I get it. Parenting hurts–deeply. Being a parent feels real and often overwhelming. Motherhood is already a huge challenge, but when we add on our own sensitive nature and tendency to feel everything in both our lives and our children’s, we easily get lost and end up suffering. The result is exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and a lack of presence when we are with our kids.
I have always feared motherhood. As a mom, I have so many important decisions to make. Decisions that could greatly impact my child’s sense of self. Decisions I may regret in 10 years. There is no way of knowing if I am doing it right. We need to make a choice to the best of our ability and then let it go. (We need to especially let go of believing there is a correct way to begin with!) Perhaps, this is how we get stronger.
I haven’t been doing so good with the last part.
In all honesty, I tend to beat myself up way too much when it comes to the choices I make for my kids.
Whether it is choosing the best school, explaining why we can’t tell strangers their tummies are enormous, or disciplining about bedtime rules. I tend to overanalyze and judge every issue concerning my kids to the point of exhaustion.
Sometimes I think, who am I to tell our kids everything is OK and they are safe when I feel overly stimulated and uncertain? I go down the dark tunnel of considering every negative possible outcome. I get emotional about something I have no way of changing. I feel so attuned to my kids that it is agonizing to know they are in pain or scared about something.
For years, I thought there was something wrong with me. Even before I became a parent, I was always sensitive toward my loved ones. So sensitive I would internalize whatever they were experiencing and carry it on my own shoulders. It wasn’t healthy, but it was how I used to deal with all the big emotions I was feeling.
Fast forward to now, my sensitivity has tripled with the birth of my children. However, I no longer wonder what is wrong with me.
I know I am a highly sensitive person. If you ever thought this was just an excuse, think again, being highly sensitive is a legitimate trait.
Being highly sensitive is a fact–it has been studied by scientists for years. Dr. Elaine Aron author of the Highly Sensitive Person notes that this is an innate trait discovered in 20% of the population. You can take her HSP quiz online if you’re curious.
To answer the question if something is wrong with you for getting so worked up about your parenting decisions, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, you were born this way. The good news is when you have this awareness about yourself, you can accept yourself and your children with so much grace.
With this knowledge, we can learn to manage our household in a way that best supports us and our children rather than stay on a rollercoaster of emotion.
Nurture yourself the way that you nurture your kids. You need it, mama, and you are the only one who can do it. Start to notice where you can make small changes for yourself. Like five minutes of quiet time or setting stronger boundaries with loved ones. Calm your nervous system down daily with some sort of ritual, exercise, or journal. Release the misconception that there is a right or a wrong way to parent. Bring awareness to the times you feel overwhelmed and anxious by following the trail and digging deeper within yourself. Ask questions, try new things, say no to people more often, and love yourself as deeply as you love your children.
These have been life-changing tools for me to support myself. I believe wholeheartedly that once we accept and nurture our sensitive nature, we can support our children to face anything that comes their way. We will always feel deeply when it comes to our children, it may hurt, but you can and will get through it. You are not alone, sensitive mama.