|Posted on 20 July, 2018 at 8:00|
Honestly, I’m not sure I remember what happened that led me to lose my temper with my three-year-old. I do remember however the anger and feeling of being disrespected coming over me and before I had time to calm down I slapped her. Her eyes whirled up with tears. This instantly sent me into a spiral of feeling guilt and shame. I put my hands to my face in disbelief thinking What am I doing?! Is this the kind of mother I’ve become? As I cleaned her up I began to sob murmouring “I’m so sorry!” between the sobs. The anguish of knowing that I just hurt my child simply for the need to maintain power was unbearable. I wish I could say this was the last of my regrets as a parent but sadly it wasn’t.
I think most people will agree that parenting is the one role in their lives they don’t want to failure at. I’ve personally made lots of mistakes in my role as a parent. Some mistakes where because I didn’t know any better at the time but most I have to take full responsibility for because I “should” have known better or taken more initiative to have created changes sooner. This immaturity did not only come at the cost of my daughter's confidence, but it cost me my emotional wellbeing and the natural bonding process and connection that should have taken place within the first 5 years of my daughter’s life. That’s a time I will now never get back.
I worry that as Women in society we take our right to have children very impulsively, without consideration for all lives that are involved in the decision. I see people choosing to have children selfishly to boost their self-esteem, satisfy their ego needs or update their status in society. People are having kids to help themselves feel good based on what "the child" can do for them or fulfil within them. People often seek acknowledgement, validation and significance through their children. They create a false attachment to the child based on their ideals. Then when the child doesn’t live up to the parent’s ideals, attachment turns into “conditional” love instead. Meaning the parent only feels happy with the child if that child lives up to the expectations of the parent.
Children come through us but they don’t belong to us. We are simply a channel by which they came through and they will eventually become a part of society, separate from us. When we realise that a child is an individual from us and we start to see them becoming an independent self-expressive person, as parents, we start to feel as though the child no longer needs us. We see this independance as an attempt of breaking the attachment or connection to us. This simply is not true. Children merely are trying to become a unique expression of themselves within society. They are merely an extension of us. We don't own them. Our job is to learn how to keep them safe, give them a good foundation at the same time as giving them enough freedom to be an individual. This is probably the biggest challenge we face within our parenting journey. Knowing how much to give and when to let go.
Originally I thought of calling my book “License to become a parent” as I’ve always felt that there should be a compulsory program that we take before having children. Maybe even making it necessary in high school. Then I opted for the title of “How do I know when I’m ready to have kids” because the purpose of this book is not to make people feel like they’ve lost their rights to have children, it’s simply to help people become ready and avoid all the mistakes i made as a parent. I’d like everyone to put thoughtfulness into the decision of bringing a child into this world.
In my book I encourage people towards self-growth and looking deeper into their expectations and ideals around parenting. The goal is to become a better prepared parent as well as look at some options on what to do when you are faced with unexpected parenting challenges. I hope my story brings you growth.