Time for some reflection for the day.
In the day job today I had the task of having some phone discussions with parents of teens who are attending our parenting course. This is the two part phone call follow up to them implementing positive parenting.
I found myself having some distinct conversations with three mothers, each with their unique background and yet so similar.
Each of the mothers appears to be doing this job called parenting on their own. One is a single parent, the two other women are married with partners who do not share the burden of parenting fully.
The single lady spoke of how her conversations flow better with the daughter outside of the home but home becomes unsafe for both of them because the burden of always being productive and not being able to relax is too great. This lady was raised by a mother who herself was doing the job on her own raising 3 children plus looking after ill parents whilst holing down a job managing a hospital. My single parent spoke of how she also feels like she can never take time out and relax until everything is done and daughter asleep just like her own mother used to do. Therefore not being ‘”productive” equates to lazy, therefore just sitting with a coffee and watching the world get by at home feels unproductive. This parent recognized therefore how hard she finds delegating work to others and how she always believes she has to do everything alone without complaining because this is how her mother has done. She expressed how asking a friend to help with decorating her daughter’s room felt like the hardest task in the world. And of course the daughter is copying the mother, she is unable to speak about her needs and therefore she does not speak up and takes it out on herself.
At the end of the call I had to reflect it back to myself how a parenting call often is about connecting the story for people and become a mirror to them and providing the space for exploration.
My conversations became a mirror to my other two mothers, similar to how the water reflects back the foliage in my picture. My 2nd call was to a mother who the universe entrusted with 3 special souls. Her teen her pre teen and her husband who all have Autism. This mother explored how she created space for her two children to allow for some problem solving whilst she finds her partner frustrating and difficult to handle. The discussion led to talking about how autism presents at times and we made connection to Star Trek and how perhaps at times she feels like the captain of the Enterprise and has a few Data who she is trying to teach to be human. This analogy came about due to the conversations she often overhears between her partner and child where the two appear to only exchange information devoid of emotions but which look from a neurotypical person’s perspective as arguments. In fact the exchange is a pure data exchange with a hope of a resolution. For this mother it is the lack of emotional connection and lack of emotional feedback that becomes the burden. So the take away was how important is to connect emotionally and to get back some feedback, for we are emotional creatures and it is ok to feel, to engage, to laugh, to be sad, to play, to be child like.
the third conversation with the 3rd mother focused on what is her role in the whole family scenario. This mother struggled to see how her child might have the skills to deal with the world but perhaps the mother’s own inner critic wash too harsh to see the reality unfolding around her. Culturally she comes from a very strict society dominated by rules and expectations of perfection and therefore she expects the same from her child. When I asked the mother to identify what she herself has achieved and what sparkly moment she had for her self, her hearing and ability to understand me became difficult. Almost as if her own mind could not hear the words, as if her whole system struggled to grasp what I was asking for. Her own brain was glitching as it tried to identify positives. it took me repeating the question 3 times in different ways before she understood the meaning, then paused……..struggling to find an answer. A blockage of the system, almost a shut down because she could not see how she was an integral and important person in the child’s life and how many things are going well because she supported the outcome. For this mother the task is to reflect on what her achievements are because this lack of recognition for self, that lack of validation of self, is then reflected back on to the child. If the mother is not enough as a human being, as a wife, as a mother as a child herself, then how can those around her meet that status of worthiness, when will they be enough.
three unique conversations all coming back to that point of neutrality of the objective observer. In all three conversations I needed to take back the mothers to that point of external reflection. What is it they brought with them from childhood that is lingering in the depth of their being that creates the illusion of their reality? What are those childhood beliefs/expectations/observations they have taken forward to their adult world, which then become the unseen driving force behind their action? That unseen current that runs under the clear waters in my image. What behavior’s they may be doing which their children are reflecting back through their behavior that then become the trigger for the inner child of the mothers of needs that have not been met? In a similar way in which my image shows two halves of the story, the foliage as bushes and trees reflected in the illusion of the water, which is the real tree? From the perspective of the fish the image reflected, from the perspective of the bird is the branch it is sitting on. Both realities co-exist but is defined by the being experiencing it, and all the while us as the ones watching the picture we marvel at the beauty. My two mothers are living through the same. Their own experience as the parent seeing their failure in the child, the child seeing their own failures in the mother’s eye, and me that outside force watching out for the potential in both.
Are you the fish?
Are you the bird?
Are you the photographer?
What is your own role in your own life?