March 8th, 2020 was the first day of quarantine in Connecticut, and we just passed the one year mark of the pandemic, what a ride it has been and continues to be.
I am thankful for my family’s health and well-being during this time, my husband is a first responder and his job has kept us on the edge of our seat since COVID-19 made its way into our lives and stole our sense of security and comfort.
Parenting during the pandemic opened my eyes and brought me closer to my daughters, broadened my horizons, exposed my childhood traumas that I have tried to suppress, led to a diagnosis, and set me on the path of healing and self-discovery; I have chosen to break the generational cycle of hurt and live my life with purpose while raising mindful and kind humans.
I wouldn’t classify myself as an introvert although I prefer being home, but that didn’t keep me from exploring with my little ones. Venturing outside these four walls kept me sane and helped my daughters burn off energy, it’s was a win for us all. However, the ability to roam freely was taken when our health and those of others were put on the line. I, like many individuals were upset, frustrated, and confused, but I had two choices: fight it and waste my time and energy being angry at the world, or accept what is happening and make it work, I chose the latter.
Quarantine led to endless loads of laundry, extra dishes, toy explosion that tripled in size, skipped naps, extra snacks, crying in the bathroom, double the tantrums, and the motivation to get shit under control. I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to live my life, and the uncertainty of when it will end pushed me to make a change.
April 22nd 2020, I woke up and chose purpose.
The night before, I laid awake in bed anxious and worried about my husbands safety and how I was going to keep going. I felt drained and burnt out, I had low self-esteem and the quarantine was adding to my stress and binge eating, I knew I had to make a change and be a better person not just for myself but for my daughters. I pulled out my phone and turned on night mode as I tapped away on the screen and set my intentions for the next month, I knew short-term goals were necessary if I wanted to see long term progress.
I started my morning with a workout from a fitness app I previously downloaded, it gave me the extra boost I needed to complete my daily tasks and allowed me to sneak in some “me time.” After a month, I noticed a significant mental change and this lit a fire under me to throw those joggers on and workout each morning, but that wasn’t enough. I purged our kitchen and replaced our foods with dairy free, gut-friendly superfoods, fruits and veggies, and a few treats cause life is short. These two changes led to a domino effect of self growth, accountability, and joy.
Physically I was feeling better than I had in a while, I cant tell you exactly how long but I was proud of my body for sticking through those tough workouts and replacing my sadness with happy endorphins. But, I was struggling with my mental health as well. Parenting two daughters brought out all the pain, fear, anger, and hollow feelings from my childhood that I tucked away in the back of my brain all of these years.
It’s normal to get annoyed with your children, they tend to push our buttons even the ones we didn’t know we had (unintentionally of course, children are trying understand the world and their emotions and that comes with its struggles), but those little moments add up and can mentally effect your little ones. If you are easily triggered by your child’s crying, whining, or even voicing their feelings, then your inner child may be hurt and needs healing because that is not normal behavior.
I was triggered by everything, I felt like the walls were closing in and I forgot how to sleep. Night terrors kept me from closing my eyes, I was always on edge, and very hypervigilant, I could not relax and I had this hollow feeling in my chest that would not go away. This wasn’t me. Something was wrong.
I don’t remember much of my childhood, I suppressed most of it with the exception of core memories. Parenting during the pandemic exposed wounds and traumas I didn’t know lurked in my subconscious, I was brought to my knees with tears flooding my eyes and chaos overwhelming my brain until I decided to seek help. I knew my inner child was hurt and I wanted to help her so I can be the mom my daughters need.
I was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety, among a few others but we’ll focus on those two. It explained the insomnia, nightmares, anxiety attacks, irritability, restlessness, and inability to focus, it felt freeing to have a diagnosis and an understanding of what I was dealing with.
I felt like I opened Pandora’s box, the more I dug the further into the hole I fell. I was unearthing so much pain and trauma, I didn’t know how to cope or what to do with it. I began journaling my triggers and using my power yoga sessions to meditate and release all of the negative energy.
I was just scratching the surface.
As I’m beginning to understand my many layers, it sparked a curiosity about my toddlers and their emotional development. The pain I felt as a child began to sit on my shoulders during my daily interactions with my daughters and it allowed me to become emotionally available and in tune with their needs. Montessori learning became our new jam and the time I used to spend watching TV or scrolling social media was now spent reading books on how to nurture my girls and their mind, and being a better parent. We implemented fun learning activities into our day and mommy was more energized to play. The joy that filled our home after this shift was the light I needed to help me push through the exhaustion of healing.
I was doing the work but I felt lost. There had to be an easier way or a guideline, because regardless of the improvements I was making I felt stuck. I had all of this emotional baggage and stored trauma breathing down my neck.
During my nightly mom guilt session I typed, “How to stop losing my shit and deal with my trauma” into Google search and it led me to a life coach that I’m elated to have found. Meghan and I have been working together for months and she’s been helping me unpack my trauma, pinpoint my triggers, understand my emotions, all while giving me the tools to succeed in my everyday life.
My inner child is severely wounded and we have a long journey of healing ahead of us. Its terrifying because I’m trying to break the generational cycle of hurt and I’m doing it alone, the people who brought me to this point aren’t aware of the damage they have done or maybe they are but the narcissism in them allows them to be ignorant. Nonetheless, this isn’t their story.
I won’t allow my children to succumb to the mental and physical abuse that I did. I awake every morning with the intention of being better than I was the last, rewiring my own system and unlearning all of the bad behaviors and neglect that was instilled in me.
Parenting during the pandemic has made me a better mom and human, it opened my eyes and forced me to look within. I’m not sure I would have started the path of healing or come to the realization that I myself am a wounded child, if it wasn’t for the quarantine. It was easier to pretend everything is okay rather than deal with my emotions and past traumas. Regardless of it all, I’m so thankful to be here and to be a healthier mom for my daughters. It’s not an easy task, raising children, some days are easier than others but the light they bring into my life makes it worthwhile.
A mama healing her inner child.