The Transformational Power and Evolution of Conscious Parenting
I became a first-time mother at the prime age of 39 (my daughter is now 3.5 years old) and find she is “raising” me in ways I never thought possible. Prior to becoming a mother, I had parenting all “mapped out” from how it would look and how it would “go” and to my surprise it was anything but what I expected. From having her four weeks premature to her very strong-willed and spirited personality, I had all my “ducks lined up” and thought with my “controlling ego” that so long as I was in charge it was all going to fall into place just fine. Now reflecting back, I can see that every part of my pregnancy journey happened exactly as it was meant to be – to better prepare me for what was yet to come when she actually arrived and my own birthing as a mother officially began.
I was about to embark upon a new paradigm shift / awakening to “grow myself up” in ways I thought I already had and see that my daughter was always destined to be called into my life so she could teach me how to grow my underdeveloped being into the mommy she needed me to become that of more ease and calm for our journey in life together.
Before becoming a mother, I would describe myself as follows: full-time career woman, always busy doing, set in my ways, very structured, anxious / anxiety, controlling, impatient, perfectionist, people pleaser, care what others think, black and white thinker, over-analyzer, hyper/intense personality, high expectations of myself and others, not in the present moment / future-based thinker, wanting to always be prepared and ten steps ahead, very fixed on my own expectations of parenthood.
Then after seeing Dr. Shefali Tsabary for the first time this past May on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday followed by her first Lifeclass show, I knew this was my official wake-up call from the Universe (bringing all my past experiences) including the birthing of motherhood to a higher calling. I began reading The Conscious Parent book and it continues to affirm that being right where I am in this very moment is where I am supposed to be – with my greatest teacher, my daughter, as my guide. Furthermore, I began doing some spiritual meditation / work to tap more into my essence and be more present, aware of my past conditionings, limited-self beliefs and behaviors so I could more consciously parent my daughter from a place she needed me to vs. stay stuck in my old ways. I came to recognize through Dr. Shefali’s work that anxiety, doing, control all go hand in hand and had never really looked at it this way before. This past June, I started this personal blog (The Conscious Parent) as a way to continue the conscious parenting conversation and provide a platform to journal (self-therapy) while helping others in return.
When my daughter turned one, I consciously quit my job to be home full time and although this was a blessing to have had the choice to make happen, at the same time it was a huge adjustment from being a career person and having a very structured routine to a non-structured routine and no longer in control of my day. It gave me new insight on how my own anxieties, preconceived beliefs, behaviors and restrictive ways were limiting my ease and enjoyment of motherhood at times and taking ownership of how I was contributing to burdening my daughter’s emotions more through my own frustrations. With my “A-type” personality style, I wanted to be so prepared in knowing it all (about motherhood that is) to be at ease and be steps ahead of my own anxiety at any given point (ego – need for control). Well that back-fired and created more frustration onto my daughter, who sensed my anxious and controlling energy) and when she didn’t fulfill my expectations that I had “planned out” in my head (ego – perfectionism, conforming) my inner tensions deepened.
So here is a glimpse at how I have grown along my conscious parenting journey (and continue to work on these matters of the heart) on a daily basis – while still realizing my unconsciousness can still get the best of me but being more quick to awakening my consciousness and staying present in my own emotions:
- Developing my patience muscle and awareness to my emotions; pro-active in my thinking
- Not caring what others think
- Remaining open and flexible
- Apologizing and admitting my faults to my daughter and others
- Speaking more calmly
- Walking away as needed / pausing before reacting during my child’s tantrums (which have scaled down immensely)
- Recognizing my emotional triggers
- Staying honest and vulnerable with my child about my own feelings, emotions, frustrations
- Teaching / modeling more relaxed vs. anxious responses to my child
- Re-emphasizing the importance of self-love and self-care
- Taking more time for me (making me matter)
- Understanding and empowering my child to do on her own that I know she is capable of – even when she wants to resist greatly
- Staying consistently mindful of my language choice, tone, behaviors, responses, etc
- See her and understand her own emotions – letting her have her emotions and upsets and go through her own process removing myself “personally” in the moment it occurs
- Validating her own being through my words and affection
- Talking to her after her meltdowns and moving on vs. holding a “grudge”
- I am learning that as I stay true to my own feelings and remove ego (perfectionism) I can be honest with my daughter about my frustrations, she sees me not as “super mom” but more of a reality to her developing self – to accept her emotions as they come.
- I am learning that my tolerance has grown (from the past 3.5 years), when I am faced with her melt-down days, I can get through them without letting my anxiety get the best of me and in my most available conscious awareness.
- I am learning that my daughter needs to have her “off days” too so she can learn and grow through them for herself.
“Conscious parenting is not about perfection nor is it about getting to an end-point as it’s a constant evolution of raising ourselves as we raise our children and teaching them as much as they are here to teach us first and foremost.” – Dr. Shefali