When the Inner Child Cries
As adults, it’s so easy to get caught up in our lives. The bills, the job, the money, the car, the house, the kids. It’s so easy to lose ourselves in the mundane chores and ugly stressors. We get into the habit of lashing out at anyone who dares interrupt us during a panicky scramble to figure out where the pieces of our puzzled lives need more glue. They may not be mind readers, but how dare someone be unable to see the thoughts on our faces as we try to mentally plan our budgets and schedules. The ones who receive the most backlash for these stressed outbursts from adults are the ones least deserving. The innocent minds that have two jobs: learn and have fun. The children who just want to share the excitement of the life they see often suffer the most when a parent becomes too stressed to pause through the sudden rage.
If you can’t relate to these moments from either perspective, I envy you. As a child, I can recall a few times where grown ups wouldn’t quite hear me. Sometimes they just get lost in their own minds, lost in the ways of the adult that young me had no idea about. Of course, sometimes I needed to be reprimanded or reminded of the correct way to do things. It isn’t always the case though, and unfortunately I am catching glimpses of it from the motherhood perspective.
Anyone who knows me knows I love my daughters with my entire being. My four-year-old is an absolute whirlwind, a ball of energy. She is the most empathetic child I have ever known, and she is intelligent and creative. She is extremely intuitive and if I’m honest, I am 98% certain she can read minds.
My 8-month-old always looks so stoic, but underneath her serious demeanor she is a trickster, a hilarious little bean with a full monologue inside of her head. My girls are so sweet and happy and they are both very well behaved. Why is it that in the last year my communication with my four-year-old consists almost entirely of yelling? Why have I caught myself finally stopping in the middle of reprimanding her because she says “Mommy, you’re just not listening to me.” Why have I lost so much patience that I’ve actually raised my voice at my 8-month-old as she cries because I just want her to be quiet? I have had to take some very long strides backwards to catch myself because I was falling into a very scary habit. As a child I promised myself I would never yell at my children unnecessarily. I would always listen to them, be excited for them, support them, and help them learn. So where did all this anger come from?
If you have read this far and found yourself resonating with any of this, perhaps we are experiencing similar dilemmas. I stopped nourishing my own inner child. I forgot that I ever was a child trying to understand how to live this human experience. I forgot how badly I wanted someone to hear me as a child. I forgot that the best part of having children is teaching them to find themselves and seeing their joy grow. The best part is being excited for them during the smallest things because it’s their first time experiencing the small things. I know it cant always be sunshine and rainbows, but why shouldn’t it MOSTLY be that way?
One of the greatest things my mom ever said was “don’t you remember being a kid and shoving your socks into the couch when you got too comfy to put them in the hamper?” She was a constant reminder to love your inner child. If anyone had a reason to be reactive and angry it was my mom because her childhood wasn’t even close to great. For all the things she let fall to the wayside in her self love and care, she always made sure to nurture her inner child. She gave us the world she always dreamed of, and I cant believe I’ve spent a year of life forgetting to nourish
the childlike wonder in my babies and within me.
The realization of the way I’ve been reacting to my children has been a very rude awakening. I am so lucky to have caught myself when I did because it has shown me the things inside myself that need attention and healing. If I had any advice to give on this topic, it would be to take a look at the things that are affecting your life. What stressors have occurred for you recently? What emotions are you feeling? If you are able, try to open up to someone about your feelings and life events. If you can’t think of any recent stressors, try to show some love to your own inner child. Play a game! Revisit an old hobby. If you have kids, ask them to share a story with you. Find ways to engage with the childlike wonder that exists deep within you.
Sometimes as adults we need to be reminded that life wasn’t always this hectic and stressful. As we grow we take on a lot of responsibility, but we all deserve to feel a bit carefree from time to time. In the midst of the mundane, allow yourself to recall the joy and wonder of childhood. Enjoy every day as if you are experiencing these things for the very first time. Be wild, be wonderous, be free.