In living together as a couple, and also with my daughter, the three of us are learning to live with and cooperate with one another. It is an interesting experience. We are discovering how we each have a way of doing things, and how in living together we get to see how that all blends.
One of the biggest lessons for me that I learned this week, is how much I have held myself in esteem of what a terrific parent I am. Don’t misunderstand me: I believe myself to be a really good mom to my daughter. I have always been, and gotten better over time. But, the last three years have been a real testing ground of how to build a stronger, more honest relationship with her. And it has paid off.
When I met my fiancee, and we started dating and spending a lot of time together, she and my daughter started to develop their own relationship with one another. It has been light, fun and easy. I have even managed to keep my hands out of it, and let them develop it on their own. Then this week, there came a situation where they both wanted different things. And, it was, and is, an introduction to how the two of them can start to build a relationship with one another, that is honest and in more depth than it has been.
However, I took it personally. Meaning, I put myself in a position of comparison, thinking that NO ONE could build a relationship with my daughter like mine is. Like I had something that I had to protect or keep from anyone else. Like I am the best parent on earth and no one should dare try to develop something with her. It is an old tune with me; I would often tell myself what a better mother I was to my daughter than my former partner, her other mom. Icky, but true.
What makes it icky for me to think about is that it isn’t true, any of it. Each one of us has brought our own set of gifts and magic into my daughter’s world. And, the way that I parent her is not meant to be the template from which every other person takes on that role. Part of the beauty of the life that I am creating, for myself and my family, is that we each are unique in how what we bring to our interactions, and that we ALL get to learn from one another.
So for me, the breakthrough is that I don’t have to believe what my head tells me about parenting, and it opens up so much more in my world. And, it is yet another way in which my partner and I can be brought closer together, because I am getting my thoughts out of my head and talking about it.
That is pure magic.