Parenting Tips: Who are you without work, children and your relationships?

It can get difficult to think of yourself outside of role of a mother

By Kavita Srinivasan

Published: Thu 1 Sep 2022, 9:19 PM

“I am an editor,” I used to say of my previous profession.

“I am a mother,” I tell myself now.

And then I stop.

I have a child. But is a mother all I am? The truth is I have always been a mother. It is difficult to think of myself outside of that role. I mother my mother; I mother my sister; I work with people to awaken their inner mothers and fathers so they can heal their inner child. Nurture has always been my calling.

But then, is that who I am? It is so easy to derive worth and belonging from our roles in this life. And so we lose ourselves fulfilling what is our calling. Soon, we do not know who we are outside of it. I help people. It is just who I am.

Till I realised that is not who I am. My growth, my healing, me, is beyond those limits. In one glistening moment I saw the truth and it has humbled me everyday. My biggest triumph is not finding my calling. It is that I am okay without it. You see I have found something beyond my calling that drives me.

Me. Just me. I just want to intimately know myself in my darkest moments and never run away.

It is easy to lose ourselves in parenting the child outside of us. And so many of us think the best way to parent is to focus on the child in front of us. I see parents screaming, tired, snappy, depleted; I see parents who busy, running, seeming like they have it all. I see children labeled as ‘difficult’, ‘rebellious’, ‘shy’, ‘anxious’… and parents struggling to ‘fix’ them.

There is no one to ‘fix’. Children are our mirrors. They show us, through their behavior, what needs healing within us. There is only one place to be: with you. Within. Every way you are struggling is how your child struggles. You cannot see your pain but your child senses it. And your child shows you the pain you refuse to see.

Do we stop working? Stop parenting? And sit without any identity to find ourselves? How is this done? How can I see me when I do not have time to breathe? We cannot all quit our jobs or stop the day-to-day of parenting. I have not. No one has. But you can do this:

Stop everyday for a few minutes. In the morning before the children wake up ideally, when the house is quiet. Breathe. Focus on your breath for a few seconds.

Let the thoughts come. Welcome them and return to your breath. And just tell yourself this: “I want to spend time with you. I will not run away to work and life. These minutes are yours. They are ours.”

You may think this means nothing or will do nothing. These words are magic. See yourself without anything. Be with yourself without expectation. And soon, you will learn that you are everything you love; everything you fear… and then you are more. You are every shade and feeling and then you are nothing. You are silence. In the emptiness of being, you are peace. This is how we learn to see our children beyond feeling, beyond behavior, beyond pain, beyond expectation.

It all begins with how you see you.

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