Parents are people too

When choosing a profession such as a nurse, accountant, a teacher or a builder there are certain qualifications you will need to achieve before you are fully able to present yourself to the world in a competent fashion. Extensive study, theory exams, months of practical experience, acquired tools, techniques and skills are necessary for you to achieve certification, diplomas or degrees in your chosen field.

However when choosing to become a parent there are fewer requirements (ie, intercourse with a partner of the opposite sex, the ability to fall pregnant, carry the child for a period of nine months and deliver this baby into the world) and ‘voila’ – you are a Parent. There is no test to find out whether or not you are compatible with your chosen partner, no one to be accountable to during  pregnancy if you choose not to, no one to mark you on your work(mother-in-laws exempt)  and no compulsory course to grant your competency.  Yes, there is certainly support available to those who choose to use it. There is an overload of information from peers, parents, the media, books and the internet for you to consider. There are experts in the field of human behaviour offering opinions based on research and peoples experiences, and there are experienced  parents  who have gone before us offering advice not knowing if what they have done has been right, wrong, good, bad, indifferent or even enough.

However, the way you choose to parent is completely up to you – it’s your responsibility and it is your choice. As we take on this responsibility particularly for the first time our journey can be rewarding, exciting and fulfilling giving us feelings of joy and fuelling our spirit like never before.  There are times too when it can be challenging, exhausting, mundane and arduous as we struggle to discover what works and what doesn’t for us and our children. We soon learn that whilst some of our ideas, values and beliefs are the same as our partners they can also be different causing confusion and conflict. We learn that ‘yes’ we wanted the baby but where are the instructions for the screaming toddler or the defiant teenager. We soon learn that as parents we take on many smaller roles that fit under the one ‘responsible parenting’ umbrella. (i.e. teacher, nurturer, disciplinarian, taxi driver, night shift worker, chief cook and bottle washer, events organiser, Easter bunny, Santa, football team manager, nurse) to name a few. We do all of these whilst holding down a job and or even parenting alone without the support of a partner. Often we over identify with these roles and in doing so we lose ourselves as Human Beings. We try so hard to be everything to everybody often with little reward or recognition. (Mothers and Fathers day excluded, thank you God). After some time we forget the person we used to be and we often don’t want to admit to the person we have become. Resenting, blaming partners and children for the life or chaos we have created is common and we become a victim of our circumstances as we get stuck on the merry-go-round of life not knowing how to get off. This of course is not to say that we don’t start off with all the right intentions of being organised, having time for self and partner, knowing our responsibilities, finding that right work/life/family balance. However, life often has an uncanny way of getting in the road of our well-formed plans.

If you wish to parent consciously and effectively understanding yourself as a person first is essential. To truly know yourself is key to helping you on the road to mastering all aspects of your life on all levels. Getting to know the real you, spending time accessing your inner essence will lead to being the person you love to be and consequently the parent you aspire to be. It is important to understand your needs – physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and energetically.  Knowing self and being the essence of your true self will ensure that when you present yourself to your children you will be coming from the energy of love.

Echart Tolle says ‘Awareness is the greatest agent for change’. We need to be fully aware of how we are in the NOW and how we are using our energy. Some of the best people to teach us this are our children. Have you ever watched a child building lego or making sandcastles. They are totally focused in the now, creating their masterpiece and trusting in the outcome of their creation.

PHYSCIALLY –  regular exercise of your choice such as yoga, swimming, gym, bike riding or walking outdoors for 30 mins at least 3 times/week  is imperative for your own well-being and you are also being an excellent role model for your children. Playing full out with friends or family is a beautiful way of reconnecting with your own inner child.

MENTALLY, stimulate your mind with information from books, attend self help or parent courses and listen to expert advice that will support your personal growth and the social and emotional well being of yourself and your family.

EMOTIONALLY – Understanding the importance of attending to your emotional needs  and communicating these needs will support your self esteem and confidence as a person and as a parent – your children will learn the benefits of expressing their feelings and communicating their own needs – what a great gift to give them.

SPIRITUALLY, focus on your faith or whatever your beliefs are and spend time daily in some form of prayer, meditation or relaxation – taking time to go inside will support your perceptions and projections in the outside world.

ENERGETICALLY, take the time to notice your own energy and who the energy boosters  and  energy vampires are in your life. You need enormous amounts of energy to Parent effectively and being aware of how both giving and receiving energy assists you in making decisions will only enhance your contribution towards your family.

Prioritising the time to do for self can be challenging and difficult to manage and it is possible providing you are fully committed to YOU. Writing out a ‘needs analysis’ and sharing this with your family will help all of you work together. Having this awareness of your needs helps you get back on track when the normal stresses of life have taken you elsewhere. By choosing to honour yourself first enables you to be a loving, conscious, authentic parent and this in itself is reason to celebrate and embrace the freedom (however brief), love, peace, joy, and aliveness of family life.  Your children will love you for it and be forever greatful. How does it get any better than this?

Comments are closed.