Am I bad mom? Probably not, but I sometimes feel like one. And during the course of widow-hood, I definitely made some mistakes.
- Trying to take on too much with your 8 year old child. Too many activities, sports, etc. My daughter was taking Taekwondo (2 classes a day, 3 days a week), competitive gymnastics (2 days a week, 3 hours a day), not to mention birthday parties, tournaments, talent shows, chorus performances, drama club, etc… It was crazy, exhausting for us both, and brutal. In my mind I wanted her to have every opportunity she wanted, and secretly thought that the busier we were, the less the grief would hurt.
- Avoiding other parents…this was for selfish reasons, because it was awkward. But this only proved to isolate my child from time she could be sharing with her friends.
- Never showing weakness nor emotion. This thought does not personify strength, it teaches your child a limited range of emotion because, “monkey see, monkey do,” whether you like it or not you lead by example.
- Dragging your child to therapy or counseling, because they experienced a loss, so they SHOULD need counseling, right? Guess what, that is not necessarily the case. I learned from an excellent child therapist, specializing in grief, that my child, DID NOT, in fact, need to be there.
- Not taking care of yourself. Again, this goes back to taking on too much, and not focusing on what you actually need. Better self care. I learned to employ someone to help clean my house twice a month, someone to cut my lawn because I had never even used a mower before, making time for my friends, and just spending quiet time with a good book.
I had to learn to simplify my life a bit, relax a bit, enjoy my time with my child, and not take everything so seriously. A lesson I have needed to learn over and over, and will probably need to re-learn again soon.
One of the best things I implemented during the early months of grief, “30-second dance party!” I stole the idea from Grey’s Anatomy, where the characters Meredith Grey and Christina Yang would “dance it out” after a bad day at the hospital. With “30-second dance party” we would randomly stop what we were doing, crank up the music, and dance wildly for at least 30 seconds. Feels great to relieve the stress of the day or break the tension in the room. I need to revive it now that she is a teenager…lol. Give it a try!