So what brought you here today? What are you looking for?
Want to parent better? Kids don’t take care of themselves? They aren’t responsible? Accountable for their actions? They are disobedient?
They don’t realize our loving motives? If they do, they will be able to find more pleasure in life. If they …they will have more freedoms, they will have spending power, they will have decision making ability, they will be present in their life, able to connect with others and with their own personal journey, they will. You name it. They will find the shortest, most direct route to their brilliance and resources to achieve what they were designed to do – service in any form. Is this so much to ask? Wink.
How can we help them see? By starting with Me. Do this generosity for ourselves. How many times do we point outside of Me to find a place of control for Me? Even to the small about packing lunch – as if forced to pack our children’s lunch, we point out.
Drifting down, how many times does our child complain of what we put in their lunch? What would happen if they packed it for themselves? What would happen if they ate what they packed? Oh, just junk. …Who purchased the junk food? Where did it come from? It swirls on. This reminds me of the musical, “Into the Woods.” “It’s her fault! It’s your fault.!”…
But here’s the anchor. We are free. We are free caregivers.
Freedom is like a lovely package wrapped in the most exquisite paper, tied with a bow so lovely that we know it came from God. It is sitting in front of us. Like all real gifts, the gift of freedom is free. It has nothing to do with my bank. It came because of the Giver, not because of the merit of the recipient – Me.
Me, that is to say any one of us, cannot unearn the gift either. Freedom is like that gift that keeps reappearing no matter how we try to get away from it. Does it become a curse? We are free to make it one because even if we don’t claim it, even if we don’t choose to be accountable to our decisions, it doesn’t change that we are. And when we are finally able to look in, with insight, and have knowledge – we are accountable to what we see.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
“therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. …but now mine eye seeth thee.”
Does the gift, freedom, turn into a curse?
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Every person who grows in knowledge and understanding at some point hopefully says that they grow also in understanding how little they know and have yet to learn. This is what comfort we have in knowing that in the eternity of forever that comes ahead after this life, we won’t run out of things to do.
We all talk as if we know more than we know, with pride and forgotten humility. I want to turn this over, but repentance in this case cannot be as implied – once and for all. It is recurrent at best and I surrender the frequency and my degrees of insight to God and you. Feel free to take Me gently along with you on our travels. I hope our kids will be that good to Me when given the opportunity. I have no doubt, they hope the same of us. But you can see, it starts with Me.
What is a true friend? It is one who loves. Starting with Me. What is parenting better? It is giving to yourself what you want your kids to have.
The Stoic, Seneca the Elder, wrote,
“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.” That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.
(And here I thought I was the one who came up with, “Friend to Yourself!!!!” Oh nasty tumble.)
This is what it is; hard, easy, soft and difficult. Having each other to help Me be friendlier to myself is a big advantage. You are so valuable to Me. Knock Me down and catch Me – whatever pride and forgotten humility leave Me needing. Thank you.
Question? How does being a friend to yourself improve your parenting or caregiving of others? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Be as good to yourself as you want your loved ones to be to themselves. Be a friend to yourself.
- Caregiver Burnout (kristycaremanager.wordpress.com)
- Stoicism to The Rescue (middleclassrunner.com)
- Giving and Getting (mommymanders.com)
- Stoicism 101 (fourhourworkweek.com)
- You are the Best Gift (FriendtoYourself.com)
This is a lovely and wise post and feels relevant to and useful for so many people I know. I am happily passing it along. Thank you!
thank u much coach iris. keep talking.
Well, “keep talking” keep talking is an invitation I can’t easily resist!
My four kids are all grown now..from 23 to 43. When my older three were young and we went through a great deal of tragedy and loss, I did all I could to keep things together for my family, as a young widowed parent. Depression was a constant companion, tricked into submission at times by busyness running my non-profit agency and taking care of my family. When my kids no longer wanted to participate in family therapy and were adamant about it and therefore, not getting much out of it, I knew that taking care of myself was probably the most important thing I could do for them, as an example to them and in order to be able to continue to do right by them. As adolescents in particular, they did not understand it. Of course, for most adolescents, the world revolves around their needs in their minds. Slowly, very slowly, as they now go through their own trials, the older ones are beginning to understand, but for a long while they did not.
I love your blog!
laughing. i am so glad coach iris. the invitation stays open with joy. thank u for the strokes. dang though, we all need them! keep talking. 😉
This will date me. As I said, I can’t resist a request to keep talking. My mother always said, “”You were vaccinated with a victrola needle, Iris”. For those of you who don’t know what a victrola is, it was another term for phonograph or record player. Come to think of it, younger folks won’t know what they are either! She couldn’t very well say I was vaccinated with an mp3 player. That would not have made sense.
Still, I can’t emphasize enough how much I agree that self-care for parents, whether or not they have any significant issues of their own or diagnoses, is a key to having the strength and energy to parent.
“self-care for parents, …is a key to having the strength and energy to parent.” i’m dancing around the room right now 🙂
laughing. u r not so ancient. thx for the smiles.
My 2 are 30ish now. Gave up with heartfelt advice long time ago and they always knew I was right. It is sad that each generation is unreceptive of the wisdom of their elders and must learn the hard way. I suppose that’s why wars continue. Does anyone really win a war? Now I live to do the right thing in sensible ways by being a friend to my self and exercising better judgment and it seems my example may be rubbing off and they ask for advice now. Sooner or later they have to get sick and tired or doing the same thing over and over and not getting successful results.
standing w u while u wait
My two are 40ish and they do come to me, talk with me, share with me their problems but my experiences throughout the years I have been mentally ill – with medication and doctors and therapists – have scared them so much that, no matter how stressed or depressed they are, they refuse to even consider measures to take care of their own brain health. They are impressed with how well I have done becoming a friend to myself with this blog site but they have already said that they would never get involved with it. I can only pray that one day they will see the light that comes from taking care of Me and follow it toward their own healing. It’s hard, though, to just sit and watch…and wait. You think parenting little ones is difficult…Oh, to be back to the packing lunch stage of their lives!
laughing. i’m sure u r right.
but what helps u take care of your own stuff and not theirs when those r your options but not what u want?
I’m afraid that I’m not very good at this. Getting away, for me, is good but my kids are always only a phone call away – and they (and I, I have to admit) use it all too often even when we are all the way across the country. It’s so hard for me to say “no” to anyone but saying it to my kids has been impossible…and very likely damaging to both them and me. It’s a lesson I have yet to learn.
u r a pillar in all our lives nance. do it.
I remember packing lunches so well… I miss those days! My 21 yr-old and I are good friends now. We talk every Monday night and she shares with me a lot of was it going on in her life. It is a joy to hear her voice. She is happy with me taking care of myself as well as I do now, and it gives her peace of mind.
My 19 yr-old hasn’t spoken to me in almost a year, he still a teenager… but he is the one who has Asperger. The good thing about him not talking to me is that he is aware now that he is an individual with rights to make his own choices. I found out through my daughter that he believes I ask too many questions on the phone and that annoys him. So his solution to his problem is not to talk to me… Now all I have to do is wait for the time for him to come around, and it shouldn’t be long now. I am so proud of him and how fast he learns.
this is lovely marie. u r so present w the pain and positive of these circumstances that so many of us share. thank u for talking
I could ramble on for hours here … suffice to say your post is 100% in line with what I am working on with my therapist 🙂 Thanks Doc.
good to hear cin. thank u for telling us about that. i didn’t know. takes a hunk of courage to do what u do. keep on.