I was in pregnancy yoga the other day (similar to regular yoga-I imagine-but with more big t-shirts and birth poses and less lycra crop tops and downward dogs).* Anyway the teacher was encouraging us to breathe out wherever there was tension in our muscles. Actually, very good advice-similar to that of my womens physio. But I remember thinking, everywhere feels tense; my back, my shoulders, my head, my pelvic floor-where do I start?
Tension it seems has a helpful way of making itself known, regardless of how much you try and put it to the back of your mind.
* N.B. I look for a hilarious GIF but they were all of super toned mamas-to-be wearing lycra crop tops and doing crazy moves-so not at all appropriate!!
Tension finds its way into every crook and cranny of our lives, and our beings. Tensions about our health, our careers, our families and our looks-and if you are like me you try and push it down and forget about it and then hopefully it will just disappear. Except it doesn’t it resides in our muscles making them tense, and our skin causing it to blotch or dry up, in our guts resulting in pain and unease. It finds a home and makes itself known.
Sometimes the acknowledgement and breathing techniques can literally undo the knot and offer freedom. Sometimes it takes more, it takes processing the issue, the tension…
I find this currently with my ideas of parenting. I want to be this chilled, fun, adventurous mum.
Reality paints a different picture with tiredness, anxiety over other peoples opinions of me, and irrational concerns over am I raising a likeable child?
My daughter is confident, courageous and fiercely independent (at times…she also has her overly sensitive, shy and clingy moments) but generally she is pretty much at ease. All the things I wanted for her, her name is about strength, courage and conviction.
But with that part of her we also get aggression and a strong will. She doesn’t know how to cope with the tension in her body when something doesn’t go her way, or doesn’t seem fair to her. I see a physical change in her, and I relate because I would say until the last 5/7 years I also had those moments. Where I would rather physically get it out of my system than talk it out or calm down. At the start of my marriage I started to acknowledge that I needed to get a handle on my emotions and how to handle them.
My daughter is 2, her understanding of her feelings is limited. Her world mainly revolves around park, snack, stories, her friends, if there are cats in our garden, cbeebies, and nursery-with bubbles, cake and giraffes thrown in for good measure.
In the moments where she loses her temper, or is feeling all the feels (aggression and affection are closely linked for her)-she goes to grab, push, stamp her feet, flail and scratch and pinch. I cringe with embarrassment and try and physically wrestle her away and into a time out. Which incidentally she usually enjoys, and appreciates the space.
Though when your child starts singing gleefully from time out, you feel like something isn’t quite right?!
Anyway then I watched this vlog from Lulastic and the hippy shake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTOzGF64oDE
Anyway I was challenged about the way I deal with my daughters aggression-I mean she is only 2 like I said-so conversations about redirecting her aggression against global economic injustice might not be fully engaged with on her part…yet!
However it made sense to me to not just to suppress her sense of defiance, and instead trying to redirect it.
I want our daughter to speak out when something doesn’t seem right, I would just rather she didn’t try and remove her friend forcibly from the climbing frame by pulling their hair when she feels they’ve taken too long!
Hear me clearly (if you can through my rambling) I am not endorsing her aggression in any way but neither do I think aggression is always evil/bad-which when you look at GIFs on wild toddlers, some pretty disturbing things come up (always nice to be reminded of the sight of Chuckie after 20 years)
That spirit of rebellion, of wildness she has-I reckon that could be a gift in her future. If it doesn’t break us first?
But rather than being tense about how every playdate goes, or how nursery is panning out-I want to understand her better (and also myself) and try and work out and model healthy approaches to determination and wilfulness.
I don’t want her to feel tension that she is wrong in her nature, that she needs to change to fit into other peoples perception of how she should be.
I want her to stand up for others and, at times where necessary stand up to others. I want to show her confidence is something to be embraced and not embarrassed of.
Little one-you got this!