As I continued to lay next to my 9 yr old daughter, wiping her tears as they fell slowly from her eyes, listen as her post cry breathing started to regulate and her body start to soften, I realised more so than ever before, the importance of holding space. Surrendering to the demands of my day and being there wholeheartedly, tenderly and unconditionally.
We had been laying together for 40mins. It’s just how long it took. To resolve and release what had been going on for her that day.
“I really don’t know what I would do without you Mum. If I couldn’t come home and talk with you about the stuff that happens sometimes, I would have to keep it all tangled up inside me because no one listens like you do.”
As I continued to lay next to my 9 yr old daughter, wiping her tears as they fell slowly from her eyes, listen as her post cry breathing started to regulate and her body start to soften, I realised more so than ever before, the importance of holding space. Surrendering to the demands of my day and being there wholeheartedly, tenderly and unconditionally. I never really do much. I’m just all hers in that moment. I control my urge to fill any periods of silence or solve her challenges. I’m just there.
Over the past three years moving interstate, completely renovating our new home and returning to study has meant I have had to carefully manage my time and my emotions.
One of the categories I have chosen to limit my time in, is the ‘time spent volunteering at my children’s school’ category. I haven’t volunteered, they catch the bus to and from school and I have attended a limited number of sports carnivals, excursions and assembly’s.
My main focus during this incredibly intense time was to ensure my children’s emotional needs were being met. I wanted to be certain that I had enough left in my cup to give them when they needed to talk to me and it would be received with an open heart, tenderness, compassion and understanding.
Leading with our hearts and providing tenderness and understanding can often be the most difficult when our backs are against the wall. We tend to manage the physical nature of the working week but when it comes to giving the softer side of us, it flows a little less easily when we’re at capacity.
There were many stages of this chapter where I was on my knees begging for mercy. Questioning what the hell we’ve done, wracked with guilt over all the things I think I ‘should’ be doing with or for my kids and on the shower floor bawling my eyes out to release the incredible pressure that so often built up inside.
One thing I know for sure is that we simply can’t be everything to our kids all of the time. It’s unrealistic, unreasonable and impossible. When we honour this within ourselves, it gives them permission to release the same pressure valve within themselves when needed and to know that as human’s we have limits. Limits that deserve respect and nourishment.
They learn to categorise and prioritise the things that mean the most to them in their lives and to follow through on getting their needs met.
The importance of giving a shit enough to sacrifice time for them to empty out without judgement or the need to fix, must never be underestimated and doesn’t require a degree. Research shows that enabling them to share openly what’s going on for them and for them to know that whilst you may not be able to resolve the situation, you care enough to take the time to be there whilst they process it and unpack it for themselves, is one of the most important factors needed within a parent child relationship for the mental and emotional wellbeing of that child. Holding judgement free space goes a long way towards nourishing the relationship your child has with themselves and the one you share with them.