I read an article a couple of years ago about women who want to run away from their lives. Particularly women with children.
I was thinking about this the other day and about how it's hard to talk openly about some of our thoughts and feelings as a parent. We might fear being judged or worry that people will think we're a bad parent. And we might feel shame if we are already judging ourselves.
These types of thoughts are common
But many parents have thoughts like this or feel that it's all too much sometimes. It's really common. It doesn't mean that we don't love our children. It just means that we're human and sometimes our lives feel really hard.
Because parenting can be tough. Not just the parenting itself but the lack of sleep, the limitations on what we can do or the change in how we (or other people) see us. Just to give a few examples.
This is why it's important to normalise the more challenging thoughts and feelings that we have as parents. The thoughts about wanting to run away or feeling longing for our lives before children.
And it is crucial that we show ourselves compassion and kindness when these thoughts and feelings do come up. It can also be important to remember that they are just thoughts. And that thoughts can affect how we feel (and vice versa). But these thoughts only have the amount of power that we choose to give them.
Changing how these thoughts make us feel
We can choose to change how we're thinking about these thoughts and the amount we focus on them. By doing this, we can change how these thoughts make us feel and take some of the "charge" (negative feelings) out of them. Being kind to ourselves (instead of, for example, telling ourselves that we're the worst parent) can be a really important part of changing how we are thinking and feeling.
Not everyone will have made a conscious choice to have a child. But for those of us who chose to become parents, we often don't go into it thinking "Hey, let's have a kid so I can undergo a daily endurance test and feel miserable."
Getting support when these thoughts take over
When we feel this way about parenting, sometimes it is a passing feeling when things feel really difficult. But if we start to feel this way on a regular basis, it is important to start thinking about how we can get our needs met.
We might also need some support to shift how we are thinking about parenting (and what aspects of parenting we're choosing to focus on). And it's incredible how having our needs met and shifting our thinking and focus can help us to feel happier, lighter and like things are a bit easier.
How I can support you
I offer support to parents because I want all of us, our families and the people around us to benefit from us feeling happier and enjoying parenting more. This includes support to shift how you are thinking and get your needs met. Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel like you want to run away and feel like it's time to make a change.