How Parents Grow - Parenting & Isolation
I remember feeling isolated. Even though I had four kids and was never alone, I often felt apart from other adults, but mostly from myself.
If I'm honest.
The more I made my life about my kids the more isolated I felt.
It's pretty simple now to understand, but back then, it felt almost impossible to comprehend because I believed being a parent was my whole identity.
It felt like I had to choose and, of course, I chose my kids. Because I loved them more than I loved myself.
Later I would understand, I was hiding behind my "new" identity of "parent" and postponing the hard work of discovering me. It's easy to do when you're a young parent.
Choosing my kids over me seemed natural and right.
In my mind, personal growth and parenting were not compatible. It took a while to figure out how to do both, but eventually, I did.
What became clear from the feeling that isolation spawned in me was that I had to make my needs a little more important than my kid's needs to be happy.
It came down to answering this question -
"Am I willing to commit to me?"
At the time, honestly, maybe not.
"If it means being a better parent?"
Well, yes. I am, then. I'll do anything for my kids.
Well then. That's good enough motivation. Let's get going.
I stopped feeling isolated and picked up a few truths along the way.
1. Children are not here to save us, define us or meet our needs.
2. We must keep moving, dealing, growing, healing.
3. Being a parent is part of who you are, but not all of who you are.
And it's ok to want more.