Your parenting trigger is an invitation.
Updated: Sep 22, 2021
My old way of being said that my children “push my buttons”.
But we can only point fingers and seek reasons outside ourselves for so long until we see that those triggers point us toward our old wounds. Not to cause us more discomfort, but so we can process pain, integrate aspects of ourselves and move into a new way of being with our kids.
A trigger isn’t a pesky reminder to make us feel bad; it’s an INVITATION.
An invitation to take closer look - ever so compassionately - at our built-in beliefs and default responses.
And an invitation to ask, “Is this really working for me now?”
Answering this question honestly and objectively can be a challenge. We all have inner voices insisting that if we do X, then Y will surely happen. And of course, when we question them, they will double their efforts to convince us to stick to the tried and true and, no matter what, do not change, no, no, no.
One such voice that I’m very familiar with says that, as long as I create order and do everything right, then my life will be more peaceful and joyful. It was a built-in belief I constructed when I was very young to make sense of my circumstances.
It worked pretty well when I was a kid but fell apart when I became a parent. I was one of those people who strived really hard to be a very good parent. Some people even thought I was a model parent because I seemed to have it so together.
But it was only an appearance. Underneath, I was a tangle of nerves from trying to keep everything in line and on schedule. And when things went even slightly off course, you guessed it – my big trigger. I went from zero too a thousand on the tension meter in 2 seconds flat. I flew into busyness. I over-reacted and blamed my kids when any little thing wasn’t how I wanted it. Gulp.
When it finally became unbearable, I had to ask myself that tough question.
And the truth came out – ummm, no, this isn’t working. The more I strived for order, the more the natural messiness and unpredictability of life and parenthood caused me anxiety (the opposite of peace and joy).
This was a monumental discovery.
This trigger actually opened the door for me to gradually calming this hyper-responsible, controlling aspect of myself and making room for becoming more comfortable in the unpredictability and more able to go with the flow.
I’m not saying I’m all done with that. I’ve worked to debunk those false beliefs and lovingly integrate that perfectionist part of me, but it will continue to raise its head from time to time (and I'm ready for it).
What I am saying is that our triggers are healing tools for those willing to lean into them – gently, curiously and self-lovingly.
You know your parenting trigger well, right?.
What’s its invitation to you?