It was another jam-packed #BetterMe #Session with Coach Pia Acevedo-Nazareno. Our topic was Building Healthier Relationships with Spouses and Children. Now what mother wouldn’t be interested in that?!
It was also a full session hall because for this particular event, each SoMom was asked to bring another mom along, and so my plus one for the day was mom-blogger and long-time friend Trina of DIY Corporate Mom. Thankfully she was free and could sit in the session with me, and hopefully she also took home something useful for her little family. (We need more time to catch up Trin!)!
But going back to the lessons of that day. We spent a better part of the session talking about how to establish (or build) a healthier relationship with our spouses. Coach Pia always says spouses come first, because children will feel the energy and the love that each spouse gives to the other, consciously or unconsciously. And it starts with an evaluation:
Can I be myself while nurturing my partner? Can I trust myself and trust my partner? Do I respect and feel respected by my partner? Can we nurture our children and do our children feel nurtured by us?
Once you know where you stand, then you can drill down to the different aspects of your relationship and see how you (me – being the one that was in the session), could commit to a positive change. Coach Pia talked about two key things necessary to jump-start the process.
The first is a person’s WILLINGNESS. On a scale of 1 to 10, how willing, or how much do I want to do this? For instance, how willing am I to communicate openly, or to be open and flexible to how my husband will carry out a task? It’s very easy for us to fall into the trap of wanting the men to do it “our way”, when in fact they have their own way and their own process to do it. In order to all this process to happen and take place, there has to be a willingness to let it happen (first and foremost). Can you think of other examples?
The second part is your ABILITY to carry out the commitment or the plan. Being willing is very different from being able, Coach Pia wisely pointed out. I always took that for granted, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, it’s true. I am often willing, I sometimes don’t know how.
Seeing as we were all moms (we were missing our resident SoDad the Fatherland that morning), it felt like a Venus convention. And it was comforting in a way to know that the little “frustrations” or points of conflict at home were common amongst most. In varying degrees of course, but common just the same. It was hilarious too to hear how we were all of the same mindset and therefore reacted similarly to the anecdotes being shared in the room.
Once the laughter died down, Coach Pia gave us several strategies so that we could work on our willingness and ability (to Trust, to be Open, to Communicate, to Let Go and Forgive — such tall orders, don’t you think?!). And the one thing that struck me the most was to transcend my personal Ego.
A lot of the times, our responses to our spouses are out of fear, anger, anxiety or insecurity; and it’s always good to check ourselves first if those are the feelings that are predominant in the situation or the relationship. The world always speaks on the level of the EGO, and as moms it’s our role to help our families move past and above that. Knowing this, we can stop, reflect (or meditate) and say, “It’s not about me”. We can identify what triggers these feelings, and then choose to move on past it.
In relation to this, the other part of transcending is assuming that what your spouse or partner does is in no way meant to intentionally hurt or frustrate you. So filling the relationship with unconditional love and acceptance is key.
When we next spoke about our relationships with our children, Coach Pia pointed out a lot of similarities to jump starting the process. Trusting, Learning Continuously, Being Flexible, Being Humble and saying “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that” — it’s all similar to how we’d want to build a better relationship with our spouse. The key difference is that as a parent, our willingness to do these things (and to have a better relationship with our kids) is assumed to be a 10. It’s really all about our ABILITY: learning how to be the best parents we can be for our kids.
Whatever our problems are as parents, or whatever it is we’re going through in our personal lives, it’s not our children’s burden. And it’s not fair for us to take it out on them. Again, this refers to checking our EGO at the door and being free from fears, anxieties, worries and our own personal insecurities — which we shouldn’t lay on our children. A strategy (again related to being rid of personal EGO) for moms to employ is to nurture oneself. Nurturing oneself will allow us to let them be their own person, and experience their own successes and failures. And that says a lot.
Here’s a small example that I experienced recently. Sam had her first long test in school (not graded of course, but in my mind it was a long test nonetheless and long tests are — were — a big deal in my Alma Mater). When I asked her how she did, she said she spotted one mistake, but she didn’t bother to correct it. “My hand was going to get tired, ” was her nonchalant excuse.
The “old” me would have made a big deal out of it. And a part of me was about to; I just caught myself in mid-breath. I mean really, she could have perfected that damn thing! But I realized that it wasn’t about me, and it was her process. And funny enough she knew which was her mistake, so that had to be good enough for me too. I (am proud that I) didn’t make a big deal out of it, and that I congratulated her on coming out of it unfazed and happy.
There is much to be learned from these sessions, and I really do feel I am a different person because of them. I hope I am better. This one was really made possible by our friends over at BPI. BPI supports the #SoMoms #BetterMe sessions because they believe that the family is a key pillar to financial wellness. BPI handed out financial wellness journals and planners for us to share with the kids, in the hopes that we teach them about money (and how to use and save it) early on in their lives.
Our venue was also sponsored by Ombu and Sequoia Hotel, located in Quezon City. Ombu offers a wide variety of local Filipino dishes infused with Asian and European flavors. We were also given a taste of the Filipino all time favorites.