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Emotional Backpack

You’ve embarked on this journey to parent in a conscious, connected way. You hold the space for your child’s feelings - the big ones, the small ones. The easy ones and the difficult ones. But who holds that space for you?

Picture an invisible backpack – this is where your stress gets stored from day to day. Work stress, financial stress, relationship stress, health stress, the endless to-do lists, let’s also add the fact that we’re living in a pand3mic! As we add those little and big things into this backpack it gets full, and heavy.

That backpack has a capacity - everyone’s is different, but they all get full eventually. And what happens when they get full? They spill over – into your mental state, your emotional state, your diet, your sleep, your relationships. They can often spill over into how we interact with our children.

I truly believe that every single parent wants to be the best parent they can be. I also believe that this world and society in general makes it incredibly difficult to be the parent you want to be a lot of the time. So much of the stress in our lives is unavoidable – we have to learn how to manage it.

Every week, at least once, I empty my backpack. I talk to someone who knows how to listen – she doesn’t give advice, she doesn’t interrupt, she doesn’t judge. She holds space for me the way I aim to hold space for my children when they need to unload. I then do the same for her. She is my listening partner, and a huge reason I can be the parent I want to be most of the time.

Listening partnerships are one of the tools used in the Hand in Hand Parenting approach, and a unique one at that. We have a tendency to focus on our children when we consider how we parent, understandably. But it’s so easy to lose sight of our emotional state and capacity.

Listening partnerships provide the opportunity to manage our stress through a good vent, laugh, cry, tantrum or rage. It’s a place you can get to the root of your triggers, and work through them. It’s a place you can take your grief, so it doesn’t feel so heavy. It’s another parent who gets it.

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