This is what my mum said to me the other day. What a lovely thing for any mum to say to her daughter. Yet, it didn’t sit comfortably with me; I didn’t feel any sort of good, warm, pride-like feeling inside.
Now, Mum pops round regularly to see me and the girls after school, she brings chocolate or sweets and we chat and catch up. It’s lovely. The other day she was telling me about her time at her sewing group and there is one lady there who always asked about us and how we are getting on. The girls were there at this time so I guess mum’s answer was tailored to be appropriate to all ears, so she simply said I told her
I’m very proud of you
I just kind of smiled – maybe it was more a grimace – I’m not sure, yet it didn’t feel comfortable hearing that. Eventually I was able to say
It doesn’t feel like something to be proud of
Mum nodded, in an understanding way and at the time the conversation moved on and around to other things – because the girls were there.
Later I reflected on this. When I thought again about mum’s words and what was going on in myself. There’s an awful lot I’m not very proud of.
- I’m not proud that the psychologist in the local CAMHS team told my daughter she is scared of me – because I was having to strong and firm and demanding to get my daughter’s needs met (It didn’t work though).
- I’m not proud of the fact that we are on first name terms with local police, because my daughter runs away so often.
- I’m not proud when I crawl the streets in my car, following my run-away, feeling like some sneaky stalker or a sleazy kerb-crawler.
- I’m not proud that I have to sit on my children when they kick, bite, hit, spit, hiss in the throws of their traumatic fight flight response.
- I’m not proud when I have to man-handle them into the car or tackle them to the floor in the middle of the street or in supermarkets just so I can half restrain half cuddle them to calm them down.
- I’m not proud that my parenting very often feels harsh and restrictive, even though I know it’s what they need and what they can cope with.
- I’m not proud that I swear so much
- I’m not proud of having to be forthright and demanding of other people – like schools, teacher, social workers.
I’ve blogged before about wearing my stroppy hat and in that I said I wear it with pride, and occasionally I do, yet as with our children, there is only so many times I (and many other adopters) can continue to be knocked down without being left with the negative affect of it all.
I have to remind myself daily that there are things I am proud of – like the fact that I do keep them safe, I do advocate for them, separately and us as a family.
In my work I tell people that it’s important that we work on our own thoughts and feelings, that we are kind to ourselves and have positive self talk. It’s very important I practice what I preach! (always easier said than done!!) I do realise that we often spend so much time with our children’s issues we easily forget about ourselves. Self talk is so important to us too. So each day, with renewed vigour I will be trying to find something I have done that I am proud of.
I am proud that we are still together. What about you?