Today was one of those emotional days. You can call it a “Jambalaya Emotional Day”. I was on a roller coaster of emotions ranging from being happy and excited to feeling sad and anxious.
Today is my daughter’s 20th birthday. Other than thinking to myself where did time fly and how all these years went by like a blink of an eye, I was going about my day preparing delicious meals, wrapping presents and just looking forward to her visit.
Suddenly, and amidst my excitement, I was hit by a wave of unexpected thoughts and emotions. In a fraction of a second, I had a flashback on the journey of raising her over the last twenty years. It was not an easy journey and I had to endure many difficult moments to keep the family together. In fact, most of those years were filled with sadness, loneliness, isolation, and unhappy moments. However, I kept it all in for the sake of family unity and to do what is best for my children.
Do you know what I am talking about? I am sure many of you can relate to what I am saying over here? How many of you do the same thing? You feel lonely and unhappy in your relationship, you have a dysfunctional marriage, you have unhealthy communication, you are physically exhausted, emotionally depressed, mentally confused, and spiritually disconnected, yet you put up with all of this for the sake of your children.
You put your children’s happiness first and everything else second. As parents, we have a responsibility towards our children, and of course, the obvious choice in this situation is to raise children by both parents in the same household as one unit. I am not saying there is anything wrong with making such a choice. I certainly have done that for far too many years than I should have to. We make decisions at any given moment in our lives with the awareness and the knowledge that we had at that moment. However, there comes a time where we as parents really need to re-visit the choices that we make and put our children’s needs and well-being first by choosing the best environment to raise them in and that may very well be separate households.
The above thoughts were racing in my head while reviewing the journey of raising my children in an emotionally unsettled household. At the time, I chose to stay in a dysfunctional marriage to keep the family together until it was apparent to me that this choice was not in the best interest of my children’s well-being. So, I had to make another choice, or let us just say I was forced to make another choice, which I paid a dear price for, but it was worth it for my children to become the amazing beings they are today.
That particular thought stopped the flood of memories and brought me back to the present moment. Yes, I may have felt a touch of sadness to watch my life movie pops into my head on her birthday, nevertheless, it made me realize how valuable our relationship with each other as a family. It made me realize that no matter how tough the choices that we must make on a daily basis in life, career, and relationships we have to do what is right which is not always easy and probably there will be a hefty price attached to that choice. More importantly, it made me realize how important it is for parents to keep working towards creating strong, robust relationships with their children and within their families. Non-functional family cultures and patterns need to be broken in order to be rebuilt again and this I can assure you is the responsibility of every parent and the legacy that parents must leave to future generations.
Family dynamics are complicated and no family’s culture, attitude, behavior, and life is the same but what parents can do is to communicate with each other their wants, needs, values, and their parenting style so they can raise children in an emotionally stable environment that is conducive to their well-being. The key to this communication is that both parents are willing to work on their relationship with each other and then on their relationship with their children.
So today, I invite you to examine the relationships that you have in your life and figure out what is working and what is not. If it is working, great. Keep doing more of what you are doing and be even a better person in the relationship. If it is not working, then how are you going to make it work? What do you need to do today to communicate more effectively with your spouse or your child to make that relationship better? Be honest with yourself, no blaming, no shaming, no undermining, no finger pointing, no belittling, and no guilting the other party. Be flexible and open minded to what members of your family will share with you and take a baby step towards a healthier, happier, more content you and family.
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