I chatted with Joseph after swimming this morning. His son is now a month old.
He hit his first minor roadblock. “My mother-in-law! She wants to do everything. It bothers me,” he said. “I want to be the one who provides for my son. I want my son to look to me and my wife, not my mother-in-law.”
For some parents, a grandparent’s involvement is a gift but for Joseph it feels undermining, even threatening.
“I had a deadbeat dad,” he said. “I’m not going to be anything like him.”
Ahhh, I thought. It’s so simple and complex at the same time. What you didn’t get in childhood follows you through life until you meet the needs of your inner child.
Your past is always there as guide and reminder there’s work to do.
Joseph’s clear parent vision comes from his inner child.
When children, we often think, “When I’m a parent, I’m going to do it differently.” Or, “I’m never going to be like my parents?”
That’s the birth of our parent vision. Remembering how we wanted to be parented is how we figure out how to parent.
The needs are universal for every child. We need unconditional love. Connection. Trust. Safety.
When we don’t get it, we know it’s missing. Then we go looking for it. In our partners. In others. In our child.
How we get there, how we reconcile and heal the past becomes our life work. If we choose.
People talk about parenting being a second chance. I think it’s a continuum. We don’t start from scratch. We start our parenting life in the beginning, middle, and end of things. That’s just the way it is. Children add to the chaos, catalyzing more growth, not less.
With the help of mothers-in-law, of course.