You Cannot Parent out of Pity!
Updated: May 18, 2021
This blog entry is going to be short, sweet and straight at your neck. Sometimes I have to give it to my client’s raw and direct, so HERE…You are going to get this serving too!!
The could’ve, would’ve, should’ve plagues parenting heavily.
“I wish I would’ve given my children this”.
“Oops! I didn’t know that”.
“I’m sorry for not being the mother you needed at the time when I did not know how to be the woman, I needed for myself” … is what I promote.
Kids harbor feelings and parents do too. If we let those feelings linger too long, we don’t allow resolution. Now someone reading this may say, I don’t want resolution, I am done. That is okay as long as you are accepting of that decision and can sit with it. This recommendation is for those, who want to enact some change or get out of that debt with their children. Don’t worry, I am here to get you there, if you find yourself stuck.
There are so many times where I meet a woman who has dug herself into a substantial amount of debt to her children, because she feels she owes them. She has not found the forgiveness in herself for what she did not do or know.
Momma Bear! you will stress yourself into a lifetime of unhappiness if you work to make up for what you did not have the capacity to give your babies. I am here to support your acknowledgment but I won’t let you dwell in that. If you ever decide to work with me, you will soon find out, I will get in that pity hole with you, but we are not staying there.
Wherever you are in your motherhood journey, you may feel you did not do something right for your children, so now you have to make up for it. I notice this more with mothers who have teens and adult children. They find themselves in situations with their children that is enabling, unhealthy and disrupting to the child’s development and growth. You feel so bad you did not give your kids a certain lifestyle, or kept them from something, so you parent from a place of void. You allow yourself to parent based off the past because of how you internalized your short comings.
What people fail to realize, you can gain esteem or lose it when it comes to parenting. If you feel you did your kids a disservice you will internalize that feeling and place and project. Placing thoughts and feelings on your identity as a mom, can then be projected onto your children. It happens more than we acknowledge. To give you a sense of what I am speaking on, let me give you an example. I will keep it on myself.
My daughter’s father is not present in her life, by his choice. I used to struggle terribly with the fact I chose this man to be my daughter’s father. Due to the situation, it created some feelings, thoughts and behaviors within me. A feeling of disappointment. That led me to think, “I cannot stand him, how dare he do my baby like that.” Which led me to the behavior of , I will work, and work and work to ensure she has and does not go without no matter what lengths I have to go. DO WHAT???? Yes, I would work until I could not work so she did not feel his absence. NO MA’AM! That is insanity and not necessary.
Are you following me?
At one point in my mom journey, I would stretch myself so thin to make up for my poor choice of a co-parent. While I acknowledge that is who I chose for my daughter, I cannot allow him the power to shape me breaking my back to make up for his short comings. That is not my baggage to carry. This example is what some parents do as well. They overextend or place their children so high on their list of priorities that they forget themselves and are unhappy AF. You may fall in between or notice you are on one side of this pity parenting. It is on you to decide, will this be a phase or the rest of my life.
Once I found forgiveness in myself for who I decided to make a child with, the game changed. Now do I still have my moments, where I am like “Mike O’Connell wassup?” Absolutely! I have learned to be open with my daughter at her level so she can find some understanding. Doing so, eases my mind because she can ask me questions about me and her dad. If I do not know something, I share that. I won’t make up something to appease her, but I also make sure I keep it on me and do not share my true thoughts of him. That is NOT her business and its counterproductive. I have even secured her, her own space to process if she chooses.
The ultimate key factor though, is building our village. While I cannot replace her father, I can provide her with great models, mentors and support that provide her with love, safety and a sense of family. That is how I worked my way out of pity parenting. You will have to discover what works for you and your children. Also ask yourself, how do you pity parent?
Do you handicap them by sweeping in and doing for your grown children because you feel you did not when they were younger?
Do you support their toxic traits and unhealthy behaviors by funding their habits or protecting them from consequences they need to learn because at one point you were absent in their childhood?
Do you let them disrespect you because you want to gain their love back?
If you said yes to one of those above examples or discover another way in which you do, I want you to know, you will stay indebted to them if you don’t address it. Kids seek your acknowledgment, changed behavior if you’re still doing the behavior and an apology. I know as a parent it can feel powerful. Stepping up and admitting when you’re wrong or had a short coming to your kid(s) will not strip you of who you are to them. What strips parents is when they don’t own their stuff. Parents have stuff and kids see it. Release that burden for each of you. The generations to come rely on the work you do today.
The Womb Therapist