My kids are going through a phase where they seem to want MOM all the time. The fact is they don’t want her all of the time, but the percentage is pretty high and I did state it “seems” like all the time. Like when the first words out of my son’s mouth when he sees me are “where’s Mommy?”. Or, when my daughter tells me she doesn’t want me to read books to her because mommy does it better and she likes her more. There are other cuts along the way, some subtler and some more overt.
Some of you “seasoned” parents, perhaps Dad’s especially, might say this is completely normal and soon will pass (as my wife does) and, that doesn’t lessen the sting in the moment. At 48 yrs old with 2 young kids (5 and 3) I’m seasoned in many ways but this isn’t one of them.
One of the things I am becoming more seasoned around is speaking to the hurt and locating it in my body. I’ve learned the importance of giving voice to the pain I’m experiencing. For me, it’s better than keeping it to myself, inside my own head. I’m fortunate enough to be a part of a community that I can share “hurts” with, things I’m challenged by, and difficulties I’ve faced or am facing.
I’m also getting better at developing my emotional and body awareness so that I can locate where in my body I’m feeling this pain or anger or sadness or joy so that perhaps the next time I feel any of those emotions in that area of my body I can recognize what it is earlier and respond differently than I have in the past. Or, at the least, REACT LESS.
Last night, when again, I was not the parent of choice and was taking the brunt of one of my children’s “brutal” honesty I became reactive, passive aggressive and caused a fight between my wife and I in front of our children. I’m not proud of this fact and don’t really want to share this with you. But, alas, I’ll choose honesty over hiding in hopes that it serves better.
I’m grateful that I have a partner that wants to talk through these things, is compassionate towards me and also not afraid to “shoot it to me straight” when she sees an area in my life I might want to take a closer look at.
“You’re not doing enough, and what you are doing is wrong”. This is much of what parenting is! This from my wise wife, the “preferred” parent.
Those words right there open up an old and deep wound that is still sensitive to the touch. It still hurts and she’s absolutely right, it’s a stark reality of parenting. There are things in everyday life that push up against that wound in me but not much to the extent of parenting and not at quite the risk.
So, I’ll continue to work through this wound and the life experiences that can inflame it by leaning on this MenLiving community, communicating with my wife, and locating and speaking to it’s pain.