Daily Gratitude with Suzanne
Well hello there! I’m back (for one day only) for today’s gratitude post! How are you today? I’ve missed you!I’ve loved reading everyone’s posts so much – from T’s frolleagues to P’s poignant question and everything in between. I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who has written a gratitude post and kept our practice going.And talking of practice, I’ve found it to be such an important thing to do when we’re making sense or making change. I can’t make sense of things when I’m in constant motion, and I know that there were too many times when Issy was ill that I felt like a gyroscope that defied the laws of physics. All over the place! Daily practices and rituals were one of the ways I calmed myself and slowed the chatter in my mind – walking, listening to ‘thought for the day’ on the radio, being grateful.I have had another ritual since we moved to this house. I get up, feed the cat, and while the kettle boils, look out at my tree. This time is all mine. A time to pause, breathe and consider the day ahead. I ponder my stresses, and try and find a way to deal with them. I reflect on the previous day’s gratitudes, to supercharge them. I remind myself I’m invincible and can do whatever I want to ( even if I don’t really believe it everyday) and I think of those who are special to me. Since Issy has gone to uni, I have a little chat in my head with her every morning in the hope she feels my love from afar.In an attempt to make some physical change happen, I’ve added another ritual in and that’s to start the day with a healthy smoothie. I’ve got one of those blenders that you can pulse by leaning down on the upturned cup, and that’s how I’ve been making them.One day last week, my son came into the kitchen as I was holding down the container and the frozen fruit and almond milk whizzed around.“You’re putting too much pressure on it. You’ll burn out the motor, Mum.”“Sorry?”“You don’t need to hold it down. Twist it slightly and it will stay put and you won’t put so much force through it.”Ok, smartie pants, I thought…but I tried it and lo and behold, my frozen smoothie was made without me having to hold down the container, or even stand near it. I simply set it off and let it do its magic. It worked without me. Jack was right.And it got me thinking…The motor was working so much harder because I was ladling weight and pressure onto it, and that can be the same with our children.There were many times when I forced the metaphorical container when it came to supporting Issy.Holding on too tightly.Thinking I needed to push.Not believing she could do things without my intervention.And it really didn’t help her – the force became unrealistic expectations and a sense of disconnection. But it served a need in me at the time. To believe I was doing all I could to support her and keep her safe.It’s understandable that we do this. We crave certainty in a time of chaos and being on top of everything is a way of finding some stability. We can wonder if we let go, will everything tumble down? Or will we be unable to stop crying? Or we will just run away with the circus? It has to be less stressful than our life.When our child needs our intervention in anything to do with their mental health, the fear we can feel may lead us to settle into patterns of behaviour that don’t deliver the intended outcome and heap pressure and unrealistic expectations on our child.We are so keen to ensure that our child gets better or goes to school or is able to get the support they need, we can turn them into a project and not see the changes in them or in their ability to take charge of things. We can make them feel they’re something to be fixed or managed and not a sentient human being, in need of connection, validation and love. We can stop them from working in the way they should and making progress on their terms.And aside from not helping them, it may not be helping us either.As I stopped forcing the container down into the blender, I realised how tense my hands had been. I was pushing all my weight through the plastic. I’d started it when I moved to frozen fruit, believing I needed to push harder to get the result I wanted. But actually, I didn’t need to. I could trust the machine to do its work without me overloading it with more pressure.And the same was true with Issy. When I partnered her – stepped down, stood beside and travelled together – the pressure was released and progress began.So my Sunday questions to you are, what might you need to stop pushing so hard on? What might you pulling back give your child? And what might it give you? Time? Space? Connection?I hope you find some time for yourself today. To focus on the important work of being YOU… not just Mum or Dad, daughter, son, friend… and all the other roles you have.And I hope you join us in finding 3 or more things that you’re grateful for. It’s not to show that everything is perfect – some of my favourite grats are the hard won ones – it’s to recognise what is good, because that helps build strength and resilience and belief in a better future.And if a better future feels out of reach today, send us a and we’ll wrap you in our special PMH love.Happy Sunday. I’ll see you in the comments later.