You are currently viewing Episode 97 – When Parenting After Loss is Hard

Episode 97 – When Parenting After Loss is Hard

There’s a  funny thing we do to ourselves as loss parents that I’ve noticed. When parenting gets challenging, or you’re tired or frustrated or find yourself hiding in the pantry hoping to get just a few minutes to yourself….instead of just letting it be what it is, we like to add a layer of guilt on top.

Because you know what it is to lose. And you know what it is to love those living babies so fiercely it hurts. And somehow that all gets mixed up into the belief that you should be forever grateful and never have any uncomfortable emotions.

But that just isn’t true. And it only makes things harder for you.

In today’s episode, I’m going to share everything you need to know to pull yourself up and give yourself a big, tight hug on the days parenting after loss is hard.

It will be such a relief.

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Music by ZingDog on Pond5


Welcome to today’s episode. This month we are talking all about parenting after loss and. I have a little thing I wanna shout out. I just redid my website. I have an amazing new mini course, and it is totally free. All you need to do is go to smooth stones and you will see a button right there to get the free mini course, which is how to stop blaming yourself after loss.

I really don’t know that many lost parents that don’t blame themselves in some way. Even if in your head you’re like, I know it’s not my fault, but it’s still there. That blame and wondering if you could have done something differently or if you did something to cause your loss. I wanna help you. Clean all of that up so that you can lift that weight and that I just refer to it as a heavy backpack, right?

That just holds you down and slows you down on your path to healing and happiness and just living life after loss. It’s hard enough dealing with grief. You don’t need to keep blaming yourselves, so go to smooth zones Right now, or there is a link in the show notes. Get the Stop Blaming Yourself mini course, totally free.

It comes straight to your inbox. You are gonna love it. And I made it really, really bite-sized so you get a small video and a couple of questions to think about each day. It’s so good. All right, let’s talk about when Parenting after Loss is hard. So we have. This whole thing with our children are grieving.

We’re grieving. We’re trying to deal with our children’s grief. That’s not what I’m gonna talk about today. That is gonna happen next week. I have an amazing expert who is coming on to talk all about how to help our children as they grieve. So don’t miss that one. Make sure you are subscribed. But we have some challenges.

So this children grieving and parenting, there is sometimes a baby who’s born after our loss. That brings up a lot of emotions and reminders of what you miss. That can be really hard. And then there’s parenting struggles that have absolutely nothing to do with your loss. Today I wanna focus mostly on this.

Topic, because I see this coming up a lot for people, and I wanna help you feel better and really start finding out what feels good to you, because that is what’s most important, and it’s the thing that we often ignore. Now, if you don’t have any living kids yet, I still want you to listen to today. If you can handle it so that you can be ahead of the game when you do have your own kids, or as you mentor children in other capacities, you might even find that these tips are good for other people in your life.

That you have responsibility for, right? Like maybe employees or or anyone in your life. So first, we’ll talk about what’s happening and then I’ll give you some pointers to help you feel more confident in your parenting and give you some strategies and thoughts to use when things are hard. Now, if you are new here.

Hi, I’m Amy. And let me tell you about my family. I have six living kids ranging in age from preschool to college. So I have been through, I. All of the stages of child development. Many, many times, and I hate to break it to you, but each one is challenging in its own way, and each child is challenging in their own way.

Some are super easy babies and others don’t sleep for two years now. That was. Mostly my experience. Some are the sweetest toddlers and others are into everything, and their favorite word is no. Some easily pick up reading and others sit and cry over their homework for hours, and you can see where I’m going with this.

Now each child has good things too. So many good things, but sometimes it’s hard to see them. So let’s move forward with the assumption that you love your kiddos. We know that, and parenting is hard. You may even have a child that you’re not even sure if you do love them right now, but for sure they’re hard to like.

I get it and it’s okay. Yep. I just said that. It’s okay if you don’t like your child. Now let me tell you why. There are so many things that as parents, we don’t wanna admit or say out loud because we feel so much shame about it. But shame does not ever help you be a better mom, and you probably feel guilty for struggling as a parent to these beautiful kids.

