What is one of the many things you’ve learned about being a parent so far?
there are so many things i have learned that to pull one is a challenge…so maybe i’ll share what i most recently learned (yesterday!)
one tendency i see that i have is that of overcompensating a bit, ie wanting to make sure that i provide things for my son in a way that leads to a perfectionism that is debilitating.
i thought i had worked through a lot of my perfectionism in general, which i have.
and yet a whole new version of it has popped up around parenting.
the attachment model of parenting is the one that i value the most.
i have always been obsessed with the stages of development…
and have been a student of erik erikson, piaget, freud, as well as more modern versions of these stages, my favorite one being the distilled developmental chart in harville hendrix’s “keeping the love you find”
this propensity on my part to want to provide the ideal love/safety/protection/freedom/offering can sometimes get the best of me in one area: care for my own self.
i am learning that the combination of valuing the attachment model, and the stages of development themselves, as well as wanting to nurture my marriage, my career and vocation, my friendships (wow, the effect of becoming a parent on friendships has been marked), etc can result in there being little time for self care and my own spiritual practice.
so to answer your question,
now that i am 14 months in to this new identity of “mom”, i am seeing that while a shift in priorities was demanded of me (goodbye sleep, my old friend etc etc), and a whole new re-structuring of my life was par for this new identity’s course, i am seeing that my self-care has taken on a new imperative. ie: all things fall apart if i drop my own ball.
did i put my own self-care lower on the list of priorities for a while? of course i did, and to imply that self care can stay number one on the list in the first year of having a child is erroneous and misleading: there was no way i could keep up with my self-care regime and be the kind of attachment parent i wanted to be.
but as the months have now gone by, i can see there is a slow and growing opportunity to get back to some of my rituals of old:
meditation, exercise in nature, yoga, gatherings….solitude, writing….prayer…
that these have now become almost mandatory, rather than a mere indulgence.
that the recharging of my emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical batteries is the only way i can continue to be the mom and wife and artist that i want to be.
and that i can be gentle with myself for having put this self-care on hold for a while.
and that every new mom deserves a ton of slack and love around this adjustment to a whole new life with the new little bird.
so, yes, i’ve learned that self-care is huge. important. mandatory. and i’ve also learned that my having dropped that ball for a while is totally understandable and even expected post-birth. and that doing as well as i can, with parenting, wife-ing, service at large and self-caring is good enough.
thanks for your question.
big love xo