It goes without saying. We love our children in a way we haven’t felt before. It brings brand new levels of emotion. Protection, sorrow, joy, fear – they take on extremes the like of which we’ve not known.
It also means that, because they ask you to, batting those extraordinary eyes that you helped make, you will happily sleep in a knackered tent in your mum’s back garden with one child who hates anything with more than four legs, and one child who has taken issue with the concept of undisturbed sleep (see above).
But – and be prepared because this hurts to admit – we sometimes crave time away from them. However wonderful they are, no adult can genuinely enthuse when presented with the fourteenth rendition of an atonal and disturbingly pubescent ‘Shake it Up’.
Personally I have always really struggled with this. What is wrong with me that I need to separate myself from my own children sometimes? Why can I not enjoy just watching them grow without at times reaching nuclear levels of irritation? Am I grossly impatient? Horribly selfish? Essentially a shit parent? Well for years I thought that yes, I was all those things. And it made me pretty ill.
But when I was able to look at what was happening, with the help of one or two really good friends and a superb counsellor, I realised that the destruction was utterly self-imposed. My mind was working against me, relishing the ability to slowly atrophy my ‘self’ until there was nothing really left. I believed everything I was telling myself, I wasn’t able to watch what was happening because I was too deep in. My internal control panel, where I could pick and choose what I was going to believe and what I wasn’t, had completely shut down.
That’s a long story that’s been heavily abbreviated, but I wanted to make the point that developing mindfulness skills can really help to deal with these kinds of issues. And perhaps sometimes, just for an hour, we should be able to forget that we have children. Because it’s important that we can be just us too.
You don’t have to believe your thoughts, especially those that are cruel, negative and debilitating. You really don’t.
Who’s that in the photo again…..?