You can feel grateful for your living children and be frustrated with them too. Parenting after loss doesn’t mean you are supposed to be perfect. This belief is a root of most of your problems. Our thoughts create our emotions and our experiences. So if you are thinking that something is wrong with you, you are going to feel terrible and you are gonna show up less than your best.

And it is gonna create a cycle where your kid acts a certain way and then you react to that, and then you feel terrible on top of it all I. And then you aren’t the mom you want to be, and you just keep proving your own thoughts. True. You can only see how hard your child is and how bad you are doing. So I wanna point out a thought error that is occurring here as well.

We have the thought I should be grateful for these kids. Anytime you hear the word should, it’s a red flag, whether you’re saying it about yourself or your children. But if you go a little deeper into this thought, I should be grateful for these kids. What’s really happening is there is a belief that if I were more grateful, I wouldn’t be frustrated with them.

And that’s the thought error. It’s just not true. It’s a version of all or nothing thinking that does not serve you at all. It’s like you have two choices. Be grateful and therefore perfect or not be grateful and therefore have these human reactions. Most lost parents hate it when other people say things like, you should just be grateful for the kids you have and yet, You are doing it to yourself unconsciously, and it is just not useful.

It does not help you to be the mom you want to be. So the first step is realizing that you could be grateful and aware of the miracle of living kids and love them with your whole heart. And also find parenting challenging. That’s how it’s supposed to be. I believe that our children, each one of them is sent to us as an opportunity to learn and grow, and we don’t grow from ease and comfort.

Children are meant to show us all our inadequacies. They bring up our biggest insecurities. They are so much like us sometimes that we’re like two magnets that keep pushing each other apart. You know, you got the, the two negatives together that just will not stick. And because of all this, they give us an opportunity to learn true unconditional love.

That doesn’t mean it’s rainbows and daisies. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to parent and guide these kids. It means when you look at parenting as an opportunity for growth and one of your most meaningful classrooms in this life, the tough stuff gets a little bit easier. So take off that layer of guilt that comes from a false belief.

And everything is going to be lighter, and now you’re just left with potty training, messes talking back, refusing to do chores, the eye rolling, too much screen time, and all the rest of the challenges we face as parents. If you were a parent of a kid with special needs, you have the added things that go with your specific situation, and I think you need extra support in managing that.

It’s so important that you are taking care of your mental health, not as another thing to put on your to-do list, but as the thing that helps you be able to keep working on that list day after day. Here’s the truth. Everything we do is because of how we think it will make us feel. Even parenting. We don’t wanna walk away because we know that will feel awful, right?

We don’t wanna believe that we’re the kind of person who would abandon our children, even if we dream about it on occasion. We want our kids to succeed and we think it’s for their benefit, but actually it’s because we’ll get to feel safe, happy, proud, all the emotions we love, we don’t want our kids to do a lot of things because of how it will make us feel.

Like if they get pulled over for speeding, it’s going to bring up a lot of emotions. I know this sounds really self-centered and you might wanna disagree with me and say, no, Amy, I want Johnny to make the baseball team because it’s his dream. But if you really let this little truth bomb sink in, you’ll see how knowing it will change how you parent for the better.

Because now you can be onto your brain when it really, really wants to control your circumstances, which in this case is your child or your child’s life, your child’s decisions, your child’s behavior. Now, as I write this podcast, I have been using the words hard and challenging to describe parenting, but the next step that will help you.

Is to question the words you’re using right now to describe a situation or a kid. Is it true? What are you making these things mean? There is so much we can clean up if we just start noticing. So how are you describing these challenging things that are going on in your family right now? And I’ll give you a real world example.

It actually happened today. My youngest just went to preschool in his Pikachu pajamas. They are the zip up kind. They have a little hood with a little ears. If you don’t know who Pikachu is, he’s a Pokemon. He’s so cute. Um, He, these pajamas are adorable and they’re soft and comfortable and he loves them, and he always asks to stay in his pajamas like every single day, and I can empathize with him.

