I spent much of the time after giving birth to my daughter with an imagined Perfect Mother in my head. I wanted to be like her - I thought one day I would become her. And I felt intensely inferior to other mothers I met because I was always on the lookout, thinking others were either doing things much better or finding things much easier than I was.
And because of this search-comparison spotlight, I kind of did a swing between Trying to Be a Perfect Mother and, on the other end of that spectrum, Feeling Like I Was Failing My Daughter Miserably.
Not fun or recommended. But I know I'm not alone with this so I want to write about it.
Here is the conclusion I have come to after many years of reflecting about this:
1. Our children do not sign up for a perfect life with perfect parents. They sign up for learning and growth and evolution, just like we do when we arrive. And when we focus on achieving perfection - on giving them an ideal experience of life - we don't grow because we get stuck giving ourselves a hard time. And what we need to do is grow. That is what our children really want from us.
2. Our children choose us. And they choose to come along because there is a match between where they are in their evolution and where we are in ours.
3. The commitment that comes with becoming a parent means that we cannot run away from the growth and expansion that is required for the planned evolution to take place. Which feels uncomfortable but pushes us to become more and more aligned with our soul.
4. If we share honestly with other parents, we can nip the Perfect Parent thing in the bud pretty quickly. But in those early days with young children, it's hard to find the time or the confidence or the energy to do this, so I am giving you a shortcut right here. There are no perfect parents and you are doing the very best you can with the resources you have right now. (And that imaginary family that sits around with their child eating every type of vegetable may exist but they will most likely have challenges in other areas.)
5. 'Conscious' parents are the ones who give ourselves the hardest time. This is a big trap for us - wanting to give our children the ideal upbringing. It's amazing that the swing has happened from the 'shove them out the door and tell them to be good and stop crying' method my parents grew up with but we have swung a bit too far in the other direction - overthinking, overanalysing and giving ourselves too hard a time.
6. When we learn to trust our children - and their path and their own innate wisdom - we come to realise that our children are whole, expanded souls, just like we are. Developmentally we are at different stages but, on the soul level, we are partners - and we have all chosen to be together for our learning.
7. When we take the focus off our children and back onto ourselves, we can make real shifts. The current trend in parenting books and advice (Super Nanny I'm talking about you) is to put all the focus on our children's behaviour, to worry about them when things are 'wrong' and to think we need to correct them and mould them and control them. The way I see it, we need to work on our own inner healing, our own soul alignment, our own self-kindness, self-love. The rest irons itself out because our children have agreed to come along partly to push us towards seeing ourselves the way our angels see us - innocent, whole and doing our very best. In my experience, when we take steps in this direction, our children become calmer and more content.
8. We are never, ever alone. This is a big one - and I often go back and tell myself this because the old parts of me are still struggling with this one after many lonely hours. We have a spiritual support team and also, if we haven't found our soul friends yet, they are just waiting - and probably feeling lonely too. And we will eventually find them. Everything is waiting for you and it will all click into place.
9. We need to ask for more help as parents. We need to be brave, put our hands up and say when we are struggling. We need to make time for ourselves - for soul conversation, for therapy, for healing our own childhoods, because this is what comes up for us to look at when we have our children. You can be trotting along quite nicely, feeling quite enlightened and then - bam - children. Childhood issues, how our parents saw us, all right there, unconscious, no filters. Not easy. But we can get help and support. And it's more than OK to ask for it.
10. We are ALL deeply, fiercely loved. And as we deeply, fiercely love our children to the best of our ability, we need to connect to the Source of Love and see ourselves as we need to be seen so that we can all feel renewed. And when we align with this Force of Love, we can go to bed at night and forgive ourselves for shouting, for not being the parent we know we can be. We can go easy on ourselves and we can start all over the next day and ask for help if we get really stuck. Our angels see us in truth and they are just waiting to be invited in to help us out in big and small ways. Even finding parking spaces.
A long one, I know. And this is the shortest I could get it ! These things require deep, long, humorous, tearful, beautiful, sad, restoring soulful conversations. But this is a start. Take this as an invitation to find someone to talk to about this. Maybe even in the comments below. Be brave. Say where you are with this. There is so much support. You are not alone.
Oh and if anyone wants to take part in a real-life conversation about this, I am feeling very on-purpose and excited to be able to offer this Saturday 28th June in West London as a day of restoration and filling up for parents. I am going to share as much as I can of what I have learnt about our relationship with ourselves and with Love and my amazing friend Kyle Gray (who actually sees and hears our angels and just completely backs up all my instincts about how loved we are) is joining us for meditations and prayers and filling up and humour and how to really see ourselves and our children.
Details and booking here: https://www.smore.com/sd1ab-parenting-with-the-angels