I have issues I deal with that have nothing to do with my kids, but really my kids end up paying the price. Recently I was watching the movie Roxanne Roxanne and I was brought to tears watching how her mother seemingly deteriorated right before her children’s eyes, essentially checking out and managing and coping with her stress through drinking.
What seeded this was loss, theft, and betrayal. The man she was living with stole her money and her dreams. The movie was way too real for me because I saw in that film the many generations of women scorned, hurt and left to recover and recoup. There was another defining moment of the way in which another sister, a neighbor seemingly saved Shaunte from being chastised but in the same moment destined Shaunte to a new life of a mother inebriated, a mother consumed in her pain, living through numbing and missing out on moments to love and be loved by her daughters.
So many of us are those types of mothers, so many of us are and have those types of friends that offer us support but really it is a trap a way to hide and a way to lie away the reality of hurt that we may have chosen…which adds insult to injury.
I have been that mother…that mindless mother swept away by my emotions and doing the best I can with what I have.
Sometimes all I had was hurt, confusion, and depression. Sometimes all I had in me was a dry goodbye instead of a sweet I love you or a “whatever” instead of a “sure sweetie”. I realize there are micro-moments that my mothering was toxic in small doses.
Looking at the hurt that my ex-husband had created in me I tried hard to manage it, but just as water flows from high to low so too do our negative emotions. As I grappled with the truth of how hurtful I knew I was being to my child I had every excuse why I was allowed.
…..my mom was mean sometimes, and I mean I’m ok (yeah not really that shit hurt and I wasn’t ready to forgive her for how she treated me)
…..I wouldn’t be like this if he (my abusive ex) didn’t hurt me (honestly I don’t know what else would trigger my mindless mothering and it could have been anyone or anything)
….kids are resilient they understand I love them (yea kids love us, but they also have feelings and they do and can hold grudges….see my first excuse)
What did I do? I talked about it. I took myself to counseling to discuss my issues and how I felt as a mom. I needed help in creating a lifestyle in which I could hold myself accountable for being a better mom and to teach my kids it is ok to need support to grow into parenting.
I also became more mindful of how my drama was becoming my kids’ trauma. My abusive ex -husband was still verbally abusive towards me. Me not setting a tone of intolerance was creating a space where verbal abuse was tolerated. Don’t get me wrong a cuss up a storm just in life lol….but I don’t call people out of their names. The kids picked up this habit and I needed to stop it all around.
Sometimes drama literally lives outside of us but influences our kids. Sometimes it was the ex-husband other times it was the neighborhood I lived in. For example, I love my city but as a single mother of three who was afraid of her own husband living on the south side was triggering. People followed me and knew my schedule, the schools we attended were not that safe and it seemed like every time we went somewhere it was a fight or threat of violence.
The only thing I could control was who I chose to pay rent to. I moved from the south side only to have a bit more peace for the children and myself which was a wonderful move. The drama of the environment I had chosen was traumatizing in many ways. Becoming more mindful doesn’t mean running away, it means becoming still.
Our minds are in a million different places it seems and we think about our kids, but do we think about our mothering? In the recent weeks, there have been the unfortunate stories of many children harmed physically by their mothers and mother figures. Then there are those that are being harmed emotionally and mentally in smaller more inconsistent ways.
So my question is what is the lesson that you want to teach? I realized that my mother gave me the best mothering she had to give, later for what I feel I deserved I had to accept that what I got was her best. But in that, I also had to acknowledge that she is a reflection of the mothering she got and the mothering she rejected from Granny. Granny who wasn’t too kind it seems to my mom got little to no mothering as her momma died when she was young, before that who knows how freed slave mothered or the mothering they received from their enslaved mothers.
The reality for some of us is that our mothering has been absentminded and trapped in our realities of drama for generations. Many of us and them couldn’t escape the drama in which they birthed their kids into. Others did the best they could.
So now here we are. Here we are with the choice to be aware and aware of love and aware in a way that allows for the mothering that preceded this moment to be cherished, forgiven and accepted. It doesn’t mean if you received toxic mothering that you just run into her arms, or if she left you and or hurt you that she deserves access. This is to say that some of the mothers out there literally did the best they could with what they had emotionally, mentally and physically.
We each have a capacity to serve others but if there is no handle on the serving spoon, or there are holes in the spoon it can only serve certain ways. To want what we have yet to give is to ignore the reality of the work that goes into mindful mothering.
My mind used to be all over the place. My anger set the tone for my home and it came from the betrayal and hurt from someone else. I love my children so dearly that I wish to teach them how to live with that hurt…how to love through that hurt and how to manage their emotions when life serves you a shit sandwich that you ordered even.
You see the drama in our lives becomes little blessings to train up our kids and for our kids to train us up too. The love and compassion that mothers and children have are endlessly connected. To move the fog away and come back to the present moment I invite for you to take a breath and have the courage to ask yourself if your drama is seeding trauma in the heart and spirit of your children. If your answer returns yes, compassionately and gently accept that truth try hard not to judge yourself, blame yourself or punish yourself or others. Settle into what it feels like to acknowledge yourself as such.
When you have the energy and courage consider ways to reconcile your hurtful ways, patterns, and habits. This may take time, but the intention to heal for yourself is enough awareness for things to begin to shift subtly and silently in your own heart.
As you consider setting a wish to grow and invite that change into your life, set an affirmation or intention to be aware of the moments that life is offering you to be more mindful or to grow as a mindful mom. Surround yourself with loving forgiveness and spend your time writing or reflecting on who you are as a mother.
It is a lifestyle to be a mindful mom. I am not always on point. Apologizing to a teenager is embarrassing, but they have humbled my heart tremendously. If I can serve my children with the same compassion I do my oppressor I think I have done well in my journey. Teaching them this lesson is my new mothering purpose. I wish for them to pass this story down and not of how I merely hurt them with my words, but the moment mommy found her way out of the fog…that is how I want my story to end.
We can do this y’all! I promise you the hurt from your partners, parents and others doesn’t have to be a generational lifestyle….we can gift our babies something beautiful a chance to be loved even when someone has hurt us.