Parenting is a journey filled with ups and downs, and sometimes, even the most well-intentioned parents can find themselves triggered and struggling to cope. Such was the case for me on my recent flight home from a holiday visiting friends in Spain with my son. In the midst of a crowded airplane, I faced a series of challenging moments that pushed me to reflect on my behaviour, triggers, and the importance of self-care. In this blog post, I share my experience, the lessons I learned, and the steps I am taking to nurture my personal growth.
The Turbulent Flight:
Seated in the middle seat between a stranger at the window and my son at the aisle, I found myself becoming controlling over his use of technology, insisting on a learning activity due to him missing a day of school. As tensions rose, he wanted to buy plane food despite having eaten at the airport, triggering deep-seated emotions around money. I agreed to buy what he was wanting, telling myself that it was his holiday so I should 'lighten up'. In my attempt to cope, I resorted to stonewalling him, and a heated exchange ensued. The guilt and anger I felt in that moment were overwhelming, and I recognized that my behaviour was not aligned with the parent I aspired to be.
Finding Perspective and Seeking Support:
Thankfully, exhaustion took over, and my son fell asleep, providing me with a moment to gather my thoughts and gain perspective. When he woke, I approached him with a genuine desire for connection and change, proposing a deal to speak kindly and respect each other, acknowledging that sometimes things get overwhelming for both of us. This step towards open communication was a crucial turning point.
In the following week, I attended a psychotherapy session, engaged in bodywork with a skilled practitioner, and renewed my herbal remedies to support my central nervous system. These holistic approaches are instrumental in helping me navigate the deep emotional work required for personal growth. Through these sessions, I'm able to regain insight into the nature of such processes, understanding that the path to healing can sometimes feel worse before it gets better. My psychotherapist also reminded me that 'the things that trigger us in others are blind spots we often refuse to see in ourselves!'. Now that's a tough one to swallow....
I also ran my weekly in person outdoor Nia silent disco class. It had been a full week since I'd last danced. Dancing for me is like medicine (natural of course!), when I do it I feel AMAZING, everything feels 'doable'. When I don't everything gets a bit messy. I wonder if you can relate to this? The connection between feeling much better when you get out of your head and into your body?
The Importance of Rest and Self-Care:
During my sessions, my practitioners reminded me of the significance of incorporating rest and self-care into my life, especially when undertaking deep emotional work. My Bodywork therapist drew a parallel between this process and running a marathon, emphasizing that deep rest is necessary for repair and growth. This revelation struck a chord within me, highlighting an area I know fine well I need to take action in but often overlook.
Moving Forward with Understanding:
As I reflect on the events of that flight, I have come to a greater understanding of myself and my actions. Parenting can be challenging, and it's essential to acknowledge our triggers, limitations, and areas for growth. The journey toward becoming the parent we aspire to be is an ongoing one, filled with lessons, self-discovery, and the occasional stumble. However, it is through reflection, seeking support, and prioritizing self-care that we can create positive change within ourselves and our relationships with our children.
The flight home from Spain was undoubtedly a difficult experience, but it served as a catalyst for self-reflection and growth. Through therapy, bodywork, and renewed commitment to self-care, I am embracing the deep work required to become a more understanding and compassionate parent. As I continue on this journey, I am reminded of the importance of rest and self-care, for they are vital components in repairing and nurturing our well-being. By sharing my story, I hope to encourage fellow parents to embark on their own paths of self-discovery and personal growth, knowing that change is possible with patience, support, and a willingness to learn from our experiences.
N.B: The first photo above was from the flight over. Completely different 'vibes'.