*This is a guest post.
Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t find the emotional ‘room’ to comfort my two year old son Jack. I try, as we all do, to be the best parent I can be based on the principles of Attachment Parenting but sometimes I just can’t cope when I know Jack needs me but I can’t be there for him, psychologically. I can try and comfort him but he knows I’m not really ‘with him’ and that can make him even more distressed, which makes me more resentful about the tantrum he’s having! I feel like sometimes we feed off each other’s deeper negative vibe. Even if I’m smiling he knows I’m not happy, he just does! Little people are so attuned to our emotions as well.
It’s hard to be honest about this lack of connection I sometimes feel but I wanted to try and acknowledge it for Jack’s sake and I think really that is the thing that brings us both some relief. I have to accept that it’s part of our human condition to be an emotional wreck sometimes. Reading an article the other day, titled “What happens when we loose it” gave me the impetus I needed to do my homework on understanding this dynamic between me and my son and how to best deal with it. The article provides a good snapshot of what is happening mentally that is affecting the situation emotionally. Have a read yourself if you are interested .
Even just admitting these feelings to myself has actually been a huge help. I felt a huge sense of relief when I said to myself, ‘Jack is right, you aren’t coping with this situation’. It just got rid off my defensiveness, defused the emotions. Of course then I started to worry that there might be something seriously wrong with me!! Do other mothers cope this badly sometimes? So I talked to my friend Renee and was even more relieved to find that she knew exactly what I was talking about. We had a really good long talk about it all and we both felt such a burden lift. Talking it through connected us with each other at a deeper level, but the best thing was that we felt more connected as parents being able to voice our guilt and frustration. It is without a doubt the best thing I’ve done in a long time. I feel like I can be a better parent as a result of being more accepting of the human condition.
Renee and I resolved to get together at least once a month just to talk through our issues and share any tools we’ve found to help deal with them. This is such a productive result because it makes me actively seek out advice and support in the form of articles, counselling information and talking to other parents, something I really haven’t done very much before now.
I recently read Elaine Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Child (http://www.amazon.com/The-Highly-Sensitive-Child-Overwhelms/dp/0767908724/ref=as_li_wdgt_ex?&linkCode=wss&tag=attachmentpare020). All children without a doubt are sensitive and vulnerable in our often insensitive world and the recourses and understanding in Aron’s book were invaluable in communicating better with Jack and being able to soothe him more affectively.
Another great resource I discovered that deals directly with the human condition is a website I came across recently which addresses the ‘dark side’ of our human condition that is a result of a biological struggle between our instinctive brain and our intellect. The idea makes a lot of sense to me and helped take the weights off so to speak. It’s all about finding compassionate understanding for why we are the way we are, why we aren’t always ideally behaved. This information is a wonderful complement to the principles of Attached Parenting.
I still have bad days with Jack where we might as well be from different planets, we just don’t click, but my talks with Renee, along with my study means that I don’t get caught up in the negativity. So both Jack and I are able to move on more quickly and get back to our wonderful, loving, mother-son relationship and I cherish that with every bone in my body.