Updated: Mar 6, 2020
By Sharon Sohor Counselor at Paradise of Reality
Becoming a parent is one of those life transitions that changes everything, and the reality becomes that life will never be as it was... that includes you and how you see and feel about yourself, your relationships, and your situation. Losing yourself through the reshuffling of your new life creates both challenges and opportunities for self discovery and personal growth.
As parents, we can learn useful ways to raise our children, but that doesn't mean that it's easy to feel good about yourself as you parent. There will be days you feel like one big stinky diaper... all you “cook” is pureed food, look in the mirror and wonder if those dark circles will disappear, or worry if those piles of dishes/laundry/projects will ever get done?
"Will I ever feel rested, get to the gym again, socialize with friends?"
You may ask if you can even do all this? Be a good parent, partner, person? Or ever feel like yourself again?
Welcome to the world of parenting...
Parenting TIP: One of the most efficient ways to juggle all of the demands as a parent and still feel like you are capable and successful is to focus on your self esteem.
The parents' self esteem is core to the role of parenting. Healthy self esteem is the ability to care for ourselves and care for others. Parenting takes energy, skill, awareness and acceptance of ourselves. Children need your healthy self. This is how as a parent we can give direction, security, love and support to our family.
Here are 3 ways to help create positive parenting self esteem:
1. Pay attention to your emotions. Many of our actions are driven consciously or unconsciously by our emotions. Fear of making mistakes programs us not to try; fear of being vulnerable makes us withhold our honesty; fear of not knowing keeps us from asking...
It is normal to feel lost, confused, frail, afraid, sad. These emotions will come and go through years of parenting...
And as you experience these unpleasant emotions, it can help to practice the skill of awakening your breath. This can bring forth a sense of confidence and calm. Take a few quiet moments each day for YOU. Stand or sit with your spine lengthened upwards. Place your arms by your sides. Thumbs face outwards and palms to the front. Then inhale deeply and lift your arms slowly over your head until palms touch. Then exhale slowly, feeling the warmth of the breathe as you gently lower your arms back to your sides.
Creating balance and calm can help you peacefully experience life as it unfolds and ease the fears, worries or anxieties of parenting. Each day is a brand new day full of wonder.
2. Listen to your brain. Your thoughts and mind are most powerful in how you perceive yourself and make decisions. Do you notice negative thoughts such as "I just can't do this” or "I’m a terrible mother? father? “ or "I'm so exhausted" or "Nothing I do will make a difference for my child”...
Mental activity like this directly impacts self esteem. Luckily, your awareness of these thoughts can help you to stop them, shift them and allow you to parent with a greater self confidence.
You may want to practice new thinking before reacting. Here are some examples:
”My child never listens” vs “My child didn’t understand what I meant? I will try saying it a different way”
“My partner expects so much of me" vs “I have to have the conversation that I need some breaks too”
The better we feel about ourselves as parents, the better we feel about ourselves in general.
3. Listen to your body. Your body holds your emotions, thoughts and feelings. If they are not released you may experience aches, pains, tightness, and symptoms that need your attention. Creating positive parenting self esteem requires your ability to care for yourself, so plan take that break when you need it. Even if you have to compromise, perhaps get to the gym once a week and not every day for now. Even simple breaks can go a long way to prevent stress build up. Have coffee with a friend, walk ,breathe, talk, and keep moving with your children.
To summarize, by taking the time for yourself and giving yourself attention, you get to know yourself better and know your needs better. When you are synced, so is your parenting. Both of which, contribute to healthy self-esteem. And healthy self esteem will help you naturally begin to find yourself after the inevitable "loosing yourself" that comes with the gift of parenting.
Words from an older parent..
You are only as happy as your happiest child. Hope you can embrace the joys and sorrows, the energy and fatigue, the losses - yet much to gain.
Take good care of yourself and your loved ones.
Create the happy.
Create the curious, the security, the love as you re-create and find your healthy self.
Sharon Sohor MSW RSW
Counselor at Paradise of Reality
If you are struggling with the "loosing and finding yourself" as a parent and could use additional professional help, please contact Sharon for an appointment at (204) 297-6975 or visit www.paradiseofreality.com for more information.