Are you scared you aren’t all your kids need you to be? Holding it all together can be tough and we model how to deal with struggles, especially when the struggles aren’t ours, they are theirs.
When life gets all too hard, how do you deal? What strategies do you use to keep things together? Or don’t you keep it together? How strong are your resilience skills? Do you have things that you do for yourself each day, week, month to fill your own cup?
Recently my girls each had struggles they were dealing with. As a parent, my job was to hold space for each of them, contain the worries and let them know I was here and that “this too shall pass”.
Watching our children dealing with their pain and knowing we can’t fix it for them can leave us feeling useless and dis-empowered. Our strongest instinct is to take the pain away to do everything in our power so they no longer hurt because when they hurt, we hurt. The downside of running in and fixing everything is that we remove any opportunity for them to fix things themselves and to grow their own resiliency muscles. Life is not always smooth sailing, so learning how to handle yourself when things get tough is a very important skill.
Our job, rather than rescuing, is to remain calm, consistent and steady, this way we demonstrate how to make decisions in crisis rather than mad panic and jump irrationally. We can demonstrate keeping our emotions even, that is not to say we don’t feel, but we manage our behaviour through the feeling.
I had family and friends checking in on me to see how I as travelling, aware that I had a lot on my plate. I was able to tell them I was ok, genuinely ok, I had everything that I know I need to keep myself centred in place. For each of us that will look a little different and it’s important to know what it is for you that are your core self-care routines. Often when things get too much, we let go of the things that we need the most in favour of what we think we need. It is taking control of what we can, whilst things around us remain out of control.
This week for example I have felt quite flat, Monday and Tuesday I was up early, exercising, meditating, working my fundamentals and my days were long, but I was able to be present and achieve what I needed to achieve. Wednesday and Thursday, I favoured sleep over my morning routine because I thought I needed it more and I felt sluggish and flat on both of those days.
The early mornings and exercise might have seemed like they were the energy drainers, but in fact, they were the energy givers.
My children watch how I handle myself during the hard times and whilst they may not copy me, as is their choice, they see that when times are tough, it is more important to take care of yourself than ever. I don’t always get it right, but reflecting around the times when I haven’t and being able to talk about that is also important. Your children don’t need perfection from you, they need self- awareness, love and compassion and that starts from how you treat yourself.
As a parent it is so important to find ways to fill your own cup, how do you fill yours?