Compassionate Self Parenting.

Via on Mar 10, 2012

A Reminder For Those In Need.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

~ Dalai Lama

Dear mama (or papa) who feels so much,

It is wonderful that you connect so deeply with your children. It is beautiful how in tune you can be and how you always strive to make sure your children feel “felt”. It is amazing how you allow them to express their needs and feelings so fully and that you really, really listen. I admire you for always wanting to do better.

And I hurt for you when you cry so bitterly and feel you have failed them. I wish I could take away the guilt and sadness you feel.

You examine every word you said and worry that although you love your children completely, perhaps they don’t experience it that way. You fear the future. You fear the culmination of all your wrong moves will result in your children bemoaning their childhood in the therapist’s chair. You fear your children will never learn to love each other, to be kind, to be compassionate.

I wish you could truly see how much you have done that is wonderful. But what you have done “wrong” clouds your vision. What you remember is your anger, your impatience, your resentment. But what you forget are all the beautiful moments that add up to happiness.

They will remember the patient hands that buttoned up their sweaters and the smell of the oatmeal you made for breakfast. They will remember how you dried their tears when they fell at the park and held them close when they were scared of witches in their bedroom. They will remember the necklaces that you never took off, one with each of their initials. They will remember the feel of curling up with you under soft, white blankets, telling stories by flashlight. They will remember how you painted their toenails and dressed up for Halloween with them. They will remember how they could make you laugh so hard you cried.

Maybe they will remember how you yelled sometimes. Maybe they will remember you were impatient. But more importantly, they will remember you acknowledged that they were scared when that happened and that you apologized afterwards. They may remember your tears of frustration, but more importantly they will remember how you whispered in their ear each night the things that made you love them on that day.

Dear mama (or papa) who feels so much, it can be a blessing and a curse to feel as much as you do. Be as kind and compassionate to yourself as you are to your children. Of all the things you are trying to teach them, of utmost importance is showing them how you forgive yourself when you make a mistake.

Your children love you.
You are always doing the best you can in every moment.
Take that in.
Believe it.

Originally posted on The Twin Coach
Prepared for elephant by Lorin Arnold / Editor: Andrea B.

About Gina Osher

Gina Osher, the daughter of world-wandering hippies, is a former holistic healer turned parenting coach and mother of boy/girl twins. She is also the author of the blog, The Twin Coach in which she offers advice, bares her soul, works though her imperfect parenting moments and continues on her journey to be a more joyful parent. Gina is dedicated to helping others find both a deeper understanding of themselves and a stronger connection to the children they love.

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21 Responses to “Compassionate Self Parenting.”

  1. As someone who lost my mom as a teenager I can attest to the fact that your kids will love you, even if you aren't perfect. I would give anything to have my mom back. Anything. I only remember her best qualities, her special moments with me. Such a true piece, Gina.

  2. Rachel P says:

    Thanks for writing such an amazing article that very parent can use on those hard days we all experience! As the mom of an right month old, when he teeths or has a rough day, everyone says poor baby. But poor mommy too, those days tear me up inside. I hate when he cries and I can’t soothe him, experiences pain or gets really frustrated in his development, and believe me I have bad days on a lot of these days too! Almost no one says poor mommy, you are doing everything you can, and our little one won’t blame you down the road for not being able to stop his cries every time.

    I am going to bookmark this article for those days in the future…

  3. perilsofdivorcedpauline says:

    Beautiful piece, Gina! We all need to be reminded to cut ourselves some slack.

  4. I just absolutely love this. It’s so brilliant yet simple. It could equally apply to teachers, spouses, caregivers, humanity. I think it’s important for kids to have imperfect parents (and boy did my kids hit the jackpot). Hopefully the lessons they learn from my mistakes and apologies will serve them well. And, like you said, I remember all of those little moments from my own childhood. Can’t wait for your next piece.

    • I totally agree with you, Susanna. Imperfection is a good thing for children to experience as long as attempts at repair are made sincerely. I"m so glad to know you remember those little happy moments from your own childhood. :) Thanks for your note!
      -Gina

  5. Missy says:

    That is such a kind, thoughtful letter to parents – most of whom can really use those words of encouragement and compassion. I feel better knowing that my kids will remember the bigger picture and not the small amount of times I lost my patience.

  6. A beautiful, heartfelt piece, Gina. I so agree, we need to stop beating ourselves up. We're doing the best we can.

  7. This is so potent and so beautiful! We beat ourselves up all the time as parents and it's so hard to move past it. I'm definitely going to share this piece!

  8. Leslie says:

    Absolutely beautiful. I love this message of compassion. Thank you, Gina, for your kind words to me and mommas everywhere. xo

  9. They will remember what stands out the most, and bad moments are just that: moments.

  10. Cathy Welch says:

    something it is good to hear even many years later when the nest is empty

  11. Paola says:

    Thank you so much for this post, I really needed this.

  12. This is one of my favorite posts, Gina. The letter is a great reminder of the need for self-love, -compassion, and -forgiveness. And I hope after reading this (probably many times), that I get to a point where I always believe it, internalize it, and practice it. I can't even begin to imagine the positive trickle down effects it will have on all my relationships, as well as the important message it is sending to my son about not being self-critical. Thanks for your wise words.

    • Thank you so much, Sarah. Even though I wrote this post I, too, need to read it over and over. It can be hard to break old habits. But, as you say, the positive trickle down effects of reframing our thoughts are unlimited! Thank you for your note!
      -Gina

  13. Jenny says:

    This is very nice to read, particularly during a time of massive upheaval (both positive and negative) in our family.

  14. Beautiful Gina! I had a sad moment just yesterday when I recalled all the beautiful times we’ve had as a young family. Our first house where she learned to swim. We’d watch the baby birds hatch in nest on our porches. And of course the years of nursing!!! What made me said was that at 2.5, she may not remember those tender moments and countless hours at my safe breast. I’ve been lucky enough to hear the Dalai Lama speak on compassion, even on the compassion of mothers milk. One person asked, what is the one thing you can advise us as compassionate parents? He laughed his Kermit the frog laugh and said…”I don’t know! I’m a monk with no kids!” lol

    • LOL. That's so funny about the Dalai Lama, Brooke. :) As for the rest of our note, I have similar feelings about moments with my children where I experience that sadness when I realize they will forget particular moments. It is helpful for me to remember that it is these collective moments that do add up for them to happiness or a sense of being loved. On a more practical note, I have noticed that when we spend time together looking at photos and talking about particular days/happenings that my children have much better recall.
      Thank you so much for your note!
      -Gina

  15. [...] a mess for themselves. The same can be said for you. When they do, it’s not your problem. It doesn’t mean you were a bad parent. It doesn’t mean that they are bad people. We all make mistakes. We all create messes and [...]

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