3 Ways Not To Screw Up Your Kids.
You Can Not Raise a Maverick When You Are a Mess
What I truly mean is ‘I' can't raise a Maverick when I'M a mess. Fact!
For the past two years “How To Raise a Maverick” has been my passport into the fascinating and humbling world of “parenting experts.”
Want to know what I've learned from all the tip tricks, guilt trips? Yep, you guessed it. You can't raise a kid with work ethic, grit, and empathy when you as a parent don't have your crap together. OUCH!
After interviewing tons of Ph.D.'s, therapists and authors of all kinds, I finally reached the Holy Grail of Parenting, and to my ugly cry horror, it's a freak'n mirror!!!! ARRRrrr! WHY?!?
All of the experts have confirmed this fact over and over again… “Emily your children are manifesting your unresolved issues.”
Yes, some kids have been born with issues that above and beyond the mirror and I by no means intend to say that those parents are in any way responsible for the massively rainbow of trying times that comes with that.
I am genuinely just talking about this mess of a mom right here writing this blog. I AM A FLIP'N MESS! There I said it!
For example, close to my 40th birthday last year I “remembered” (I put that in quotes 'cause I never really forgot, it was just lost in the VERY thick file in my brain labeled ‘Stupid Stuff I Did as a Teen') I was drugged and raped by someone I thought was a friend. The crucial part of this not so cool story besides waking up with this person against me, my body in pain, I learned the details of what he did to me at school. AT SCHOOL! Everyone knew, but me. Good Lord!!! As if being a homely, loner that had to take special ed classes (yeah dyslexia) the whole world, as far as I was concerned was calling me a whore. Every time I would walk by what they called the senior lounge, where the jocks and cheerleaders glommed together, I could hear the whispers and name calling.
I have and always will take full responsibility for everything that happens in my life. I work every day, and I mean every day, at not wearing the badge of victimhood. This M.O has served me well for the most part. But filing away rape as being my full responsibility was perhaps a bit too much, needless to say.
The reason I'm sharing this rather disturbing story is to magnify the fact that I did not have the mental bandwidth to deal with the trauma until I was 40!!!! WTH!!! All along that one event was part of the crew that helped me make decisions and shape my behavior for 24 years! I have been in therapy, read every self-help book under the sun, done meditation retreats, and chat with God on the reg.
Not once in 24 years did I ever think maybe… just maybe I should take a look at that event and deal with it. Not once!
In my mind, it was just a stupid little mistake that I made as a teen — cue deep cold storage in the dusty corner of my brain.
I talk to women all the time that have has similar memories come flooding back after they have kids. Honestly, my story is very tame compared to theirs.
Now you can easily see how an event like the one I experienced could influence how I raised my daughter, advised my Godkids and talked to my step kids. For better or worse it's part of who I am and how I interpret the world. We all have parts of our lives that have been traumatic in some form or another, and that is just part of living on planet earth that's not the problem. In fact, it's what gives us strength. I was able to travel to 35 countries as a photographer in a year (mostly by myself) because I was hyper-aware of everything that was going on around me. My unknown inner fear of being drugged and raped kept me safe.
We are wired to survive, and our inner Marie Kondo is busy moving those memories that do not spark joy into cold storage. If only we could drop all our mental crap off at Goodwill, but we can't. We can't, we have to deal with it all those messy experiences and upcycle them for the greater good.
All right, now for the practical stuff. Three simple things you can do starting today to make sure your mess is not steering the boat.
1. Journal. I know everyone says to do this, but that's because it WORKS! Get the good the bad and the ugly out of your head and on to paper. I prefer to write by hand when I journal, there is something about those thoughts and ideas coming to life in a physical form that helps my brain feel satisfied that it no longer has to hold on to it. Ohh, and if you have nothing to journal about… great! Keep writing, this is where the magic happens. Ask yourself questions, get to know yourself. Then you can burn your pages. I mean it, take a match to the pages. Not only is it a fun ritual to light the pages on fire, but you also never have to worry about anyone ever reading them…ever!
2. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is your new friend. Find someone in your area that uses NLP in therapy. I loathe wallering in mommy and daddy issues and having to bring up all my stuff from the past. I what I love is pragmatic, actionable steps to make my life better. That is what NLP has been for me. For example, I have to take a TON of supplements because I have Ulcerative Colitis (a story for another day) and for the life of me I just can't make myself take everything I need to stay healthy. It's stupid I know so I saw an NLP therapist so see what deal was. I was blown away! I have never had anyone so quickly get at the root of the problem, and it was WAY more profound than I could have ever imaged. It worked, and I didn't have to waller. 🙂
3. Stop shaking the Magic 8 Ball…your brain needs time for answers to float to the surface. Turn off the Netflix, the audiobooks, the social media scrolling and just be quiet. This is beyond simple, yet so freak'n hard. And dare I say the harder it is, the more likely you are to have some interesting fodder that is trying to make its way to the little viewing window. Let it float up, then write it down and explore it in your journaling.
For all of you Mammas out there doing the best you can. I salute you! If you are anything like me… I knew parenting was going to be hard, but I had no idea it would be hard in all the weird, scary and wild ways it really is. When I look in the mirror, it scares the crap out of me (in more than one way) so just know if you are ‘woke' your reflection is just as messy as mine.
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