(A blog carnival is a collection of posts from many different bloggers about a particular topic.)
You all know that I work at two things in my parenting that seem to be in tension with one another: maintaining healthy space for myself and my needs, and being a safe, good, loving, compassionate, and respectful mama for my daughter.
You know that each of these things sometimes makes it hard for me to work on the other one. When I am feeling more need for my own space, I can feel Amy as a hindrance. When I am feeling more like an inadequate mama, I can feel myself as the hindrance to both of us. It’s challenging to keep looking for the necessary, the healthy, balance.
Several of the blogs I read are written by survivors of childhood abuse. I found them, or they found me, because we both write about mental health issues.
Reading some of the things they write sometimes renews both sides of my parenting tension. When one of these survivors reminds readers to “Love your inner child,” or posts a painting of a mama holding a child, and another child standing in a corner, with the caption, “Are you holding or ignoring your inner child?” it reminds me first of all to hear the whiny and defensive inner call for more me time and space as the voice of my inner child, and to respond compassionately*. It reminds me secondly to keep hearing the (sometimes unspoken, despite all her chatter) voice of my daughter calling for more together time and space, and to respond compassionately* to her as well.
It’s when one is not feeling well-loved that one gets insecure, defensive, grumpy, inadequate, and so on. I need to love both of us well — me and her. And I need to drink and eat, more and more, how lavishly the Father loves both of us.
*Compassion doesn’t always mean giving what is requested. But even when the answer is “no,” it can be given lovingly, sympathetically, and respectfully.