I often hear and read about parents who spend too much time on their phone and who are emotionally unavailable. I am actually one of them and I won’t write a blog to defend myself. I will explain my awareness of this and how I’m trying to improve. I’ve always been a person that holds back a lot and found it difficult to show emotion. I definitely feel emotion, I’m a pretty emotional person but it just doesn’t show on the outside. I am naturally a bit introverted by nature and my whole life have struggled with social anxiety. Both things would contribute to the way I am. Growing up my Mum was similar when it came to showing emotion and affection. I always felt she wasn’t available emotionally or really understood me. I guess the way I am has been learned and is something that is quite deeply ingrained. I’m not going to blame my mother either. I know people often like to use their past or up bringing as an excuse for the way they are. I acknowledge it can greatly impact us but we have to want to change.
I’m aware of where I need improving and awareness is the first step towards change. I’m not as emotionally available for my kids as I’d like to be. I’d like to connect with them more and I’d like to be less awkward in general. Every day I am aware of this but despite the awareness, change is not happening naturally. I am continually reminding myself to be aware and bringing myself back to the present. I have this tendency to escape off into my own world. My phone, social media and Netflix series are great escapes for me. I find my phone can be a bit of crutch in social situations. I’m definitely not awkward around my kids though but I still have this continual urge to escape? I know I have a default tendency to disassociate and become numb. Maybe it is my temperament, maybe it is learned, maybe it is part of anxiety and maybe it is also due to some of the trauma I’ve experienced in life.
The reasons aren’t important, working towards change is most important. It’s about taking baby steps over and over until they become habit. One thing I have come up with is hug time. I have talked to my kids about hug time and hug time is regularly at the end of the day having a five-minute hug with each child. During that time we can talk about their day or what ever is on their mind. It doesn’t happen all the time but the kids love hug time. They even ask for it. I have noticed since introducing hug time they have also become more affectionate towards me in daily life. Change is hard but its worth it. Sometimes change doesn’t have to be a big thing, it can be as simple as being more aware and introducing something like hug time. Over time I may be able to add more things and then the little changes over time will result in big change. I have along way to go but I’ve made progress. These days I’m a bit better socially because I kept bringing myself back to the present, I pushed myself to attend things and make some effort to interact with people. Sometimes I felt like an outsider, stumbled on my words and just wanted to escape but over time I managed to get to know some people and make friends.
If you are reading this and also trying to make some sort of change, I urge you not to give up. Don’t worry about any one else, it’s hard enough to change ourselves let alone changing any one else. Keep taking baby steps, don’t be too hard one yourself and be proud of the progress you have made. We don’t just have to stay the way we are, we can change if we that is what we choose. We can choose how we want to be.