I am a therapist and I love my job. I love helping people get in touch with and express their deep emotions. When my kids were small and I was in burnout, it was so hard to do the same for my kids and spouse.

Parenting At times it felt impossible and I was totally ashamed I could not do for my family what I did for my clients. I wanted nothing more than to be there for my kids, patiently listening through their little upsets. Not trying to take their discomfort away or fix it, but just being there for them as a loving and caring presence. Sounds great, right, but why was it and still is sometimes so hard?

I needed support. I was severely under-resourced but did not know it at the time.

Thankfully our human need for connection was drilled into me while I was learning about attachment as an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist. It was the theme in all the books I read and all the training I attended. 

We are mammals, wired for connection for our survival. 

We were not meant to do life alone or in isolation.

Looking around at my life, in the midst of burnout, I knew I needed support. 

Because my biggest struggles surfaced in parenting. I sought out parenting support. I was lucky enough to find Hand In Hand Parenting. The biggest part of my work with my  Hand In Hand parenting coach was them listening to me, being my support. My emotional backpack was full. I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had no space to be there emotionally for my kids or my spouse. Once someone I trusted started listening to me, being there for me, and providing me with unconditional support without trying to solve my problems I started to feel a little lighter and have a bit more space.

I went all in. I joined an 8-week parent support group. I got a listening partner, who I still talk to today five years later. I could be real with these people. I shared my real raw emotions. I let them see me at my worst. What I received back was the greatest gift anyone could give, unconditional support with zero judgment. They expressed that they believed in me as a mother. They did not see me as failing or lacking.  Instead they let me know I was severely under-resourced.  This talked directly to my shame that was constantly telling me, “I was failing. It was all my fault. And I needed to try harder.” 

The less shame I felt, the more whole I began to feel. That allowed me to be more emotionally responsive to my kids. Over time I had more patience and space. I still have hard days where my tank is empty. I cannot listen the way I want to. But today I can more easily accept these days because I know it’s temporary. I will feel more grounded soon and be able to listen to them again.

If we cannot show up for the people in our own lives the way we want to there is probably a good reason. Despite what your inner dialogue says, it’s not your fault. It doesn’t mean we are failing. It just may mean you are lacking the support you need and deserve.

Notice your inner dialogue. Notice times when you may tell yourself it’s your fault or see your struggles as personal failures. I invite you to shift the narrative from, “It’s my fault. What’s wrong with me? to “I am severely under-resourced and although I may not know what to do about it just yet it’s not my fault. I deserve support even if I don’t know how to get it just yet.”

~Michelle

Michelle Puster M.Ed.

Mindfulness Informed Professional

Helping burned out parents find inner calm and compassion

440 Cobia Drive Suite 1301

Katy, TX 77494

832.361.1547