WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN: Stacey!
Today, guest blogger Allison Gilbert, author of the new book Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children, shares an excerpt from her book about how losing her parents has spurred her on to take a more proactive, less reactive role in her own self-care. Instead of waiting for others to surprise, spoil, wine, dine and fete her, she susses out what she needs and then MAKES IT HAPPEN. I’m inspired. I really am. We’re also giving away a copy of her book.
Here’s her book trailer:
From Chapter 10: Loss Can Make Better Parents
The most surprising relationship I’ve developed since my parents died, however, is the one I’ve cultivated with myself. For the longest time, I wanted to be rescued. I wanted my friends to care for me more than they did, and I expected my husband to anticipate my needs, even take my parents’ place. But he can’t. My friends aren’t my mom and Mark isn’t my dad and my parents are never going to fly back into my living room with their capes and magic rings and make everything better. What I’ve learned is that I can no longer go through life just being a mother, wife, writer, and homemaker. I need to take on one more additional role. I also need to be a parent to myself.
If Mark and I want to go out to dinner and see a movie, I stop feeling sorry for myself and call a babysitter. If I want to take the kids to an event my parents would have enjoyed but Mark has no interest in, I take Jake and Lexi and give Mark the afternoon off. And on Mother’s Day, I give myself permission to spend the day the way I want to. All of this represents a sea change in my thinking. I used to wake up Mother’s Day and hope Mark would surprise me with a gift certificate to get a massage or give me “permission” to skip Mother’s Day with his mom so I could take a class at the gym. I’d invariably get disappointed if he failed to read my mind, and start missing my parents even more. Surely they would have given Mark a friendly poke to treat his wife to a few hours of free time. Surely they would have coddled me the way I so desperately long to be coddled. But the truth is I don’t need to wait for anyone to treat me to anything. And I don’t think my parents would have wanted their daughter to rely solely on somebody else to take care of her needs, either. My parents, after all, taught me to be self-sufficient.
Please leave a comment below with your reaction to this excerpt. How has loss positively impacted your parenting or personal growth? How do you mother yourself? In what areas do you need to do that more?
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