… but I’m turning into my own mother more often that I would have liked to.
That’s when I pressed STOP.
Before you read further, I’d recommend reading the earlier posts of this series. Please start here.
The past two months have been heavy on introspection. They’ve been painful because of hurtful revelations yet fruitful because I can sense I am heading towards a positive change. After realizing that the many pitfalls have been cause of my own fears and shortcomings, I decided to make mental notes of all the areas I needed to work on at war level and what could be pushed aside as rather less important.
The two areas that topped my list of issues requiring immediate action were:
- My emotions.
- My fears.
This understanding has changed the equation for me totally. This implies that all this while when I had (pretty conveniently) been passing a share of the blame of being stuck in a difficult situation with my child, on my child, I can no longer do so. I am solely responsible for the mess (for the lack of a better word) and also for pulling us out of it.
This realization was disturbing in the start but has been empowering lately. I am now free to plan, analyse, experiment, make changes in my behavior without making my daughter aware or more correctly, alarmed that we were in the middle of the ring of fire.
This new-found relief felt like a ton of weight lifted from my shoulders.
One night, I sat with a piece of paper and a pencil to jot down pointers of what I wished to do differently with my child:
- To have little or no arguments.
- To be more accommodating to her wishes.
- To smile and laugh more.
- To not be throwing tantrums (that applied to both of us).
- To gift her my undivided attention.
- To hug impromptu.
- To look forward to share how our day went without being asked to.
As I was reading the list, I realized that all of these weren’t something difficult to achieve if we set our hearts to it. But at that point I was also well-aware how these seemingly ordinary (and perhaps routine) aspects of a mother-child relationship were calling for a conscious effort on both our parts. And while we both longed for these, somehow we missed having them as a part of our daily life.
The extra effort was clearly draining us. It was hurting to see that a glass wall existed between us that shielded the warmth from reaching our hearts. We smiled but briefly because most of the time the bitter taste of our unpleasant arguments refused to leave us alone. I could see the hurt in my child’s eyes and she could feel my pain in my silent tears but we both felt powerless and helpless beyond words.
My initial reaction was to tick off items on this list on a daily basis till we adopted it like a habit. But life isn’t a program that we can run on a fixed schedule till it acquires an automatic status. After a few successful runs of rather peaceful days, I realized that I had to work on my insides, fix the two grey areas (my emotions and my fears) before I can see a positive change that has me acting naturally in an uninhibited way rather than a person who is stressed about performing like a happy parent.
The next task at hand was to seek guidance, educate myself, arm myself with enough information from the experiences of other parents and experts to help myself change in a positive way.
This has been the most tedious step thus far. I embarked on it around a month ago and I am still finding myself accommodating to the truck load of sane advises I have collected along the way. I nowhere close to being all sorted but I am positive that in this process I have successfully recognized my weak areas. I have a clear picture of all the whys that were triggering me to act the way I did (or perhaps still do). But this new-found awareness is liberating. The sense of being in charge, the joy of having found a diagnosis to my ailment is a huge relief.
I can sense peace dawn in my soul with slow acceptance of my shortcomings, however the mammoth task of learning to deal with my big emotions effectively is still ahead of me. I am confident that I want to make this experiment on my own-self work so badly, that I am not going to leave any stone upturned.
When the end result is a happy, peaceful, respectful relationship with my child, I am confident that I am up for any amount of adapting and remodeling that is needed to make it happen.
And yes, I can’t help but be amazed by the fact that no-matter how many times I promised myself to not be a parent like my mother is, I can’t help but act just like her with my child on many occasions.
to be continued…
The song on my mind: Katra Katra Milti Hai ~ Ijaazat