By Brandi McGoldrick –
No one can prepare us for parenting. The joy, the pain, its high peaks, low valleys and all of the confusion and chaos in between. When we embark on the beautifully messy adventure of being a mom or dad, we have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. For me, being a parent has been the gateway into consciousness and continues to be every single day.
Parenting rips us wide open. Like the magical and brutal finale of childbirth, parenting tears us apart, breaks us down, and pushes us to our limits. Just when we think we can’t handle another minute of it, we are forced to push through the pain. Somehow, we instinctively manage to not only survive but create a miracle. This is being a parent. I have found parenting to be the ultimate conscious-raising experience. To me, parenting is a journey of important life lessons, with three main truths unveiling themselves to help me live my life from a more conscious perspective.
Truth #1: I cannot control everything.
Parenting is a forced loss of control. As every parent knows, once children arrive, they quickly unravel everything we had a grip on in our life previously. They start by altering our physical bodies as we go through pregnancy, test our ability to function on no sleep as infants, challenge our sanity as toddlers, then as kids physically destroy our homes, and test our confidence as they mature and begin to challenge us to the core. We slowly lose control of even little things in life.
My real-life examples of this loss of control include my five-year-old recently almost stealing Tic Tacs from the grocery store after I told him “no” to buying them. Or, his peeing in my bed, not just the sheets, but deep into the mattress and layers of bedding after an already exhausting night of no sleep. My personal favorite was when he told the lady cutting his hair that she looked old. Wait no, that her facelooked old. We’ve all experienced our own special form of this gritty reality of parenting, and the lack of control we find ourselves feeling in our world as parents.
Our children unravel our mental and physical order, and ultimately leave us nowhere to go but within. Thus, a new dimension arrives and the absolute need to let go and allow life to be what it is. At a certain point, we realize we have to give up the fight and release all hope that we will ever be in total control. Once we allow this, we begin to awaken, and can better understand the deeper meaning of life and the undercurrent pulling us along and holding us together.
Truth #2: My kids are reflections of me, both the light and dark.
Kids are a giant mirror, reflecting back all that we are. My children are the grandest reflection of myself I could ask for – all of my greatness and all of my shadowy darkness. Each time one of my kids trigger a strong negative emotion in me, it is an opportunity to look within and find out what is being reflected back at me. What is it I need to discover, learn and transcend within myself? As I feel positive emotions from my children, I again look within. What is it being reflected back in me that reflects my own greatness? My children help me remember parts of myself that have been forgotten and allow me to embrace the wholeness that is uniquely mine.
My shadow was recently reflected back at me when I saw my daughter’s insane competitiveness playing family games. After finally realizing she could no longer handle losing, she started playing Uno with her stuffed animals instead of us so that she could create the rules and win every game. Conversely, I also saw my loving reflection when my son genuinely told the cashier at Target that he loved her. As her face grew bright red, I felt proud of him and myself, knowing that pure love was in both of us.
Parenting forces us to dig deep inside ourselves for better or worse. It shines a bright and penetrating light into all of our soft, dark, and vulnerable places. It also becomes a space to remember who we really are in our own incredible beauty, strength and glowing light. Thus, parenting becomes an opening, a space to emerge and become our truest whole form, while allowing our kids to become theirs.
Truth #3: My kids are not mini versions of me.
The biggest gift I can give to my children is to allow them to be their own unique expressions, not mini versions of myself. While they are my intense reflections, they are not me. Each of them comes in their own special package, not like anyone else that exists. As a parent, this means allowing them time to just be, time to emerge into their own individual selves and to have a strong voice in our home. That sometimes means not looking or acting the way I would or having different preferences and opinions than mine. It is important to help them develop a deeply rooted sense of self that becomes bulletproof as they go out into the world. To do this, I must remove my own ego and open up space for the emergence of these individualized little souls.
For example, my daughter does not like pink. I do. She also won’t let me do the beautiful girly hairstyle creations I have dreamed up in my head for her. I am okay with this because I want her to be who she is, not who I think she should be. For my children to have their own unique imprint on the world, I must allow them to have personal preferences, even at a young age.
Life is constantly giving us opportunities to awaken, and daily tests of our own consciousness. Parenting can be the deepest portal into consciousness we may ever experience. As is life, parenting is both challenging and exhilarating. Both are at times painful, and other times blissful. Parenting deepens every part of our soul and forces us to let go, work through our egos, our shadows, and explore our greatness. Being a mom or a dad is the greatest gift we can receive as humans for our own evolution on this planet. When we are able to use parenting to work through us as just that, we see the beauty and the holiness of this relationship. Parenting is a constant reminder of who we are, our relationship with ourselves and how we relate to others and the world around us. Our greatest challenge is that we rise up and grow as humans. Not unlike living consciously, parenting consciously doesn’t mean a problem-free existence, it means accepting what is, and using it for our own evolution as we embrace the beautifully messy wholeness of it all.
Brandi McGoldrick is a mom of two and works as Director of Advertising Sales at American Marketing and Publishing, LLC. For 15 years she has mentored and coached thousands of sales professionals to create their own professional and personal success. Her life mission is to help people activate their own personal power, live consciously and to actualize their innate potential.