Sometimes the people closest to you (family, close friends, children) are ok with saying the most hurtful things to you simply because they're comfortable and allowed to. You've spent so many years turning the other cheek, continuing to do for them in the exact same way with no accountability, no boundaries and no voice. All because you fear conflict or because you feel obligated to do what "everyone else" says you should do in that role. I'll share the example of what just happened that led me to say that.
My kids are ok with disrespecting me while they respect everyone because there's little discipline, no uncertainty or fear of what I'll do. I'm not talking about beating them either. There's been little accountability over the years because I was feeling guilty. Guilty for the moments where I was "less than" based on someone else's standards. And kids are smart, they can manipulate that to get what they want.
In my mind I felt obligated to walk on eggshells because the behavioral issues and trauma they encountered only came into their lives because of my choices and mistakes. I felt like I owed them the ability to do whatever they want, to take whatever frustration and resentment out on me because I deserved it. How many times have you let someone mishandle you because your past mistakes tell you that you don't have a right to do otherwise?
I brought my past into my present and refused to give myself grace for growth based on the actions and beliefs of others who can't even see me clearly. Then God gave me the last two babies. The two that came after I started changing, after I started becoming a better me. And I realized something, they're all doing just fine. Nothing will be perfect, especially in parenting, someone is ALWAYS going to have something to say about the way that you do things.
There's no manual that covers all aspects of parenting. As young, or new, parents at some point we must get to the point where we transition from taking only the advice of those who went before us and into trusting our own abilities. As much advice as my family can give me, they can't parent for me. God made me their mother for a reason, there is something in me that is perfect for helping to mold who they are meant to become. I can't do that if I'm too busy being who everyone else says I should be.
Times are changing, generations are evolving. My kids deal with things that I never had to face as a child so my parenting has to evolve past how I was parented, to an extent. Some stuff still works now lol. So I've had to mesh the newfound thought that, children have a psychological and emotional aspect that must also be nurtured, with the sternness that doesn't spare the rod.
As mature and wise my kids may be at certain times, at other times, they're just hurt, scared children who have trouble trusting that they will not be hurt or separated from someone in their circle again. And hurt people hurt people or say certain things until they are taught and assured that things have changed and will be different. As I parent I violated their trust by allowing certain things but a good friend reminded me yesterday that taking responsibility for cleaning up my mess, doesn't always mean that I have to accept the blame for everything that is going wrong.
Yes, you made a mistake, yes there are consequences but no, that does mean they get to condemn you. That does not mean that you have to accept the lie that you're doomed to repeat those same mistakes. That does not mean that you can't come back from that and be better. I don't care how many times I've made the same mistake and it became a toxic habit or cycle, I can and will come out of it because my bible says, in Proverbs 24:16 "the godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked." If I was really as wicked or as evil as "they" say I am, that first time would've taken me out. I wouldn't have the courage to clean up the mess now. I wouldn't have the courage to keep getting back up and into the ring. I wouldn't have the courage to stand up and correct the issue.
The other week I did just that I stood my ground and have remained consistent since then. I've been on it and refuse to back down. I've taken my authority and my power back, not just as a parent but as a woman and it is paying off. I've set boundaries and don't apologize (because I'm not really sorry about it anyway) for doing so. I'm setting healthy boundaries where there once were barricaded walls of no resistance. Where absolutely nothing would get in or out. Not even love. My boundaries don't remove my love, they actually allow me to love better in ways that are healthy for me.
Someone I admire told a story the other day about an Olympic skier who trained for four years for his moment. As soon as the race started, he fell and his pole broke. He could've given up but he got back up and got back out there. Even though he was so far behind it looked like he'd never catch up. He kept going. By the last leg of the race, he'd gotten within the first five places. Then he ended up winning the gold. What if he would've remained defeated? Stayed down instead of getting back up?
See, the test for me lately has been trying to tell me that because I failed to properly discipline, failed to end a toxic pattern, failed to protect them before, failed to do any other task that can better my life; that I have no rights to try to do it now. So, because I once was so passive as a parent I can't "switch up" now and be authoritative. Because I allowed someone to come in and hurt them before, I have no right to protect them with all the fierceness I possess.
My best friend reminded me yesterday that setting boundaries has to include everyone in my life even my children, my parents, my significant other, etc. She also shared a quote that said, "what you allow is what you will end up with". It's never too late to do what's right if there's still breath in your body. I encourage you today to stand up. You don't have to do it rudely or disrespectfully for it to be effective. Just be real and be firm. They say that people can't change, that's a lie. Many people can change, they just don't want to. So they use that excuse that "people don't change" to remain set in their ways. YOU can't change them or make them do anything (good or bad) it's always a choice on their part. But you also have permission to hangs how you respond and what you will allow.
The Catalyst Coach
Fly With Me! Hope you're ready for one heck of an adventure! You never know what will happen!!!!
Author and Women's Wellness Coach.