Monday, October 1, 2012

Not Like My Mother

Mondays... I got nothing nice to say about Mondays, so I'll say nothing!

I really did read the Kindle edition from my Kindle app
on my iphone. I appreciated this method, it allowed
me to highlight and go back to my (much needed)
highlights and notes easily.

I just finished reading this book (sister recommended), Not Like My Mother: Becoming a sane Parent after Growing up in a Crazy family. I laughed, I teared... I enjoyed the read. Not to take anything away from my mother, she was a good parent. But still... life happens. And not to speak for her, but I'm sure some of her own childhood issues spilled into her parenting decisions and choices she made with us. No matter what the parenting, I'm sure all of us can connect to the moment we felt as children when we thought "when I'm a mom/dad, I'll never___". I often find myself parenting and thinking, "not like my mother did!" or "I won't make my children do that" and "when I have kids, I won't ever___" The book tries to show you that having a plan of what you're NOT going to do isn't a plan at all. And the parent you wanted isn't necessarily the parent your children need. Stop parenting your inner, disappointed child and parent your children based on the lives they are experiencing. Your children were not there with you when you were hurt by something your parents did or didn't do to you. They don't feel the same void or need that you did.The book tries to get you recognize what your childhood disappointments, tragedies, and shames were then detect how they are showing up and expressing themselves in your life today. 
I felt absolutely convicted in reading through this book. There were many "oh no, is that what I'm doing?" moments. It also helped me to acknowledge the growth I have already experienced even before I read this book. In the book there is a chapter on denial and it's stages (minimizing, diversion, anger and refusal). My name must be Tam "Minimizing" Brawner, because that whole section was screaming to me. I am good at empathizing with everyone, but myself. I need to be present with my own feelings and experiences. What happens to me does matter, it counts. I am allowed to be affected. I'd like to think I am getting better with it, but I think I tear-read through this whole section. I felt pain while reading the words, sensing like it was exactly me. Someone will always have it worse than me, that does not make it ok for me to have to go through this situation and disregard the pain it is (was) causing.

"We become so good at protecting ourselves that we don't know how to just be ourselves."

This woman's story of never feeling safe in her home, it wasn't my story. I never recall feeling unsafe, in a physical sense, living with my mother. But the absence of a father, not feeling like I had that protection is absolutely my story. My whole life has been a longing to feel loved and protected by my dad. Every bad life choice I made, was in a search to fill that void. There was nothing my mother could do to change that. After I recognized this void and allowed myself to mourn that experience and  forgive myself for the choices I made because of it, I was able release to grief and sadness that I'd been holding on to. Holding in all that hurt, turned me into one angry, defensive woman. I think I may have hated people for awhile, men especially. I am surprised Mr. Brawner married me! lol, I'd like to think I've experienced a huge bit of growth since we've met. I had "to put my anger and hurt where it belonged- in my history" and realize he was on my side and not out to hurt me. I don't have to be this defensive woman, everything is not a battle. It's ok to relax, put the gloves down and just be Tam. Not Like My Mother, also made me conscious of the growing I still need to do. I realize I am often parenting Kai based on the hurt I felt, not as a child, but as a abused, adult woman. I want her to be expressive of her feelings, not minimize. I'm not sure I allow her the platform or set the example for her to do this. "Why are you crying? That's no reason to cry." It's her pain, however she feels it, she should be able to express it. I don't want her to minimize her experiences. I am still a work in progress (pray for me), but I definitely appreciate the lessons this book taught... I highly recommend this read!

I wish this would have been a book club read because I really want to talk about it with a group, I think it'll make for great discussion. But I don't want to impose too much of my "self help" reading on everyone else. Even though I'm sure we could all benefit from it... *sighs* But!!! BYOB for Straight Talk, No Chaser by Steve Harvey is on the horizons. There is still time to get the read and join in on the discussion. I think I need a refresher, I'm too many books in!

I'll try to come with something a little lighter next time...

That's my peace! Love, Tam


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