Does this ever happen to you? Do you ever deal with some of your messy-inside-stuff, only to have it come roaring back in the next stage of your life?
Here’s what I mean.
You notice some unhealthy pattern in your life—maybe it’s relationship stuff, or behaviors you don’t admire in yourself, or fearful reactions, or unhelpful self-talk—and you deal with it. You look at it, analyze it, get help with it, replace it with something healthier. You do what you need to do until you’re sure it’s well and truly handled.
Well done, self! You might say.
Or at least you might say that if you were me. Way to do your work!
And then you go on your merry way, right up until you find yourself in a new phase of life—a new place, a new situation—and the old pattern is right there with you all over again.
Haven’t I dealt with this? I think.
Yes, but not HERE! Not TODAY! Not like THIS! says my helpful psyche.
Great, thanks. That’s delightful. Yes.
I used to think those resurgences of not-so-healthy patterns meant I wasn’t really making progress, but I don’t think that anymore.
Now I think it’s actually okay.
I think it’s a reminder that life is cyclical. It’s an invitation to heal on a new, deeper level—and anyway, I bet we’ll notice our old patterns much faster every time they come around again.
For me this comes up a lot around parenting because there are ALWAYS NEW STAGES for old patterns to pop up in.
I worry: Am I enough? Can I handle this?
I decide: I don’t really know, but let’s choose to pretend like I am, because I have to be the parent either way.
And this works, until we hit a new stage of parenting where everything looks different than it did yesterday and I’m not sure if the earth tilted on its axis or if the children all just grew overnight.
Just like that, all the old worries pop right back up.
Oh, wait, am I enough NOW? Maybe I was enough before, but this is a whole new thing!
But that’s all right. It just means we get more chances to become wholehearted, healthy humans. And we already have some practice from the last round, so we know where to start this time. WELL HOORAY.
(I mean, I really am glad.)
At Simple Homeschool I’m sharing a little bit more about what that looks like as a parent of teenagers—how I’m dealing with the recurring Is this enough? Am I doing enough? Are THEY doing enough? thoughts, and what the teenagers do all day.
Teenagers are awesome.
The teenagers I know have interesting ideas, share perspectives I haven’t thought of, and are still open to learning even as they’re showing me new ways of looking at things.
At the same time, being the parent of homeschooled teens has opened up a whole new list of fears and expectations and things to worry about (yay?):
Does interest-led learning work for teens? What will they do all day? What SHOULD they do all day? Are they doing enough? What IS enough, anyway?