Hypnotherapy London – Malminder was asked by BabyWorld to share with parents her advice on how to stop doing everything for the kids. Read the full article below.
Published by BabyWorld online on 8 May 2014.
Today more than ever before, there is pressure to be the perfect mum. To make sure that you give your child the best start in life, the best food, the best education, the best possible upbringing. To always be on hand, remain calm, play and stimulate whilst keeping the perfect home and for some working full time too! Sometimes though, do you wonder if as mums we do too much for our little ones, making them too dependent and leaving ourselves too little time to be the person we were before becoming mums?
Is ‘doing everything’ for your child really the way to go, or is it time to balance out the independence/dependence ratio? What would your life be like if you had more ‘me’ time and more to the point, what would your child’s life be like?
Doing everything for your child and not allowing them to grow and learn to do things independently can mean that your child doesn’t grow up and depends on others to take care of things when they are in adulthood. As a coach I have witnessed first hand the negative effects this has on a child and the mother. The mothers I have coached are scared that they are not doing enough and compensate by doing too much, or they stopped working to raise the kids and have gotten used to their life being only about the children. The adult children I have coached are sometimes paralysed into not taking any action without the parents approval or even worse, are unable to do simple things like making friends or going to events that are outside of the family unit. This can be very unhealthy and have a subsequent negative effect on confidence, character and personality. It usually isn’t this extreme for most families but can be common in some cultures. Getting a different perspective usually helps to identify if you are doing too much for your child and not enough for yourself. Try the following and be curious about what shows up:
Consider exploring life from your child’s point of view:
Stand up, imagine a circle on the ground a few feet in front of you. The circle represents your child. Step into that circle and be your child from head to toe and look back at you (the mother). From the child’s point of view, ask the question: “how does mother ‘doing everything’ for me affect my life experience? “ Step out of the circle and think about the response.
What’s at stake here? What behaviours is your child learning from you?
Consequences of ‘doing everything”
The regrets of motherhood can be very hard to live with. Some of the mums I have coached think back to ‘I wish I did this or knew that then…’ We all have our life lessons, but by considering the negative impact of doing everything for your child you have the chance to change it and thus change your child’s life experience into adulthood. Think about the following…
In 20 years, what kind of relationship do you envision with your adult child?
How do the actions and behaviours of ‘doing everything’ for your child help or hinder that vision?
Making time for yourself. Now what?
Think about what you need to do differently now to avoid doing everything for your child (even if you feel that you want to). What can you do to start living your life again for you? What would you be doing right now if you didn’t have a child – what activities etc? Here are a few suggestions/tips:
Engage with adults who are not necessarily in your local parenting group which will help you to get a different perspective and may go some way to helping you switch off.
Have an overnight stay away from your child. This will not only help you recharge, relax and regain your sense of individual identity but it will also teach your child to engage with others, develop interests and learn independently.
Talk to your child – likelihood is that they want to be more independent. Ask your child what they would like to start doing themselves be that house chores or social events and write down these things so that you can refer back to it when you start slipping into doing everything for them again. Make them responsible for keeping track of it too – perhaps write up your list and pin it to the fridge door.
Try something new just for you. Take up a new language for fun, or like a few of my clients, try pole dancing – something that is totally out of your comfort zone will make it even the more exciting and challenging.
Do something you used to love doing before you had children – maybe this was shopping, horse riding or reading a book or doing yoga. Set time aside to do this again each week/month. This will help you to bring back your sense of identity as a person and will also naturally result in an improved balance of independence/dependence ratio with your child.
Go on a date – enjoy a fun date with your partner and give yourselves the chance to talk about something other than your children and work. Perhaps start a salsa class together?