I literally have no thoughts about this situation, except that I don’t care if he wears his pajamas to preschool. It’s perfectly fine for what they’re doing today and he’s happy. And I’m happy because I don’t choose to get in power struggles over clothes. But many times you do get into a power struggle or get into a situation because you have thoughts like, well, what will the teachers think?

If I send my kid to school in his pajamas, or he needs to wear this cute outfit I picked out, why is he always fighting me? Why can’t I get him to do what I want? I’m failing. As a mom, a good mom could get her kids into school clothes. Right. A good mom would have kids that, listen, I’m too lenient and he’s gonna turn out super entitled and live in my basement forever, and the list goes on.

Ha. Does any of this sound familiar? Just think about it again. Insert your own struggle right now. Have you thought any of these things about your children and about Y? So under all these thoughts is a river of self-doubt and self-loathing. The I am not enough. Is strong in mothers and it doesn’t have to be there.

Like I wish we could just entirely get rid of it. What my son wears to school means nothing about me and nothing about him unless I add that meaning. So you need to think about where you are adding meaning and be really careful about catastrophizing. Most kids turn out just fine and the ones that don’t, well they are so lucky because they have you to love them.

Guessing what their future is gonna be like because they failed. One class in middle school does not serve you. It makes you parent out of fear and lack. It causes you to put so much pressure on your child to succeed so that you can feel peace. They can fail and you can still feel peace if you are managing your mind.

And as I said before, I’m not advocating to just let your kids do whatever they want, um, just to avoid conflict or whatever it is. I’m just saying there are a lot of things that we label as problems that maybe aren’t. It doesn’t have to be challenging to get my son dressed. I don’t need to label it that most days he wants to stay in his pajamas Some days that’s okay.

Others? Days it isn’t. Cool, cool, cool. Now there are a lot more parenting tools I wanna share with you in the future, but for today we are focusing on when parenting after loss is hard. And so here are a few thoughts I wanna leave you with. Try them on, see how they feel. See how you show up differently when you drop the layers of shame and guilt in all the shoulds, your child doesn’t have to change their behavior so you can feel better.

All you need to do is change how you are thinking. No, my only job is to love them. I am an incredible mother. I am doing a great job. Now, these are the ones that I think if they help you, if you believe them, if they are motivating for you on the days that are hard, use them. If they are not, if you are like, I am not an incredible mother, that doesn’t help me, that makes me feel worse.

Totally fine. Don’t use that one. Right? Pick the ones that resonate for you. But I think sometimes just telling yourself, even in the midst of all the messiness of parenting, just saying, I’m doing such a great job here. Like I’m in it. I’m doing it. This is how it’s supposed to be. Right? It can help you. It can put a little smile on your face.

So here’s another one. I am exactly the mom that my child needs. They don’t need any other mom. They don’t need the Pinterest’s mom. They don’t need like your mom or your mother-in-law or anybody. Your your best friend who you admire. They need you. Parenting is a classroom and I wanna learn all the things.

This one can be really helpful too, to just say, wow, there’s so many opportunities to learn here. It’s, it’s just all part of it. Now my coach, Jody, has a shirt that says, The words world’s okayest mom, and she’s been such an inspiration to me to understand that you’re not supposed to be perfect. You can’t mess up your kids.

You are together in a family, and you’re supposed to love each other and make lots of mistakes and learn to forgive. And sometimes you yell, but you’re gonna say, sorry, after. That is the goal. So stop measuring yourself by a made up yardstick full of beliefs that make you feel terrible. Redefine who you want to be as a parent.

Love those kiddos and love yourself. And on those days when you find yourself locked in the closet, sitting on the floor with tissues and chocolate, just know that this is a part of it and tomorrow’s probably gonna be better. I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby’s debt was somehow your fault?

Go Tostones coaching and get my mini course. How to stop blaming after Loss.

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