I admire my daughter’s, and I respect their innocence, their frailty as well as their strength. I look at myself and understand that I am growing because of them. They are teaching me more than I could ever teach them. What they are teaching me is how to see me because I see them.
I was one who never wanted or cared for kids. That desire grew when I was in high school. I didn’t see what other women gushed about when it came to children. All I saw was the challenge; even before I ever had children, I knew there’d be a challenge. And when I had my own, I realized that the thing I feared was all too real.
Never did I realize how subjective parenting would be. That to parent, one would have to be willing to see failure, fear, and struggles. It allows you to live life through your children. It will enable you to view you at their age, and now you can see with understanding as well as frustration.
You come face to face with your insecurities and triumphs. There is nothing more humbling than having conversations with a child that fights battles just like you and realizing that no one escapes from the exposure and influences of life. But even with that, if a parent can see themselves as their child and place themselves back in that space, it allows room for vulnerability to take place between the two generations.
No matter how strong or hard you are as a parent, there will come a time in their lives that you will find yourself in tears in front of them because, as they speak, you feel their pain; you have dealt with the same inward struggles. But you never had anyone to talk to about them, and you survived silently. You realize you can be for them what you did not have, and it’s humbling.
Children have a way to cause you to be vulnerable and even feel inadequate. From that truth, there comes a boldness of wisdom and teaching that gives space of transferring power and self-awareness. Often our children want to see that we are real and that we understand their fear and shortcomings. Why wouldn’t we, or why shouldn’t we be able to understand? Weren’t we once in their shoes?
What I am learning on this journey of parenting is that I must show up every day on the good and the bad. Every day I must show up to be an open door for my children to feel safe to release to me their burdens. And, in turn, be a pillar for them to release their fears while giving them the insight to maneuver through their situation. Let them know they are not alone. Make sure they know that even though mommy can be tough, I will be a door that will never close no matter what mood I am. Because for them, I owe a functioning parent who they can trust.
Parenting is showing up every day without an excuse, showing up even when they hate you, when they are angry, and when they don’t understand. Show up when you don’t know when you don’t feel like you are getting through when you feel like it’s going in one ear and out the other. When you feel inadequate, when you error, just show up.
It’s in the showing up that proves to them no matter the circumstance they know you’ll be there. The showing up opens up the communication channel, and one day, you will be standing there, and your child will become vulnerable in spaces with you that you weren’t given access to growing up. It’s in those moments you see the purpose of parenting. You understand that each generation can stay the same, get worse or become better depending on you.
You battle with your ego and pride and realize that for it to break over your children, you must first feel the pain of the breaking. You are breaking bad habits, wrong mindsets, bad teaching that were handed down to you by generations before you. If vision and clarity are given to you to see differently, that is a great responsibility and will challenge you to a different vantage point on how you go about parenting.
I now understand why I am a mother and not only a mother but a mother to daughters. I need them just as much as they need me. I’m seeing me and raising me all over again—an out-of-body experience in a sense. I’m raising children and growing up at the same time—what a rewarding adventure.
It makes you grateful that you were made worthy of being the kind of parent that you are.
May our eye, ears, sensitivity, observation, time, love, and, most of all, our vulnerability magnify in our lives as well as our children.
Let’s just show up!