“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
Parenting is hard. (Nearly as hard as I have found it to write today's blog!) There’s no two ways about it. Magical, full of love, miraculous, yes, all that too. But it is also very, very hard. And often, the little things we do and string together throughout the day go completely unseen. But we wake up the next morning and we do the same things, all over again. We give and we give and we weave an impossibly complex tapestry of love and laundry and food and medicine and nappies and hats and gloves and socks together over the years.
And our children just adore us, whatever we do. They are always there to forgive us, to move on, to love us.
But what do we do to ourselves? We are skilled, kind, generous tapestry weavers. And what do we do? We give ourselves a hard time. Parents of teenagers start to look at parenting blogs and read books and think ‘God, I did it all wrong’ and we look at other mums in the playground and think ‘Wow, they have it all together and I’m in a foul mood and cannot bear to make another dinner when we get home’. We spend a whole day caring for our children and our home, or working hard in the office and rushing home for bath time and we think ‘I can’t believe I lost my patience when she spilt her drink all over my jeans.’ We say ‘I can’t believe I arrived late to collect my child from nursery. I am a terrible mother.’ We focus on what we think we did wrong and we give ourselves a hard time about it.
And on top of this, there is a new movement of parenting courses, skills and advice available to us that is overwhelming and sets an impossibly high bar – especially for the perfectionist, conscious mothers (ahem, not me of course!). And the advice varies so much that there will always be someone who thinks you are doing it wrong! So this is what I want to offer in today’s blog: permission to practice the following:
Self-forgiveness and self-kindness – all the time – or as often as possible!
Because being gentle with ourselves in this way doesn’t mean we sideline our values and do what we like and forgive ourselves at the end of the day. It means it becomes easier to be who we want to be, to be a loving presence for others and make true, loving decisions because we come from a place of love, innocence and non-judgment. And when we reach this place in ourselves, we know the answers, we know how to respond to our children and we can help others do the same.
Self-forgiveness as I see it is not an ‘act’ as such (although it does take a commitment and we need to create time and space to develop the ability to do it). It is more a state that we ‘tune into’ – much like a radio station. And the place we tune into is Rumi’s field: the place that exists beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing.
Be kind to yourself and visit the field as often as possible.
Love Hollie x