After the family day long weekend do you need a break from family?! LOL!
I’ve wanted to run away, or at least hide, on many occasions over the past 20 years! Wanting a break is totally normal & actually healthy!
As much as we are aware that we need some space as adults, it’s easy to feel threatened when our kids pull away from us, wanting to be by themselves, or not sharing what they once did with us. This is not personal, it is a necessary developmental dance.
Contrary to popular belief, we do not need to be with our kids all the time to have a “close” relationship with them. There is an illusion that our kids are somehow “safe” when we know where they are & what they’re doing at all time, but kids, like us, need to have some things that are just for them. They need time to process things or sometimes just want their own space, which makes us nervous & can cause many moms a lot of anxiety!
Worry not my friends! It is essential that every human being experiences both attachment & autonomy, closeness & separation, for healthy brain development, self-regulation & resilience as we grow into functioning adults.
We know that a child needs to be attached to a loving caregiver to feel safe & survive in the world, but for some reason autonomy is not as easy for us to willingly offer our kids.
Being “connected" to our children through technology, is no replacement for the feeling of authentic connection. Authenticity doesn’t come from knowing their whereabouts, monitoring their conversations, online behaviour or imposing curfews.
This form of “connection" can feel intrusive, overbearing, anxiety producing, & can make a child outright angry! It doesn’t allow anyone to feel trusted or capable, imagine if your spouse tried these tactics on you?! … And I won’t buy the “But I’m an adult” argument.
As well-intended as we may be, we are robbing our kids of the good feelings that come from proving they are capable, trustworthy, competent & self confident.
Feeling connected comes from being attuned. Attunement is a skill that we can develop over time. The majority of it is nonverbal. It consists of meeting a child’s physical & emotional needs, of course, but mostly it is a feeling, it’s body language & the conveyance that “I see who you really are”.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this kind of attunement in your life, so it won’t be a surprise to learn that our children FEEL connection, they don’t actually need to BE connected physically to us.
It is said that “Parents give their kids two things; one is roots, the other is wings.” Being attuned is the roots & autonomy is their wings.
As hard as it can be on moms, to not feel needed, it is essential for our child’s development. Wen to be close & when to separate is a dance that we must learn & it us who needs to move to the rhythm of our child’s emotions.
So, how do we help our children become more autonomous, while being an attuned Mom?
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching
Let’s just admit to each other here, most of us, at some point in our life, swore up & down we would NEVER be our mother?
I was going to do everything differently, … perfectly, unlike her. Sound familiar?
Who now catches themselves often resembling that same mother you were never going to be?
“Mommy issues" are often a huge barrier between mothers & daughters, but when daughters become mothers ourselves it’s important that we have a deeper understanding of our own mother, in order to have some insight into how we mother our children.
Our perception of what a “mother” is supposed to look like can cause us to judge each other. This judgement can put a wedge between us or find us having feelings of guilt or shame for our behaviour in the past, when we recognize how hard it is to be a mom.
There is an emotional umbilical cord between a mother & child that never severs. A mother is a child’s compass, at any age, & when we have unresolved emotional business with our moms we will suffer & unwittingly transfer those issues onto our children, if we haven’t made peace with her.
Rarely do any of us get the mother we wanted, we got the mother we needed & we must honour that woman inside of us. Making peace with our mom is an integral part of becoming the mother we always wanted to be.
It is very difficult to fully love & accept ourself if we hold any resentment toward our own mom because she is a part of us, so that sword we point will ultimately come right back at us.
Some mother daughter relationships have had experiences that are incredibly difficult to reckon with, but we must be able to release our mom from the expectation of what we wanted her to be & accept her for what she was, in order to be able to love to our fullest.
“Releasing our Mother is not about forgiving her, it is about understanding her.”
It’s about seeing her as a human being, not as a mother, or any other title or label we have placed on her. She is a woman, trying to do her best, fallible, imperfect, with needs, just like you, as hard as that may be to believe!
We tend to put moms on a pedestal & believe they are supposed to be a model of perfection, as loving as Mother Theresa, or a superhero in some way. We must be able to see ourselves in every other woman but especially in our own mom.
It’s difficult to investigate & understand our mother's pain, her desire to love us, the only way she knew how, & get to know her as a person in her own right, but in doing so it makes it easier to release her from the expectation that she “should” have been any different than the way she was & it free’s us to become the mother we always thought we would be.
When we’re able to see ourself in another, it becomes harder to judge "them" for things that we too are “guilty”, or at least capable, of. Only then will it be possible to show compassion & empathy, & when we are able to show that to another, we will transform every relationship in our life.
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching