Embarking on a Self-Discovery Journey: Navigating Parenthood and Personal Growth
I wanted to share a bit about my journey through self-therapy as a stay-at-home mom. It’s been quite the ride, filled with ups and downs, as I’ve been tackling my triggers and working on my emotional regulation. It’s a hard path to take as I try to go through with this emotional baggage, basically on my own as talk therapy doesn’t financially work out for me.
As I’ve ventured down this road of self-discovery, I stumbled upon some great parenting podcasts. These podcasts cover a wide range of topics, but what really caught my attention was their exploration of the frustrations and triggers that arise when raising kids. It’s been such a relief to hear other parents sharing similar feelings. But, I’ll admit, putting all the helpful advice into action and taming those intense trigger reactions is easier said than done. My go-to strategies? Mindful meditation, journaling, and a hefty dose of self-help books.
So far I have gone through three self-help books and I feel like with each one, I’m making progress in understanding and handling my triggers. But, let’s be honest, setbacks are part of the journey. That inability to recover or keep myself level-headed during a triggering event is what causes me to think maybe there’s something wrong with me.
We all have these moments.
I’ve been working through my hard moments with my friends. A lot of them can relate to how I’m feeling and the situations that I go through. Throughout my life, I struggled with outwardly expressing my feelings or emotions with others because I tried not to put a burden on others — but I’m always there for my friends. I’m actively trying to break free from that old habit and try to put myself first.
Journaling has been helping me get my thoughts out but I feel much better having the opportunity to talk with some friends and just get that validation that there isn’t anything wrong with me. Every parent goes through their own challenges when working on themselves to be a better model for their children. Sometimes, seeking professional help is necessary, and other times, we can tackle things on our own.
I applaud those parents who seem to have it all together when it comes to emotional roller coasters and challenging moments with their kids. I’ll admit, I wish I could be that kind of parent for my child. Funny enough — some of my friends feel like I do have it all together. Which means when I feel like I’m failing, I feel like I’m also letting them down.
At this rate, I’d say as I’m actively working on myself that I’m about 75% there. I’ve noticed my reactions have become less explosive, even though I still have those occasional mini blow-ups.
Facts to make me (and you) feel better:
- When stress hits, our natural instinct is self-preservation. If that means we feel like we are being attacked (cue tantrum from toddler) we will naturally want to either be running/walking away or “attack” by yelling back. It’s all part of the fight-or-flight response. But recognizing this lets us use self-regulation techniques to help both us and our child find balance.
- “A dysregulated child will dysregulate an adult.” I love this statement because that is a FACT. Co-regulation means that our bodies work together to regulate. So if one is in a state of dysregulation, you bet the other will be as well. The key takeaway is how we react to dysregulation and how we can bring ourselves and our child back to a more regulated state.
- Our brains can change! We’re not stuck this way for the rest of our lives. By changing our way of thinking, doing some breathing exercises, or mindful meditation we can drastically change the chemical and physical makeup of our brain. Studies have shown that meditation helps rewire your brain and helps strengthen the prefrontal cortex (our thoughts and emotions regulator).
- You know the saying, “Practice makes perfect”? Well, in this case, practice makes progress. Setting aside even just a minute each day for deep breathing or mindfulness can make a world of difference in our ability to manage our emotions.
- You are a doing the best you can. If you have been putting in the work, reading the books, doing the mediations and still feel like you are struggling (like me) just know: You are doing your best. We are actively trying to change our brains from the natural instincts we carry. It will take a long time. My mantra during my mini-meditation sessions is “I’m doing my best. I’m a good person. My child is doing their best. They’re a good person.”
- Repair. Repair. Repair. Without a doubt, repairing is the best thing you can do with your relationship with your child (and adults!). Telling them that it’s okay to have big feelings, that the way you reacted was not okay, and ask for forgiveness — even if they don’t understand what that means. You might be surprised, soon your child will come to you and say they’re sorry for yelling.
Going through the emotional work and therapy on your own can be challenging. But you don’t really have to do it alone. Finding a good support system that you can talk to without judgement or maybe having an accountability partner might help you light a fire under you to keep doing the emotional work.
If anything, keep coming back to read more of my articles as I continue my self-therapy journey.
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