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Changing Roles...Part of The Process!

Many people toast the end of a year with champagne and noisemakers—I, come up with harder-than-hell conclusions about my life as a parent and as an individual, hence, this past weekend’s realization that I’m using my role as my children’s caretaker as a refuge, a way to shield myself from pursuing my passion of writing. Through the many years of raising small children, I’ve honed the craft of using them as shields so I don’t have to embark on a new career. Every excuse I have for not moving forward with my writing is tied to my “poor” children not being able to handle me being busy with anything else. The notion that they need me so much that it’s impossible to raise them and pursue my dreams is nonsense, but I've held on to that mentality for a very long time.

Our family took a short vacation to Santa Barbara this past weekend while the kids are on winter break. I spent a lot of time planning our vacation in hopes of making it enjoyable for everyone, but they had a different idea of how they wanted to spend their downtime. My husband wanted to “guide” their decisions on what to do, aka, do as your mother planned or else we’ll have a very cranky woman to deal with. A pivotal moment came after we went back to our room after we had breakfast, the kids were fighting and my husband was trying to help mediate, and while watching it go down, I hit an emotional wall! I reached a major burnout point and started to cry with sadness (usually it’s only anger and no tears). I announced that I was done planning fun trips and activities for the family because not one of them wanted to be part of our family anymore, a bit dramatic but nonetheless, how I felt in the moment. In their shock of seeing me cry, they all stopped, apologized and tried to make me feel better about the situation. I couldn’t figure out why I was so upset because these types of arguments and fighting among my kids happen a lot during the day, so I walked away and went to sit by the pool. While watching small children play in the water, I realized why I was so sad! My babies have grown up and my role in their lives is not one of raising them, but more guiding them, therefore, giving me time to pursue my passion of writing! After all this time raising babies and caring for them, I’m not needed in the capacity I was needed before. They’re old enough to know what makes them happy and what doesn’t, and there's a lesser need of my time and efforts.

My resentment for not being needed in the same capacity as before drove me to look harder into what I need to do for myself as I enter a new stage in my children’s lives, and it’s a struggle to wrap my head around this process of children becoming young adults, and me becoming more of an individual and not just someone’s mom. It started to feel like an almost too-big of a mountain to climb, and then a great quote by Brené  Brown from her book Rising Strong came to mind so I looked it up and it says: Experience and success don’t give you an easy passage through the middle space of struggle. They only grant you a little grace, a grace that whispers, “This is part of the process. Stay the course.” Experience doesn’t create even a single spark of light in the darkness of the middle space. It only instills in you a little bit of faith in your ability to navigate the dark. The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens. Those words were music to my ears: I’m in the middle space of my struggle with my roles as a mom and an individual! I realized that it’s been dark and scary for a short while, but the great news is that while in the darkest moments of realization this past weekend, the magic happened when I chose to accept and welcome the scary, but good changes in my roles. Cheers to a new year and new beginnings! In hope, I am fearless.

-Fabiola

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