It’s no secret that I work as a parent coach/consultant. I love connecting with parents who are just as much in the trenches as I am and helping them to find new techniques, refine their language, adjust their strategies, and experience the sweet success that comes from getting it right. It’s easy for me to find opportunities for change when I visit with parents on the phone or when I am welcomed into their homes. I see what they can’t see, what they are too tired to see, what they are too “in it” to see. I can bring clarity to a situation that feels hopeless and exhausting, and usually we can turn things around.
So what do you do when it’s your own children? When you the consultant, the coach, are too “in it” to see otherwise. I’ve had many moments like this as a new mom of 3 children. I can get so swept up in surviving that I lose my focus, my compass, and my clarity. During one of J’s visits to the pediatrician, I asked her a question about 4 year old M. “Well if anyone knows how to deal with that it’s YOU!” she proclaimed. (Gulp). That’s a lot of pressure for a mama who is already really good at laying that on. So, I dug in on the issue, called upon my village, and made progress. How many times did I question myself though: “Is this the right thing to do?” “Am I responding appropriately?” Do we need to do more of this and less of that?” The inner dialogue was constant. The “mom loop” is always running.
There have also been lighthearted moments of uncertainty. Several weeks ago, I was putting W down for a nap. He picked his head up, looked at me, and said (and I quote):
“Can you say dammit?”
“Excuse me?” I responded.
“Like this: DAAAAAAMMMIIIITTTT!” He proceeded to yell.
I. Was. Horrified. What in the world? My sweet, precious, angel of a boy almost knocked me over with this. By the grace of God, I had the composure not to respond and instead very calmly told him to turn over and go to sleep. Had I reacted in any way, shape or form, we would still be dealing with that word. During J’s next pediatrician appointment, I shared the story with her and asked her to please not refer any more clients to me. Who wants to work with a parent coach whose child is throwing down cuss words? I”m kidding. Sort of. I would like to add as a disclaimer that we have no idea where he got that from. My husband and I don’t use that word. Shoot, we barely can talk to each other these days. The origin of that word is a mystery to this day, dammit!
It’s humbling to question myself and to not always have the answer. It’s also an added element of pressure, because my job is to help people find the answers. Self-doubt is especially frustrating for me given what I do for others. However, I’ve learned that it’s okay. It’s okay to love so much that you just don’t know what the next step will be. It’s okay to be so invested that it means you get off track a little bit. It’s okay that you are searching for answers so desperately that you can’t see what is right in front of you. Know why? Because it means you are being a good mother. Being a good mother doesn’t mean you always have the answers and that you always know what to do, but it does mean loving your children enough to try. We all do that, and we do it well.
Find the joy~