I've have felt loads of resentment and judgement towards myself when it comes to my parenting lately.
Truthfully, it's been going on for a very long time.
But with a little prayer and some pretty BIG full moon feelings, things became a little more clear.
Truth is my kids are really well behaved, but something that changes both of their behavior is too much screen time.
I cannot get over the looming guilt that I have held over this subject.
There's many reasons why my kids get more screen time than usual sometimes it's warranted, meaning we have extra work, or we simply just have to rest and other times I think I could be a little more creative and learn to be playful.
Either way, I have this huge FEAR that my kids will become screen addicts.
Having suffered with addictions myself I understand the pull to want to soothe myself and my BIG feelings using something other than my coping skills.
Liiiiiike... maybe a little chocolate cake?
Dates, raisins, coffee etc. etc. etc.
Or maybe excessive busyness which is quite common for me hence... "Bizzy the Very Busy Bumblebee".
Anyway, knowing this about myself I couldn't help but feel all consuming guilt when I allowed extra time on the tube. Whenever they would whine or complain about getting off a swarm of guilt and fear would wash over me.
I thought to myself, what if I am setting my children up for a life of self abandonment through television?
What if the addictions get worse and they move onto other things?!
If I was more present and more available then they wouldn't ever have to worry about thier mental or emotional health.
They would have the mother and the life they deserve.
Truthfully if I had it my way there would be no TV at all!
Or anything EVER that offers the opportunity for addiction.
I cannot tell you the amount of real estate these thoughts have taken up in my mind.
Until this morning, after much prayer and journaling something revealed itself to me.
I am NOT God.
I can do my best at learning to set better boundaries and stick to them. Not just with their time but also my own and hopefully learn to be more present and available.
I can ask them to turn off the television and their game but that doesn't mean they're not going to be disappointed and groan.
Disappointment is not an indicator for addiction.
Finally, if my kids end up having an addiction to games or food or Heaven forbid anything else I hope that they too will have a God
OF THEIR UNDERSTANDING just like I do.
Albeit... Buddha, Ala, a tree
as long as they have something to hold onto.
And if I'm trusting fully in a plan bigger than my fears, then God will show us what to do and what is right.
As a matter of fact my oldest (above) who is now 15 didn't have a television for nearly the first 4.5 years of his life and he still complains when it's time to be done. So how am I to know what will or will not cause an addiction or how their life will unfold.
What was actually happening was that I was projecting my experience onto my children.
Even if my children are loved immensely (which they are) and have lots of attention (which they do) I cannot control the outcome of their life experience.
They have their own journey and I have mine.
Without these battles I never would've learned to trust in something greater than myself, work towards being a better person each and everyday and have gotten to know myself on such a deep level.
I also can help them, because I understand.
I have tools that I would not have had without addiction.
Something that I've learned is that struggle unites us as a family.
It offers an opening for Grace to step in.
If I was "perfect" I would be unapproachable.
I know this for certain as I am also a recovering perfectionist.
Now that I have learned a little more about myself I'm able to have more humility in life which has brought my teenager and I that much closer. Admitting my mistakes and actively trying to be better, has given him the understanding that mistakes are okay.
He knows the perfect mom quite well, we talk about her from time to time and he may have picked up a few of her traits.
Believe me, I carried guilt around that too!
But he knows now that there's a new path and that we can stumble our way towards a healthier life together.
It feels good to be open, honest and free. It feels good to be me.
Lastly, what is required to heal this guilt is to understand that I have anxiety and PTSD that drives my chronic busyness and maladaptive behaviors.
It is a result from trauma.
Which many of us have because of being humans in an unpredictable world and most of our parents didn't have the resources that we have today to help us manage those BIG feelings.
If I knew better, I would do better and the more I know the better I do!
With God's Grace forgiveness is possible, I can have self compassion and with practice I can learn new ways of living that will allow the awareness and presence I so desperately crave and likely so do my children.
Thank you so much for reading.
Love, Brandi Mae