Having children, parenting, the whole family equation, was not something I had given a lot of thought to, so when we had our daughter it was very much foreign ground for me. I felt I was either flying blind or treading water, learning as I went along. I soon learned that nothing I read, watched or googled could support me as much as allowing myself to stop and feel what was needed in each moment.
Although being a new mum, stopping was not something that happened often. Life was busy, fitting in being a mum, working, looking after the household and of course taking care of myself. It was often the taking care of myself part that kept creeping up on me: I felt it was really important not to lose myself in being a mother, that I still mattered and was worth taking time for. It seemed to be a trap that I could so easily fall into if I allowed myself, putting everyone else first, leaving what little time that was left for myself to get dressed, shower or eat.
I very quickly realised setting a routine and rhythm for myself supported everyone and everything. That without it my life felt like one big blur, and that there was never enough time to get everything done.
So I kept it simple, picking a time to shower that allowed me the space to do so without rushing, whether that be with my daughter napping, playing quietly after a feed, or even set up on the bathroom floor watching me. It was amazing how much time there actually was if I stopped to feel what was needed, and included myself in the equation.
I learned to become more aware of the quality I was doing things in, not rushing, avoiding the overwhelm and exhaustion, and to observe: was I with myself in that moment as I was doing something or was I already living one step ahead of myself and had already moved onto the next… my mind always thinking, “What’s next?”
By bringing more focus to how I was, and how I was whilst doing things, I was able to see just how much my choices and the way I moved and lived affected our daughter. An “A-HA” moment you could say – that how I was with me impacted on everyone, and everything.
I saw that If I chose to take responsibility for how I moved and the way I did things, then I had the choice to create a day that flowed or not. I allowed myself the space to not always get it right, to be open to and aware of my quality, and if I was present or distracted: was I simply ticking the boxes, or was I feeling what was needed in each moment and moving from that space?
Parenting for me fast became about the quality I lived, how I was with myself, the level of love and care I had towards my body, the routines and rhythms I put in place to support me, and my openness and willingness to be responsible and build consistency with both myself and others.
Our daughter could feel the steadiness that was being lived, and the love and appreciation I was developing for myself supported her to feel held and truly loved. I took the time to stop and feel how I allowed myself the space to eat a meal, to choose clothes and shoes that supported me, and truly accepting and loving myself for the woman I am. Without needing anything from her, my daughter was left to be herself, not having to fulfil any of my expectations, ideals or images I may have had of how I needed her to be for me.
We can so easily get lost in what parenting ‘should’ look like, how our children should be, but we often avoid stopping to feel where we are at, how we are and the quality of ourselves in what we are doing.
We would be wise to remember that children are constantly watching, observing and feeling, even if we think they aren’t, and that no matter how young they may be, they are constantly feeling everything all the time. It is here where our responsibility as a parent begins: it begins with ourselves and self-care, and from this we create our own road map in how to truly parent and support our children.
We are the role models for our future generation, even if we are not parents. If we are not gentle, loving and accepting of ourselves, if we do not allow ourselves to feel how the choices we make impact on our body and everything around us, if we do not live without conditions, ideals, beliefs and images of how we should or our life should be, then how can our children or any child grow up and live who they truly are?
We will not always get it right, and we do not have to – we are human and make mistakes. Taking responsibility for the way we live and the quality in which we are with ourselves is the beginning.
By Nicole Serafin, 45, Woman, Self-employed Salon owner, wife and mother, Tintenbar, NSW
From reactions and tensions, to harmony within the family
We are all role models
What is a Relationship with Myself?
This is a great road map for everyone to be responsible and loving with ourselves, and I loved the reminder about our impact on all those around us, we are always role modelling to others – including other adults.
‘We are the role models for our future generation, even if we are not parents. If we are not gentle, loving and accepting of ourselves, if we do not allow ourselves to feel how the choices we make impact on our body and everything around us, if we do not live without conditions, ideals, beliefs and images of how we should or our life should be, then how can our children or any child grow up and live who they truly are?’
I realised I feel this responsibility deeply and agree we are the role models for everyone. That what we say, do and behave affects everyone whether we want to be aware of this or not.
For example how I am with myself affects how everyone else is with themselves this is a massive interconnected science that we are not taught. And could it be that is why the world is in such disarray because no one is taking responsibility for the way they behave?
Our non-imposing quality along with the Loving boundaries we openly Live is and share with each other open our children and everyone else to a deeper way of Living the Truth of our Essences, Inner-most-heart / Soul.
“We are the role models for our future generation, even if we are not parents” It is how we live and care for ourselves that all children are aware of and know what feels true and what does not.
When we feel complete and appreciate what we are doing and have done life delivers a deeper purpose and we are not caught up in the time restraints as you have shared Nicole.
Learning to Truly parent ourselves, so we do not impose on anyone else is our first port of call, as you have shared Nicole. And with our Loving reflection we do not have the need to do anything as others feel where our words are coming from.
If the world used a true parenting model there would be no war, very little mental illness, and far far better relationships around.
The current model we have does not work and has never worked
“We can so easily get lost in what parenting ‘should’ look like, how our children should be, but we often avoid stopping to feel where we are at, how we are and the quality of ourselves in what we are doing.” we can get lost in so many things whether it is work, relationships when we don’t stop we can continue on a harmful momentum.
It is important to know and remember this fact, ‘We would be wise to remember that children are constantly watching, observing and feeling, even if we think they aren’t, and that no matter how young they may be, they are constantly feeling everything all the time.’
In choosing to be responsive to what is needed without pictures of how parenting should be children are free to be themselves rather than feeling an obligation (and often resentment) to fulfil a pre-ordained role. A gift to all as the ripple effect of this way of parenting reflects deep levels of self care and love for everyone.
Society parents the wrong way round. We place our children and their needs before our own which is what I did in the early years of their lives and then wonder why we are left so exhausted or we go to work and feel so guilty for doing so that we shower them with money thinking that is the answer but really trying to cover up how we are feeling. Learning to address what supports me in the moment no doubt is supporting me and my family. Building the love I have for myself means I do not need anything from them to make me feel better and they and others can sense this, a very beautiful way to master with no perfection, to raise a family and be with others.
I love what you share in this comment Caroline, very beautiful, and so true.
Thank you Nicole, this is very wise.