The August focus on Instagram has been The Prepared Adult.
This came about as a result of my own experiences going through therapy to resolve some issues I felt were nagging at me. This experience was a mix of difficult, hilarious, painful, enlightening and most of all releasing. It helped me to see myself clearly for the first time in a long time, myself as an individual and myself as I was in relation to other people.
The Prepared Adult
This awareness caused me to understand some of what motivated my parenting decisions and to put them in the context of my experiences of being parented.
It occurred to me that unless I healed my own wounds and freed myself from their chains then I would unintentionally be asking my children to help me carry them. They may not be bound by them in the same way I was but they would be burdened by them.
So what is The Prepared Adult? And how can you prepare yourself? The answer to both of these questions is deeply personal and highly dependent on you and your life experiences.
Where Is This Feeling Coming From?
I found it extremely helpful to ask myself “Where is this feeling coming from?” Any time a feeling felt overwhelming I paused and asked myself that question. when I started asking this question my first answer was only a surface response and I would have to question the answer too.
For example if the house was a mess I’d start feeling stressed and anxious. So I’d ask myself “where is this feeling coming from?” The answer wasn’t “because there’s a mess” so I’d ask again. The answer this time might be “because I wasn’t preparing the environment today” which really means “because I wasn’t controlling the environment.” That lead to a further question “Where does the need for control come from?” And this would lead me to the real source of my anxiety, childhood experiences of being out of control and powerless in a chaotic moment.
I found this very helpful. If you’re trying it remember that it’s important to phrase the question in such a way that doesn’t cause judgement. “Why do you feel like this?” demands a justification. By asking “Where?” you’re simply following the feeling to wherever you need to heal. Keep the phrasing “Where does x, y, z come from?” is a question from an observer and not an accuser.
In answering that question you’re hearing your own hurts.
A Healed Adult
Why is it important to hear these hurts? Well for a start they are part of us, by hearing them we acknowledge they existed and that were still ok.
And secondly, because having children is heart filling and heart breaking at the same time. They will experience a thousand joys, hurts, growths, griefs, successes, failures, celebrations and commiserations.
We need to let their feelings be theirs, we don’t need to overshadow them with our own, to try to protect them because we found those feelings too much, to ignore them because we don’t know how to handle them, to expect them because we need to share them.
If we somewhere within us a child is hurting then the little child in our arms will fill that too.
You Are Enough
I came to Montessori for all the right reasons and a few of the wrong ones. As a former teacher and a child raised in Montessori schools I knew the method was fantastic, but as a parent I was anxious.
I was anxious that I wouldn’t be enough. I felt I needed a guiding principle, a set of rules, a way to keep myself right.
Since taking this reflective journey I have learnt so much about myself and about the true spirit of Montessori.
PS: I had a wonderful, loving childhood and nothing ‘bad’ ever happened to me so none of what I have written is a criticism of my amazing family!