One thing is certain: When we’re feeling down on ourselves, it will affect our parenting. We simply cannot be our best self when we are preoccupied with negative, inward-turned thoughts.
No one enjoys living with these kinds of thoughts, and I daresay, no one enjoys living with a person who is constantly tormented by their negative thought life. Therefore, as parents we have extra motivation for dealing with them. Because all the love in the world for our kids cannot overcome a heart weighed down with consuming negative thoughts.
There are many things that can make us feel bad about ourselves: We might feel regret about how we’ve handled relationships or finances or any number of life responsibilities (being grown up is hard!) And a momentary battle with regret or self-doubt is normal. Yet when these thoughts grow to be our ruling disposition, a resulting effect is that of projecting our negativity on the ones nearest to us. Which is oftentimes our kids.
Never has this chain reaction been so clear to me as when I struggled with my weight and body image. I was crazy about my kids, but preoccupied with myself much of the time. Thoughts about what I just ate, or what I was about to eat, (or what someone else was eating) would steal my focus, causing me to turn negatively inward. A diet plan could dominate my thinking, and how well I was doing on it often controlled my mood. And that just isn’t fair to kids.
There is no way around it: When a sense of guilt or shame is ruling you, it is really difficult to react to kids with the love and patience that you want to give them. Instead they often get a short fuse. An irritable mom. Impatience.
Of course I didn’t want to make the connection between my body image struggles and how I parented back then. It was easier to blame my kids or the circumstances of the time. But looking back, it is clear to me that the negative feelings I had about my self was a giant trigger for anger in my parenting.
Feeling bad about my weight? TRIGGER
Feeling inadequate compared to someone else? TRIGGER
And the list goes on…
Maybe your triggers are not related to your diet or body image, yet you recognize a pattern of projecting negative thoughts about yourself onto your kids. If so, I encourage you to take some time for honest self-reflection. Perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Being aware of it is the most important first step. I encourage you to get help where needed, and face up to the challenges.
It is true that sometimes we have a false sense of guilt that we need to overcome through prayer and good counsel. Yet sometimes we just need to tackle an issue and move on. (I have found my disposition can change dramatically after I take the time to just tackle a messy house or organize my finances.) Whatever our thing might be, the best course of action is to take the time to face it. Our peace of mind is worth it.
Our kids are worth it!
Facing the things that drag us down and getting help with it is usually the best way to find peace with yourself. This peace will transfer to everyone in your life.
If you believe that your eating or relationship to food, exercise, or body image is a TRIGGER that impacts your parenting, then I believe you can overcome this, and my book, can help you.
My personal experience overcoming food, body image, and weight obsessions was nothing short of radical. I have so much more joy, peace and grace to extend to those in my life since I overcame my personal hangups. A happy, healthy and free mom is much more able to extend the same to her family and friends.
I encourage you to take some time to do a little soul-searching on this topic, and if you find something that you know is a trigger for parenting less than your best, face it! You may or may not need help, but I do believe you can make a change.
If you do feel that weight issues are a trigger for you, I hope you’ll check out my book. Find it in digital or paperback on Amazon now!
With much Aloha,