I’ve always been very hard on myself. I like to do everything right and I hate to fail. Yet as a parent, I feel like I’m failing a lot. I know I shouldn’t expect to be validated by my own kids, but I take it to heart when they tell me how mean I am or how they’re never going to talk to me again. Some people would say that just proves that I’m doing something right; that our kids aren’t supposed to like us. But, it’s hard to be constantly criticized. They don’t have to like what I do, but I don’t understand why that means they can’t like me. I know many people will respond that they’re just kids; that they’re unable to make sense of their feelings. But, I think this is one of the hardest things for me about being a parent – it’s hard to truly understand that kids aren’t capable of rational thinking.
We talked about this with BCLC therapist RB, and she reminded me that I need to take care of, and respect myself in order to be able to take care of, and respect my kids. This also came up as a result of our (J and me) approach to BCLC. We both like the theory and really want to put it into practice. However, this is turning out to be much easier for J than it is for me. And, when I see J being more succesful, I start to criticize myself again – after all, I’m the mom, I’m supposed to be nurturing and understanding, right? Yet, I’m also stubborn and I don’t change my ways easily.
What makes the changes bearable though, is that J and I are very good about supporting each other. It’s something that we talked about before we had children. We swore that we’d never get into a parenting style that allowed one parent to seem weaker or more indulgent. That we would both follow the same set of rules and never speak poorly of the other. And, thankfully, J is very patient with my shortcomings. He never gets frustrated with my quirks.
As sort of a BCLC update, I’ll just repeat what J told RB (since he’s having more success anyway). For him, the kids seem to be responding well, and he’s a lot less stressed. I hope I’ll get there soon!