It's a funny thing, parenting. There are books and articles everywhere that tell you how to do it "right".
A friend that works for a local parenting magazine commissioned me to write articles on parenting for the magazine. I wrote a few and realized that I actually suck at parenting and should leave it to the experts.
Who are the experts? People whose kids are young enough to still think "my kid would never....". Haha. I'm kidding. I know there are real experts, educated, validated, published. Before you read further, just know, I do not claim to be one of those.
My children are 21 and 15. I am just beginning to realize how deeply I screwed them over.
Before you think that I actually think I am a bad parent let me assure you, I do not. I am 100% certain that I did the very best that I could with the resources I had. If I could have a "do over" I would gladly change things. I don't and that is totally okay.
We all have wounding. I call some of them "core wounds". Things we believe about ourselves that develop as we develop. There is no way around it. Our core wounds are amazingly instrumental in helping our children develop their own.
My core wound is this....I am invisible. Of course, my thinking brain knows better, yet my subconscious holds a tight grip on this lie. How or why this developed isn't terribly important now. Sometimes our core wounds develop before we are old enough to have them as conscious memories.
Fast forward to me as a parent. If I, as a young mom, subconsciously believes she is invisible, treated her first son in a less than healthy way. I completely obsessed over giving him attention. He was smart and beautiful. To me he was perfection.
If his mom was invisible and he was perfect then she may not be invisible anymore. See what happened there? He develops the thought that he must be perfect to be loved and developed hyper attachment to my approval.
My second son was born with hearing loss, going completely deaf after his first birthday. He went on to receive bilateral cochlear implants and does great. Yet.... his mom believes she is invisible but she has a son with "special needs" and suddenly she is visible. Everyone we met was made aware of his hearing issues.
He develops a the thought that he is broken and should be pitied.
I absolutely think I should win "Mom of the Century".
Actually I am feeling pretty accomplished. Why? Because I figured this out!!!
I can't undo the damage and I cannot heal them but I can begin the work to heal my own wounding. I can be transparent about my reality and pray that they will do their own work towards healing their own wounds.
There is pain and power in this realization. The pain is not that I hurt my kids, the pain is that no one gets parenting "right". There are some that get it extra wrong but it is nearly impossible to not project our own wounding onto our kids, especially if we are unaware of our own issues.
The power is that human beings are resilient creatures. Our brains are incredible and are able to heal. We will not escape this life struggle free. We may heal one wound only to discover another. It's a process, a journey towards wholeness and freedom. As my oldest tells me when we are talking about depression, something we both are familiar with, "we all have a cross to carry mom."
I guess I did something right.