It’s not our children that are out to get us, it’s the Patriarchy (and it’s up to us to change things now)

“Is s/he a good baby?” How many times are we asked this question, as new parents? How many times do we cringe and maybe feel slightly (or significantly) inadequate?

I saw a headline this week that played on the dynamic of kids vs. parents, something I don’t even care to repeat as it was click bait for the masses ready to be outraged at the permissiveness of today’s parents, and the entitlement of today’s kids. I posted on FB my first response here.

What I really wanted to say was this:

Almost every day when I have to take my 3yo to nursery he will resist as I attempt to get him out the door, dropping to the floor or attempting to run off down the street. If I try to stop him, he may try to scratch my face, hit me, or pull my hair. He will stiffen his body and try to slide out of my arms.

Is he a “bad” kid? Some might say so. Some would certainly treat him as such.

But you know what? He’s not a “bad” kid. He is warm, loving, and incredibly intelligent. He actually loves nursery. He has a learning disability and sensory issues. He struggles with transition and hurrying makes him feel panicked. He has a need that needs to be met. As a parent, I need to learn how to meet that need so that life can flow for him and for me, and his capacity to love remains intact.

When I was an infant, I wasn’t a good baby. I was inconvenient. Troublesome. When I was born, my mother was given the drugs too late (in the hospital where I was born every woman was given drugs, my mother just hadn’t realised she was in labour). I was alert, not sleeping like the other babies in the hospital nursery. The nurses didn’t know what to do with me as I refused to settle and they sent me back to my mother on the ward. I note this is very likely one part of why my mother was able to breastfeed me successfully in a time when it wasn’t common.

Later on, I wasn’t a “good” child. I was loving, protective of my siblings, a crusader against perceived injustice. I rebelled against attempts to control me and took in the message that I was “bad” because I refused to comply. I internalised the messages “bad” to a degree that it took me well into my 20’s recover. I tried very hard to be good, but I never really felt I was (it took me a longer time to realise that not being good was a really good thing!).

Eventually, I had my own children. I would find the words I had heard from my own childhood coming out of my mouth at unexpected, high-intensity moments. I would genuinely feel at times that my toddlers were out to get me.

Maybe you’ve experienced this too? It wasn’t intentional or rational, but I believe it is very common. The feeling I was experiencing was deep programming that traced back through generations of my family. I had switched sides in the dynamic, but the dynamic was the same, one that had been reinforced over generations.

My children became my teachers. Four children on and I no longer take my kids words or behaviours personally, for the most part. I have learned that my children’s words and actions nearly always express a need of some sort, one that may take some ingenuity to uncover. That’s not to say I am always patient or completely understanding! I’m not. I’m human. But that doesn’t mean the need isn’t there, or that I can’t aim to do better next time. I absolutely can.

We can all do better than the us vs. them dynamic. Us (parents) vs. them (kids) allies us with the external order of the patriarchy where “good” parents are tasked with creating “good babies” who internalise that order.

In reality, our kids are our best allies just as we are theirs. Our kids aren’t out to get us (our parents likely weren’t either, they were very likely doing the best they knew and were able to at the time).

We can do things differently. We can see our children as partners in healing the wounded patterns of the past. As their nurturers and protectors, we are the gatekeepers of the future.

Reading the news these days, there is no doubt we need a new world order. Our kids need us more than ever to navigate the world we currently inhabit in ways that allow them to grow with spirit intact, and the fullest capacity to love and to connect. These are the qualities that will change the future.

I’ve spent many years working on my own story and rewriting my own internalised patterns. If you feel fragmented, broken by the patterns you internalised through your own childhood, I want you to know that this healing work can be done. I know because I’ve done it. It’s a process. It requires ongoing commitment to ourselves and our kids. But we can absolutely do this.

For me, many years ago, counselling was part of it. Counselling gave me understanding and some tools to cope (and if you’re looking for help of this sort, I can recommend the work of Tania Davies Therapy), but I still felt broken. It was only when I experienced Soul Retrieval and working energetically to shift the patterns that I came to real peace with my past and felt my full capacity to love was restored. (This is the work I now share with others.)

More recently, working with the Desire Map and the Heart Centering Practice has surprised me at how it’s changed my inner landscape. I’ll be sharing this practice in our FB group this week, you can join us here.

