I will never forget a conversation I had with an old friend who happened to have kids a decade before me. As I was mentioning the roller-coaster ride of emotions I was having about my child growing up and asserting her independence, this Mom of a teenage daughter told me, “Girl, my daughter has broken my heart a thousand times.”
This comment recently came to mind when I started thinking more about who my ten year old daughter is and what I want her to be. I know some mothers of girls have that dream of their daughter being just like them, aka a “mini-me”. A child that thinks like you, dreams like you, goes with your flow for the most part. Reality check! It’s not happening– nor should it ever be. I have never aspired to have a “mini-me”, but it sure sounds like a fantastic idea as the heated household debates begin to increase.
I know that this mini-me facade is not a wise direction to go. My beloved grandmother tried that with my mother and it seriously backfired. As soon as my mother got out of the house and experienced life on her own terms, rebellion became her middle name. I’m trying not to go down that path….but it’s hard! I started asking myself, “Is this a gender thing? Would I feel the same way if I had a son?”
As my precious strong-willed child grows up, I get resistance more often than not and indifference to some things I love and enjoy. “Let’s play this music…no I like this. Want to do this? No, I rather do that”. Little things like “let’s try this hairstyle today…no I want this…whatever!” I have to dig deep into my awareness of acceptance and trying to relinquish some control…..which is mandatory for all of us to practice. Stand firm on the important stuff and just let the little things go. Kids are so happy when we do!
How is everything I do all of sudden corny? I think I’m a super cool Mom…and so do her friends! Am I delusional? I remember, when I had a toddler, I was warned by a friend who by all accounts, would be considered a very cool Dad. He stated a fact that has stayed with me. “As our kids age, we are going to be considered completely uncool.” How is this possible as we chill in his fabulous East Village apartment listening to cutting-edge music surrounded by friends doing very interesting things in their lives? Isn’t this how every generation of parents feels? My grandparents didn’t want my mother listening to The Beatles. Some of the today’s pop stars I could do without. This is the cycle of life. Acceptance is the only way.
When I really think about it, I’m sure I broke my mother’s heart a thousand times too, yet we remain very close. Is this heartbreak something we should just accept as a part of life? I think so. I have found that self-acceptance is vital for us Beyond Moms to keep our sanity and perspective. Loving ourselves, no matter what, and accepting our flaws, while striving for continued personal growth is the only way to go.
The more my daughter grows and comes into her own, it’s evident each one of us are individual souls that come down to this earth with our own lives to live. Just because we gave birth doesn’t mean everything we as parents do or don’t do, determines who our children are. This fact was piercingly evident when I took my daughter to my spiritual advisor for a masterful hand-analysis and astrology session. I know it sounds strange, but it was pretty amazing and it gave her some radical insights on how to help herself navigate life. I felt so relieved to see first hand that my daughter’s personality, ways of being and future really are not dependent on me and my craziness. Her essence of being is in the stars and has little to do with me. (I guess you have to buy into all this etherial stuff to believe this, and I do.)
Motherhood is filled with such beauty and joy, yet such challenges. Yes, we as parents and our decision-making skills are the basis of raising a human being…but we are not everything. Some things are just meant to be and we have no way of controlling it. This renewed sense of awareness was welcomed and started me on the path to releasing unnecessary concerns.
Our first step is to celebrate how amazing our kids are. I’ve always felt that my child is my most valuable teacher. We, as their parents, should stay mindful of our own preconceived notions and release what doesn’t serve us. When frustration comes up and you may just lose it or you start those annoying, obsessive thoughts. One effective exercise I can offer when times get tough is what I call STOP, DROP & BREATHE.
STOP, DROP & BREATHE. 3 Easy Mindful Actions to Strengthen Our Awareness:
STOP and notice what is going on with you. Take this pause to regroup, look at your thoughts clearly for a moment. Get real and don’t sugar coat your emotions. Acknowledge them.
DROP the thought. Just let it go. Releasing, no matter how difficult, feels so good.
BREATHE…focus on your breath and just breathe the thought out. Just a few deep breaths can really help rejuvenate and redirect what is going on. The calming effect will take shape.
Beyond Moms are exceptional women and mamas, doing our very best to raise well-adjusted, joyful, kind, intelligent and compassionate leaders of tomorrow. Overall wellness with daily self-care rituals, such as meditation, journaling, exercise or plain ol’ doing nothing, is also vital for us Beyond Moms to be our best. Acceptance of our authentic selves and our children is everything.
By Hope McGrath
Transformational Coach + Fashion Consultant
Hope McGrath is offering Beyond Mom’s a complimentary coaching consultation, her 60-minute Spark Session. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to book your Spark Session today.