I've found the last week quite hard. It could be the transition from having my partner around every day over Christmas and New year to being alone again with my daughter.
The weather's been wet and we've been home a lot just the two of us. I've struggled to be playful and give my daughter the connection she's longing for. I've easily become frustrated and not been the parent I want to be.
Thankfully, last night she went to her pantomime rehearsal. I hadn't had any listening time for a few days and I recognized that I really needed some.
So I contacted one of my listening partners and arranged to have a call. It was such a relief to have someone connect and pay attention to me for 15 minutes. I was feeling really stuck and looking for where the feelings may be hiding. I thought back to last weekend when we went to London to see my sister. I started to talk about how wonderful it was to hang out with her after not seeing her for 3 and a half years and that was all that was needed for the feelings to come. I began to sob that I missed my sister. I missed the fact that none of my family lived nearby and how isolated and lonely I sometimes felt bringing up my daughter without the love of my family to help.
The day I spent in London with my sister and my daughter was incredibly precious to me. There was no time to feel lonely being filled with love from her and for her and sharing my daughter together.
However, sometimes an experience as wonderful as this can bring other feelings to the surface. I realized it had triggered and reminded me how alone I often felt as a child when I didn't feel connected to my parents. I remember how I longed for many more siblings so that I wouldn't have to feel lonely.
I continued to sob and talk about all of this to my listening partner and she listened with such love and compassion that my ‘cup' began to fill up again. I talked about the love I felt for my daughter and how sad I will be when she leaves home one day. Yes, I know she is not yet even seven but I believe from the moment our children are born it is never too late to begin letting go of them because every day they are growing older and more independent and away from us and into the world. The more I release these feelings the more ready and able I am for this to happen. So I continued to sob.
Soon after the call, my daughter came back from the rehearsal and I was able to give her my loving attention and even be playful with her again. This morning before her next rehearsal we had a beautiful loving connected time. When she went to the rehearsal I spent some quality time hanging out with some other parents in the morning, talking through some plans for a home education group, and in the afternoon I had tea with a neighbor. I no longer feel isolated or lonely.
I realize the loneliness comes from when I was a child and until I've shared those feelings I can feel stuck in the same experience now. However, as soon as I let those feelings be felt and listened to I'm free to create something different. I'm able to create the love and connection that I long for. I am so very grateful to all dear listening partners for helping me on this journey.
If you would like to read more about sharing small amounts of time with other parents to relieve your own stress, you can find the booklet Listening Partnerships for Parents here.