By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
What a lot of people who are close to me know is that I am currently pregnant and excitedly, nervously expecting our first child. Since I became pregnant, I have been thinking so much about my transition to motherhood. Especially because I work with children, parents, and families so often, my work is so close to what is going on for me personally. And while writing this blog is somewhat uncomfortable because it is so close to my heart, I wanted to start sharing some of my reflections here in case they could be helpful to anyone else.
The first and most important thing to mention is that in no way do I feel that what I do professionally makes me any more ready to be a mom than anyone else. The reason why I believe I work so well with parents and families is that I have always known and been very open about the fact that since I am not a parent yet, I truly do not know what parenting is like. I work hard on considering situations without judgment and with the understanding that I might not understand some decisions, feelings, etc. until I am a mother myself. The one thing that I am absolutely sure of is that having a child (hopefully children one day) is going to truly rock my world and change everything.
Interestingly, I believe that as a result of being a neutral observer into families’ lives, I have some insights that I really want to hold onto when I am the parent and making decisions. So, I thought my blog would be a great place to share some of these thoughts. And I don’t plan on including nonsense about “my kid will never do X or Y” because that is just ridiculous. I don’t know what my kiddo is going to be like or what my parenting experience will be like. One of the moms that I work with told me some of the best advice which is, “Erica, never say never because once you say you will never do something, it turns out you probably will” (this was in reference to a discussion about leashes for kids in case you’re curious). These blogs will be more of reflections on general topics and parenting philosophy I hope to incorporate into who I become as a parent.
Anyways, the first thing that I hope to hold onto that has been coming up a lot lately for me in my work and personally is that… “It’s not about you.” Period. The end. When I become a parent, it is about my kiddo and what we believe is best for him. What I would like to remember about this is not that it needs to be all Disneyland and Chuckie Cheese and about what my kiddo wants, but, that their actions are not about me (most of the time). When I work with families, the toughest cases and situations are the ones where the parents are really struggling to separate their successes, failures, or experience from their child’s. As a non-parent, I can clearly see that much of what a child does has nothing to do with their parent. A toddler is not crying or throwing a tantrum to ruin your day. A teenager who is becoming rebellious or decides to experiment with certain things is not about hurting their parent (most of the time). I just hope to hold onto this knowledge so that I do not take their behavior, choices, and life path personally or as a reflection of me. I want to respect that my child is going to have a path, decisions, and choices that are totally their own and Not. About. Me.
Here are some phrases and reframes that I hope will be helpful in remembering this:
Thank you all for reading! I have more ideas for future blogs on this topic that I will be sharing as things progress and would appreciate any feedback you would like to give me!
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As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around child, teen counseling and adult psychotherapy. We are San Diego Therapists at Thrive Therapy Studio.
Becoming a Mother Series
Blogs from the Thrive Family!
Musings from Erica, Angela, Jennifer, and Maria