I was interviewed to talk about self care and how it relates to parenting. I see a lot of parents, myself included who consistently put everything and everyone else before taking care of themselves. I have learned through my own trials that this doesn't really work out the best for me or those I love and care about.
In this interview we touched on what is self care. It isn't just that you eat right, get exercise and occasionally take some me time, although those things are part of self care. There is also the self care we do when we stop judging ourselves. Do you know of any higher form of abuse than Self-Judgment?
I want to share with you how my judgments affected my parenting. I wanted so much to be the perfect parent and to do right by my kids.
While my first son came unexpectedly and also resulted in a short-lived marriage to his father, my second son, Ben, was my planned baby as was my second marriage. This time I would get it right, I wouldn't fail my family.
Little did I know that I was setting myself up for a the biggest upset of all. In order to live a perfect life, one must continually judge oneself and one's choices. And in planning on having everything be perfect, one must judge others who inevitably will rock the perfectionism boat. That would be everyone else in the family. I ended up projecting onto my "perfect" son that he needed to be perfect. My spouse at the time, never felt he was perfect because he could never measure up and that left me being the "perfect" one, which I knew deep down that wasn't true and yet I needed to pretend that I was. Not my brightest moment.
The world of perfectionism is a fantasy world and one where no one wins. And in my life, the one who would teach me all of this was my son. In his strive to be perfect, he found he couldn't and that led him to be depressed and being ultra hard on himself. So much so that he ended up taking his life at the age of 19. That turned my world upside down and it took me years to see how my desire to have a perfect life, perfect family, perfect son created an impossible life. It also allowed me to see where my judgments of myself leaked onto my loved ones. While I am not about drowning in guilt, resentment or regret, I am about acknowledging how to change it once I had the awareness of what I was creating and to change it.
These judgments had kept me from caring for myself all those years. I was so afraid to be me and to trust that I would be enough that I couldn't see my own true value, only the one I thought was most important to others-for appearances sake. All of this stemmed from all of the judgments that I had carried throughout my life of never being enough, being pretty enough, good enough, etc. I needed to enter the fantasy of being perfect so that I could pretend to be happy.
Not all of our self-judgments will have this same result, I certainly hope not. But be assured that your children are aware of how you judge yourself and they do take notice and will either agree with you or resist or react to it. They will learn from you what to value for themselves. If we value ourselves and taking care of ourselves, of removing judgments from our lives and attend to what we would like to change with gratitude, our lives will be richer and our children will see what is truly of value.
Take a moment and think about what judgments of you are you carrying that keep you from taking better care of yourself? You can check in with how much you judge yourself by how often you use words like: should, too, supposed to, someday, and when. Here are some examples and see if you can spot the judgment hidden in the statements:
Did you find the hidden judgments? Pretty tricky but we do this all the time and we stop ourselves from truly caring for ourselves with more respect, honor, trust, and gratitude.
Change can't happen when we are judging and comparing ourselves.
The best way to leave judgment behind is to replace it with statements of heartfelt gratitude. It is true that you can't judge and be grateful at the same time. Let's look at the same statements above and turn them into gratitude:
What if you can be you and parent too in all your unique glory?
What if you could be the parent your kids most desire by being the true you and not the fantasy you?
How would your life be different if you stopped judging you and started caring for yourself and your future?
Allow yourself a bit of time to be with these questions and notice the energy, the peace, the sensations that come up for you. You are worth taking some time to gain more awareness about who you be.
Mary shares her desire to create different possibilities for families and individuals who are looking to live a more conscious and aware lifestyle. BE YOU Parenting is for parents who want to BE all that they truly BE and to allow their kids the same privilege.