by:  Gari Lister

Sad mother and daughterI spoke with a mom yesterday for close to an hour.  She wasn’t asking for help for her children — instead, she was desperate for help for herself.  Why?  Because she was frustrated that she hadn’t been able to accept that her children weren’t loving to her.  She blamed herself — the stress in her home was her fault.  And that’s what we moms do, isn’t it?  We blame ourselves.  We think things like:  I should be okay with his inability to hug me.  I’m selfish for being upset she didn’t even give me a Christmas present.  I should be happy with what I have.

No, no, and NO.  It’s  NOT your fault.  You are NOT crazy.  You do deserve better.  You do deserve children who are grateful and loving.  You do deserve a peaceful and happy home.  In fact you deserve more than that — you deserve your very own fairy tale ending.

THAT is my first rule of self care.  You need to believe you deserve better, and in fact I want you to believe you are not just a good mom, you are a GREAT mom.

So why is your house so stressful?  Why don’t your kids shower you with reminders of how awesome you are?

Because they can’t.  And it’s not your fault, but it’s not their fault either.  Something bad happened to them.  Maybe before you met them at the hands of birth parents or an orphanage or someone else.  Or maybe while you watched helplessly in the hospital as doctors tried to save them.  Regardless, something bad happened – and it hurt them.   Because of that hurt they don’t believe they deserve much of anything.  So they grab, and they demand and they survive by hurting those they are closest to — their moms (and dads too:).

But you know what?  Just like you deserve more, they deserve more too.

Parenting hurt children is one of the hardest and biggest things you can take on.  It is 24 hours a day, and it never ends.  Hurt kids challenge our self esteem, our sense of fun and certainly our inner peace.

But if you can find a way to both parent traumatized children AND follow that first rule – believe in yourself – you will not only survive, you will be AMAZING.  You WILL conquer the world.  And maybe, just maybe, your kids will learn that they’re at least okay.

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