My Personal Transformation Through Conscious Parenting

How My Conscious Parenting Journey Began

When my son was born, I felt an incomparable joy, and at the same time, a deeply rooted fear. For someone who likes to be in control and desired to be a mother so badly and do everything right, motherhood came to me like a shock.

Starting from my birth plan, which did not go as planned, everything that followed felt overwhelming, frightening, and almost violent at times.

I loved this boy more than anything in the world, and I wanted to be the perfect mother to him.

However, breastfeeding was painful, my body was aching, and there were so many things that terrified me, like SIDS, which kept me from sleeping when I had the opportunity. I did not leave my room for one month, which now sounds to me like I had some mild case of postpartum depression.

A World of Shoulds and Should Not(s)

I surrounded myself with experts: doulas, breastfeeding consultants, craniosacral specialists, sleep trainers, etc., and these people were terrific, but they also pulled me farther and farther away from my intuition and closer to a world of «shoulds and should nots.»

I experienced my desired maternity as a threat to who I was as a person.

When my child cried, woke up in the middle of the night, refused to eat, or did not want to go to bed, I felt threatened because I believed it meant that I was doing something wrong.

Unfortunately, this belief pulled me away from SEEING my boy for who he was: a sweet baby longing for safety in our connection.

How could I give that to him if I constantly believed I was failing him?

Covid-19 Came to Stay: Perfectionism and Anxiety

My daughter came into this world 18 months later, and things with her were easier for sure; I had gone through the newborn and baby phases so I knew what to expect. We signed my son up for daycare, and then my daughter as well when she turned 18 months; suddenly life was beginning to look like it could be manageable again.

But oh, surprise!! In March 2020, Covid-19 came to stay.

Both kids were at home full time, and we had no family to help or friends to laugh with; I stopped my part-time job, and became a full-time mom to a three and a 1.5-year-old. The fear came back with all its fury.

Once again, I saw myself under a lens of perfectionism, with a deeply rooted fear that I was failing as a mother, and a belief that I was not good enough.

My perfectionism kept me from meeting my basic needs, which kept me from being calm and present. That caused me to react to my children, which made their behaviors more challenging.

For instance, I would wake up every morning and take them out for a walk without eating breakfast because I couldn’t find time to take care of myself. This would make me irritable and tired, which ended with me yelling at the kids when I became impatient.

I also insisted on having strict boundaries around sleep that were motivated by a “fear” of spoiling them, which kept me from empathizing with my son when he woke up frightened in the middle of the night. His need for safety and connection during a confusing time was not met by me, resulting in months of sleepless nights and endless battles to keep him in his bed.

In these months, I had very little tolerance for my children’s crying because I was constantly battling with myself to avoid the tantrums; running lists in my head of what I missed and how I could have prevented their upsets. The self-punishment exhausted me and threw me deep into anxiety.

I felt a lack of control over my life, my children, and my parenting, which forced me to seek control elsewhere. That’s when I started restricting calories – which only made my symptoms stronger because now I was running on an energy deficit.

While being in the storm of chaos, I also felt heartbroken imagining all the families in far worse situations than me, with fewer means, in smaller homes, without a support system, and with more kids.

If I had such a hard time with my kids at home, what could happen in a harsher family reality?

I Found Light at the End of the Tunnel

I finally hit bottom and decided to get professional help.

I started talking to a therapist on Zoom; I got myself into a regimen of meditating every morning, I cut out coffee and wine from my diet, I made breakfast an obligation, and slowly I began to let go of control.

The worry turned into action.

I had to decide whether I would return to finish my Ph.D. in September, which was the end of my maternity leave, and I was baffled about it. I was hunting for a passion and a purpose – when I found it.

What if I could help families find a better way to parent their children? What if I committed to doing the personal work that is required to make my parenting more joyful?

Then I found Jai.

I started my Parenting Coach training, and things slowly began to change for me.

Suddenly I could see my son’s sleep habits as a call for connection rather than as misbehavior that needed consequences.

I could hear my daughter’s whimpers as a need for me to hold her rather than a noise I needed to distract.

I became more flexible about screen time, knowing when to keep my boundaries (with a loving presence) and when to allow limit pushing.

A Transformation From the Inside Out

As my awareness grew, I became more explicit about my own needs, too.

Suddenly my kids wanted more and more of me, and with the overwhelmingness that came with that, I was clear that they were craving to get more of the new mama unfolding. I was playing with them, laughing, and enjoying myself with them, which they couldn’t get enough of.

Imagine if someone were to give you a new set of glasses with the right prescription for your eyes, and when you put them on, you realized that you had spent so many years not seeing clearly; that’s what this transformation is for me.

It is not perfect, and it’s not linear; parenting is a verb, not a noun.

I’m not a perfect parent; I don’t have perfect children, their behaviors and mine are not always congruent. But there is empathy, and there is a DESIRE to understand the why’s.

This journey has returned me to an embodied Tania that was forgotten, and that is where my intuition hid.

My parenting decisions no longer come from fear; they now come from awareness and presence.

That is what our children need from us the most.