Father’s Day this year has me reflecting on my husband, and our relationship as parents.
Whether you are currently in a relationship with your child’s parent or not, parenting together is not easy. It is so easy to judge, focus on their lacks and what they do that annoys us. Many times we can feel like we are parenting alone. We can also be in a position where we feel like we are doing so much more than our counterpart or we might feel like we are on completely different pages both in life and in our approach to parenting.
Relationships take a lot of hard work, but when you become a parent they require even more attention. Recently when I was reflecting on how to make mine stronger, I had a realization that when I pray, I pray for my kids first and my husband second. It dawned on me that if my intention and consciousness was so strongly on my children first, my husband was clearly secondary. And it wasn’t intentional, it was sub-conscious, but very telling. It is too easy to get wrapped up in our children because when they are born they are reliant on us for everything, and even as they grow up it is easier to be in this unconditional and self- sacrificial mode towards them
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There are 3 components that go into a child: the father, the mother and the Creator and each are equally important and influential.
Kabbalistically, the energy of the male, or the father, provides the child with their Surrounding Light; which is all of their potential, the degree of spiritual transformation the child can do throughout his life. This encircling force remains in its state of potential, constantly pushing us to grow, develop, change and transform. When we do, a portion of this surrounding Light is transformed and actualized within us. The second component, the mother, infuses the soul of the child with its inner Light; all of the gifts, natural abilities and blessings that the child will bring into this world and express throughout his life. The third component is the Creator, a limitless source of power which breathes life into the physical body created by the parents. It is in our children’s best interest to make sure that these energies are present as strongly as they can be in their lives.
When we become a parent there are two relationships we have to focus on to best support our children; our relationship with our child, but just as important is our relationship with the other parent (whether we are together with them or not). When we become parents one of the easiest things to do is to shift all of our focus onto this new baby, who creates a perfect distraction as they need us to do everything for them, they take up the majority of our time, energy and brain space. Often times it is so much easier to focus on our children for a few reasons. First of all, they are sweet and kind and delicious. They are so much less complicated. And even as they grow up and get tougher to deal with and handle, as parents we love them unconditionally. We know that our children are our responsibility, but usually we see our partner differently. They don’t need our help with homework, they should take care of themselves, be able to go to the doctor, handle work issues, and issues with their friends. After all, they are a full grown adult, they shouldn’t need our energy and time the same way our kids do except that they do. We all need to continuously be nurtured, loved, given the benefit of the doubt, considered and given attention.
Children need both of their parent’s energies in order to thrive, and for this reason we must work as hard as we can on the relationship that we have with each other. Whether we are together or not, our thoughts about our partner (or ex-partner), the words we say to them and about them, and the actions we take towards them will affect our children. Our children see and feel the kind of relationship that we have with each other, and it affects them. The strength and the degree to which we support the other parent to become the best version of themselves and as parents.
For those of us in a relationship with our child’s parent, one important piece of advice that is always ringing in my ears is that our children will grow up and go on to live their lives, as they should, but we will be left with ourselves and our spouse and so it is so important to put energy and effort into that. It’s hard because we all get pulled in so many directions; work, taking care of the home, our kids with school and after school activities, and doctor’s appointments it can be overwhelming. We forget that our partner and our relationship requires our time and energy at least as much as our kids.For each other as a partnership, but also for our children.
For those of us who are not in a relationship with our child’s other parent, we need to remember that the way we think about him, act towards him and speak about him or to him (especially to or in front of our kids) is extremely significant. It affects our children and their connection with their father, who Is also their source of surrounding Light.
Practically how can we do this?
Appreciation.It is so much easier to focus on lacks. One way I shifted this was that I started to consciously appreciate my husband more. At the end of the day I try to make an effort to thank him for the things he has done to help out that day. It makes him feel appreciated, but even more importantly, as I began to list them I realized how much in fact he does help out every day. My focus shifts from what he hasn’t done to what he has done. And that makes a huge difference.
Look to the positives rather than the negatives.It is easy to find faults, and for sure, they are there. But there are always strengths, there are always positives, and if we can learn to focus on them and give those energy we will actually see them strengthen and grow. Our children want to see their parents in a positive light. Naturally children believe in their parents and look up to them. We all have faults but when we highlight the positives and give those our energy and attention they can also take over the weaknesses.
Forgive.We make mistakes as parents and in partnerships. On both sides. Don’t we want to be forgiven?
Put the other one first. Many times a relationship becomes about what the other is or isn’t doing for me, how they are or aren’t treating me. Focus first on how you treat your partner or ex-partner and you will see a shift in the way they treat you as well.
Father’s Day can become a great day to reflect on how we parent with our partner or ex-partner and understand our roles in our children’s lives for our sakes and for our children’s. Use it.