted, especially her three older cousins. Now mind you, Ellie is a little over a year old and an only child, so to her the world is her oyster and my girl is gonna go ahead and eat the damn thing. Mike and I have not been ignorant to this reality, but it became very clear that week and it triggered me to go into full on insecurity mode. I was triggered by embarrassment, which would cause me to jokingly call her rotten, which would be followed up by an attempt to show her what a good choice looked like and this would then be repeated about 765 more times that day. While all of this was happening she was also being carried from room to room from anyone that was closest to her when her arm flew up in the air, which would cue me to play the old tune of “next week, blah blah blah”.
I didn’t understand the reason for all of this until today, but it was very clear when I actually sat with it. I was shaming my daughter in the form of passive-aggressive one liners, because I was afraid that her acting like a one year old, made me look like I didn’t have a clue on how to parent. Which news-flash; I don’t!! I mean does anyone actually know what they are doing?? But seriously though, that shit was a pretty tough pill to swallow. I was so wrapped up in my own head about how people (my family who loves me) thought I parented that I didn’t even notice that I was shaming and blaming my little girl for no good reason. Now the whole stealing food thing, we definitely have to work on that, but the wanting to be carried, I mean who the hell wouldn’t? And why in the world did I think that anyone for a second would mind? I mean I may be biased but my daughter is probably the cutest, softest, squishiest, sweetest little girl ever born, so of course her family who adores her would scoop her up the second she requested it. None of my reactions were based in truth, they were based in fear of judgement. And when we react from fear we are contracting from our own truth. I have some stuff I need to work on, and I will probably have to work on for the rest of my life. But I would rather do this work day in and day out, than to see my daughter having to do the work herself because I was too afraid to look myself in the mirror.
Long story short, I’m not a bad Mom, I’m just a freakin’ human being who is responsible for another human being and I have no idea what I’m doing. I know that I am not alone in this, and I know that my tribe of mothers and aunts and sisters and humans-alike are navigating this life with the same jacked up compass that I am, so I hope that by sharing these deeply human moments with you, it might help you on your own journey. But if not, please know that by allowing me to share this with you, you are helping me on mine. I am so grateful for all of you. Xo