I used to be plagued with guilt when I fell short of my parenting ideal. I had been conditioned to believe that I could and would be the “perfect” mom. I had spent years learning how to control my behavior and my temper so was shocked and filled with guilt when rage entered into my parenting experience. It became my deep dark secret that I didn’t want anyone to know. My self-worth depended on me being a “good” girl who always behaved and I couldn’t seem to stop.
I couldn’t believe that after all my years of therapy and spiritual growth that I found myself feeling such rage in the face of my 6 year old not listening. I was shocked that her determination and strong will threatened my well being. I was at a loss as to how to control my “not so pretty” behavior, let alone control hers.
I was filled with guilt and shame and the more I felt it the more I had. Finally I realized that it wasn’t serving me or my daughter. I had to learn to detach my behavior from my self-worth. Yes, when I was stressed and feeling out of control I acted out. Yes, when I felt helpless and not listened to I yelled. That didn’t mean I was a worthless mother who was ruining my child. That meant I was stressed and didn’t know how to deal.
As I began to understand that these behaviors were triggered by stress, not by my lack of worth, things began to shift. Miraculously, I began to see my daughter’s behaviors as stress responses and realized they had nothing to do with her worth. I was able to open to an unconditional love of all emotions and in doing so was able to release my guilt. This allowed me to show up for her in a loving way.
Grace entered our house and we both learned how to express our emotions without hurting ourselves or anyone else. I had to go first since she was learning from me. As I softened and realized when I was off it was just an indicator of my stress level, I was able to nurture and love myself instead of falling into a pit of guilt and shame.
We both still fall short of “perfection” but have learned how to return to love in an instant. What a gift.