You can never truly know life as a parent until you become one. You can imagine it, dream about it, plan for it, but until it happens to you, you have no idea what kind of parent and person you will become.
Whatever the type of family situation in which you live (single mother, working mother, blended family, attachment parenting, suffered a miscarriage), being a parent means experiencing every human emotion possible. It means loving until your heart bursts. It means feeling the depths of pain beyond anything you’ve ever known. And it means everything in between.
According to evolutionary theory, human beings are motivated not only to procreate, but to “parent” as well. Individuals are compelled to “succeed” as parents in order for their own unique, genetic characteristics to carry on, which basically means that we are motivated to raise children due to a strong self-interest. Parenting offers us endless opportunities for rich life experiences. Becoming a parent means gaining access to a “larger picture” of life. Our children offer us new skills, an enhanced sense of self, unconditional love, and even a taste of immortality. It makes sense that we would be programmed to seek this for our own growth and self-seeking needs.
However, being a parent can feel anything but selfish. In fact, there are times where you may feel as though you have sacrificed so much for your children that you have lost your own sense of self. You may feel that you live for your children, and the line of where you end and they begin becomes more and more vague. It is important that we learn how to develop healthy attachments with our children. A good way to do that is by holding on to our own truth and identity, separate from our offspring.
A human infant wouldn’t last very long without a parent. Thankfully, we have evolved powerful emotional responses that prompt us to take care of our children. However, these emotional responses can leave us feeling very vulnerable, particularly to the ups and downs of our children.
Because parents are usually the most consistent and nurturing people in the lives of their children, it is important for the children to be provided with knowledge, skills, and support. Parenting is immensely time consuming and takes more effort than we are sometimes able to give. Parents must meet their own emotional and physical needs if they are to respond productively to their children.
Are you having difficulty finding which parenting style works best for you? Are there so many demands on you that you have lost the feeling of joy with your children? Have you merged your family with your partner’s and are finding it difficult to relate to your stepchildren? Have you recently suffered a miscarriage and find yourself experiencing tremendous grief? Are you parenting alone and feel as though you are barely coping? Are you spending the majority of your time working and feeling sadness and guilt for not spending more time with your children? If so, welcome to parenting. These are some of the most common situations mothers encounter. The good news is that there is a way to overcome the challenges of these issues.
I can help you sort through the many emotions that stem from the great honor and responsibility of motherhood. I can help you discover a tone of parenting that best suits you and your child. I can help you find acceptance for your reality and confidence in your future. And I can help you rediscover parts of yourself that will allow you to embrace all aspects of your parental journey. Contact me today to schedule an appointment in my Longmont or Boulder, CO office.