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Today, I want to talk about Joy in motherhood.
I want to talk about to find your joy, how to find fulfillment on your Parenting journey. And also about how to start a therapeutic process if you need it.
To talk about this, I need to come back to my own journey, to those challenging early years.
It is obviously a deeply personal blog post and what I share, what has worked for me might not be what you need.
If you are a parent of a child under 3 or under 6, you know that the early months, the early years can be tough: a baby who doesn't sleep through the night, a toddler who throws tantrums, a new baby and a jealous sibling, the choices we make to go back to work or not and so on...
Fast forward 11 years, I feel that I have learned a lot and sometimes the hard way. I had some rough years when I wasn't even sure I was enjoying motherhood anymore: working part-time and being under paid, the guilt of using childcare, weaning my toddler because I couldn't cope, 2 years of daily tantrums despite being coherent and gentle most of the time, being an angry mama with no support, I went through it all...
I was also blessed that I had an easy breastfeeding journey. I had a husband who kept us safe and had a good job. We are all in a good health and my children really go along most of the times.
But being a mother was not easy and straight forward for me.
I had very little support when my children were little. 11 years ago, Gentle parenting was an extreme parenting option (think Attachment parenting and The Continuum concept). I didn't know anyone else who was parenting the same way. We had no Facebook groups to create a virtual village of gentle parents.
So yes, one of my goals with this blog, my Social media and my courses is to give you a short cut to become the best parent you can be. You don't have to wait for your children to be older to enjoy motherhood now.
You don't need to send your children to daycare to be able to cope with everything.
You don't have to become resentful.
You don't have to sacrifice yourself.
You don't need to feel guilty.
It sounds pretty simple but it is the thing I want you to know.
It's your birth right to be fulfilled and contented.
You have a right to do what makes you happy right now.
It doesn't mean that you have to forget about your mum's duties and be selfish but you need to find a happy medium.
You can enjoy parenthood with your children instead of doing for your children, sacrificing who you are for your children, forgetting who you are to focus on your children.
In the small things and the big things, you can find a happy medium and today I give you permission to check if you have ticked your boxes of happiness.
It is ok not to want to be with your children all the time, no matter their age.
It is ok to revisit your decisions and to change your mind down the line if you don't feel good.
It is ok to take care of yourself.
Obviously, your children have needs. Basic needs that are your priority too. I am not advising you to neglect your little ones.
To a certain extend, we sacrifice ourselves when we become parents: we wake up in the middle of the night, several times to feed our baby. We care for a sick child for a few days. We forget to shower to calm down a teething baby. We spend our day dropping everyone everywhere. We cook dinner that the children will eat but that we don't like...
But we cannot stay in that self-sacrificing mode forever.
It's when mutual fulfillment come into the picture. Another blogger has even coined the word "site of mutual fulfillment". Check her blog post too. Thanks to Ashley from Wild.Wood.Childhood for pointing me in that direction.
What help your child and help you too? What makes you a better parent and fulfill your children too?
Have you read the examples above thinking that you couldn't do that? Do you feel guilty if you think about yourself? Do you feel that it's your duty to craft the perfect childhood for your children?
I am telling you today: ditch the perfect image of motherhood and enjoy the chaos, the imperfection and allow yourself to find joy right now.
I learned the hard way that an unhappy parent is an unhappy child and leads to a unhappy couple too.
My husband sacrificed himself for a long time to take care, financially, of our family.
While I am grateful, I also know that our family is much happier, safer and contented since he has left his job. It comes with its challenges. We are now both self-employed and we have no financial safety or stability yet but on a day to day basis, we are more fulfilled and our children know and feel it. Therefore, we are a much happier family. And we are amazing examples for our children too. My youngest is creating his own business and sells us toys from his bedroom, creates toys and so on. My daughter is currently writing a book.
My Montessori and Gentle Discipline Course will help you to understand your child and to bring peace into your home.
When I have always allowed myself some form of self-care, I was feeling guilty all the time.
If you feel guilty too, if you feel that you don't deserve self-care, if you have unrealistic expectations of motherhood and want to reach perfection, I invite you today to stop and reflect and to ask yourself why?
Then I would like to invite you to start a therapeutic process, to prepare yourself to become the best version of yourself, whatever it means for you.
Note that you don't have to have gone through a trauma to need therapy. Therapy might mean, a one to one with a psychologist or it might mean going to Yoga every week or taking a bath with a good book.
Our children are surely our greatest teachers.
In a way, having children can be a wake up call, an eye opener about what is really important and an intense therapy at the same time.
I believe that we need to prepare ourselves, we need to reflect on ourselves and we need to take care of ourselves.
Whatever it is for you, find what is going to help you on a therapeutic level.
To accomplish anything in life, you need to know yourself & to love yourself as you are. It doesn't mean that you will not change but if you truly love yourself, you will respect yourself, so you will accept who you are and evolve even if it doesn't fit with the society, your parents or partner's expectations.
How to start a therapeutic process? It is a very individual process but I'm happy to share what has worked for me:
Please, let me know in a comment if this blog post has helped you somehow. If you want to share more tips to start a therapeutic process as a parent, feel free to add your comment too!
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Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.
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