Becoming vulnerable made me a better mom on so many levels. The journey it took to becoming vulnerable with my girls was a long, hard road. After, taking account and acknowledging that I was not where I need to be, the journey began. Seeing that my own childhood upbringing wasn’t emotionally vulnerable, I knew there had to be a better way to deal with motherhood.
To be vulnerable means to give of yourself in a manner that exposes your weaknesses. A manner that could move you out of the authority position and into childlike feelings. The definition of vulnerability means ” in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect.”
The definition alone unpacks thoughts and feeling that I would rather suppress. Suppress, is exactly what I would do, things that don’t fit the narrative of strength or survival I “block”. While blocking what I feel I didn’t notice the silent walls I was building around me.
I now know I was not given the space to feel like a child. I grew up in an era where you only speak when you’re spoken to; you only come when called. Which made me close my self off, and deal with my emotions that best way I knew how. And when your young you MUST be taught how to deal the emotions that arise.
After, being pulled from my home I was always trying to stay out of the way. Expressing myself to heavily meant I would be jeopardizing the space I slept in as I was not a familial fixture. Movement was a constant for me, I normalized pain as a daily occurrence and never took note of the mental toll it placed on me as a child.
I now know this stunted my emotional growth. Never knowing what true patient vulnerable loves felt like, gave me the notion that showing emotion doesn’t really matter. Even further, learning those who put the constraints on me could only love from the constraints that were placed on them.
It All Began To Come Together In My Mind
The walls started to breakdown and I began to deal with the emotional trauma from my past. I started to see a lack of vulnerability in my parenting, in turn, a lack of vulnerability in the conversations I was having with girls. I knew I loved them but, why couldn’t I take their tears or worry and not dismiss it as them being spoiled or lacking strength?
So I set out to tear the walls down, brick by brick.
Let’s talk about how I became a vulnerable mother
I took note of my parenting skills both good and bad. This laid the groundwork for better mentally intelligent parenting moves. Giving myself grace with every decision. Repeating, there are “no perfect parents, we are all healing from some form of pain.” In my case trauma from my upbringing. Noting when my personal trauma began to seep out when it was time to be more empathetic to my girls and there needs.
So What Happened
The most recent instance was a back to school shopping trip that went awry. My daughters were being very unappreciative while in the store; constantly complaining about what they expected and what was actually occurring. In my mind, I began to become irritated with the constant bickering on the subject.
Deciding we would just head home but, not before I gave them all the feels I’ve had inside of me since childhood. (which happens when I think they’re being spoiled) On the way home I’m yelling in the car. “You should be happy you’re getting new clothes and shoes to start the school year.”
I calm myself and work through the emotions I was feeling. I notice I expected them to act like me in situations. knowing, their experience doesn’t match the feelings I had when faced with day to day survival. I wanted them to feel what I felt without the pain. That just won’t happen! This let me know I needed to share how I felt instead of throwing it around like a weight we all had to carry.
The Vulnerable Journey Begins For Me
Here are a few ways that I became more vulnerable
Checking Myself: This was not something that came easy, as the thought can quickly ring ” I’m the authority here, I don’t have to change”. But, I’m not always right and my emotions are not always in the right place to give the most sound direction. Taking note of where my emotions are essentially checking myself gives me the perspective and the pause I need to be vulnerable at the moment.
I asked myself questions:
- Are you responding in a fair manner?
- Did you consider her feelings in the matter?
- How can I ensure they feel loved when I explain what the issue is and how we can fix it.
Taking Time To Worship + Pray: Yes, I have to have time to empty myself and lay my own burdens down. Or, I will simply pour them out on my girls.
This gives me the amount of energy I need to accept hugs and love from my girls. It also gives me the emotional space to explain to my girls in the moment it may not be the best time to deal with a specific situation.
I lacked the space to love them as a whole as no one took a moment to let me lash out. There were no check-ins to see if I needed a hug. I never got to cry it out or stomp out of the room… My emotions had to stay hidden until I was alone and then when alone I blocked them hiding them for my adult self to deal with.
Forgive: I used to hold on to the things that weren’t given to me. The parenting I desperately needed but didn’t receive. As a mother now I know, there is no easy way to parent. And I’m giving my girls all that I can while taking the extra steps to DO BETTER. But I must forgive to move past the pain of my childhood to LOVE my girls better.
After, taking these steps I’ve connected with my daughters on a deeper level. I am not spilling out my resentment of my childhood on to them. It’s given us a bond, a mother-daughter bond I’ve always hoped for. Showing I’m hurt or not at my best only strengthens our relationship and lets them know its ok, not to be ok. You can still pick yourself back up.
Disclaimer because this is the internet: No this, not me saying that every moment my daughters and I have together I was mean or lacking feeling when parenting them. ( I hate that I feel I have to write this but, mom-shaming is a real thing)