Our virtual Women’s Circle is on this week at 9.30pm UK time. Come join us in the group.

How I feel is the most important gift I can give my children

I had a reminder this past week of how incredibly precious and important it is to have access to feeling how you want to feel.

What happened is this: an interaction that threw me off course and triggered a post-traumatic stress response. While the incident itself wasn’t tragic and simply an opportunity for improving boundaries, I am reminded me what my life used to feel like every single day, when my marriage went bad.

It felt at times like hell on earth for me and my children. I endured because it was incremental, because it wasn’t as bad as some others have it (it really wasn’t, but it was bad enough that it should have ended long before it did), because he had issues I had compassion for, and ultimately because (I believed and it was true on some level for a time) I had no other choice.

In retrospect, here’s what I want to say to myself: “I understand why you stayed, but taking the leap to freedom is the absolute best thing you will ever do. In unexpected ways the path will open. Protect your tenderness and your children. Keep focused on freedom. Your life and these years of your life – of your children’s lives – are valuable.”

I am reminded I am not going back. Patterns of control and abuse are hard to break, particularly when it isn’t possible to block contact altogether. Mostly, my kids and I are doing great these days. We have carved out for ourselves space. I have strong boundaries, and increasing freedom.

But holding the boundaries and access is still to some degree a work in progress. The patterns of abuse don’t change, the outbursts followed by the ‘honeymoon’. What does change is how I recognise what I am seeing, and how I hold myself.

This week has reminded me that my most precious asset is how I feel, and that it is worth protecting for my children as well as for me.

This quote says it all to me:

“What old world healers have known, science is now proving. Our emotions lead our biology — having a profound effect on our heart rhythms, brain chemistry, and the myriad of systems they control. Stress brings chaos in the heart, positivity brings calm and steadiness. When we “think” with our hearts, we build our lives from a cellular level. It’s the ultimate self-agency — and it generates what we’re all wanting: joy, peace, and ultimately, a more loving world.” -Danielle LaPorte

So I’ve been calling myself back, clearing the old patterns once more, healing. I have had to stop to do this work, to give it the time and space it needs. That’s frustrating, but a good reminder.

One of the tools I’ve been using is Danielle LaPorte’s Heart Centering Practice. I’m going to share it in our Community group soon.

It will be part of the new online Desire Map experience launching this month, which will be FREE to access for the first 9 days. The Desire Map altered the fabric of my existence in profound and enduring ways, it is still one of the tools I return to every day to hold the balance. You can get access here – please do come join us, you won’t regret it.

Short reflections on my 47th Birthday

It’s my birthday today, so sharing a few thoughts on things I’ve learned or been reminded of this past year.

*When you want to change things, habits matter most. I see this again and again, habits matter. They focus thought and action, they are the fabric of the present and future we are creating. Consistency matters more than perfection, just pick it up if you fall off. Community helps too!

*Strong and healthy boundaries are essential, especially for women. Learning how to say no, and remembering to say it, gives us space to breathe and live and actually make the choices that are in alignment with what we want to be bringing in. Sometimes these boundaries need to be built in physically and/or legally. If that’s the case, do it.

*It’s okay to celebrate yourself and give yourself what you need, particularly when you are an adult. Hey I bought my own birthday flowers and cake (not up to making it this year). I did resist a bit, but then I thought my kids need to see this and I need to allow celebration too. I do love my flowers. 🙂

*When things aren’t working and frustration rising, give yourself some space. Finding space takes action on my part, probably it does on yours too. It’s not easy, and make take time to access, but it is so necessary and worth it.

*Day to day, moment to moment, how you feel matters. Feeling makes a great compass and guide to what’s right when we wake up to the messages. I feel so strongly that this will be increasingly important as things get tougher, and it’s why we are here together – to hold that inner compass and light for ourselves and others.

Virtual circle is on tonight, please do join us.

Ready to go deeper with the work? I have a few spaces for May 2019 for one-to-one healing. You can find out more here. ( I can’t resist a birthday special so quote ‘Birthday Special’ if you’re booking by 30 April 2019 and I’ll include a special 30-minute Desire Map bonus session.)