What my reveal to my 18 year old taught me

April 20, 2017

"Stop micromanaging me!”, my 18 year old son shouted at me.

"I wouldn't have to if you took responsibility for yourself!" I retorted.

And so it began. Round and round. Like a broken record.

A week later during a conversation with a good friend and coach, I woke up; I had my aha moment...

I am a crazy control freak.

And sometimes I scare myself when I believe my stories.

My son is a senior. It’s college decision time.  His acceptance letters have arrived. In my mind he needed to choose a school. Immediately.

As a conscious parent, I am committed to conscious listening.  When the universe gives me feedback, I listen.  Even when I don’t want to, I listen and I look for what is true. In my experience everything is a gift FOR me and my learning. Everything.  So when my son shouts "Stop micromanaging me,”  I realize that this is an invitation for me to listen, look and learn.

Yes, first I went below the line and got defensive. Yet when I recovered and truly got present, I took the time to look for how it is true that I am micromanaging.

And I quickly realized that my fears and worries dragged me straight into control mode and I ABSOLUTELY started micromanaging him.

I worried myself thinking he might wait too long to choose and not make a decision at all and lose all his options.

I wanted to start to plan my summer schedule and wrap my brain around what this next chapter in our lives would look like.

I worried he would not get a dorm he liked and be miserable freshman year.

I worried that if he didn’t take responsibility and get organized now, he’d never learn how!  

I wanted all of my concerns addressed so I could relax.

Notice how ALL of those sentiments were about ME and what I wanted. Sure, I could absolutely turn it around to -

I am just being a good parent.  

I know better,

I’ve been there and I know what he needs to do right now.  

It’s my job to guide him and push him…

Yes, I could go there too.

However, when I looked closely, I could see that underneath it all I was micromanaging him so I could feel better. It was all about me.

Along with my commitment to conscious listening, I am committed to practicing candor with my children and taking 100% responsibility for how I create my circumstances. So I knew that I needed to share my learnings with my son if I wanted to create an authentic connection once again.

Over lunch the next day I revealed what was true for ME. I shared my fears and worries. I owned that when I go into fear and worry, I try to control everything around me, including him. And I can imagine how suffocating that feels to him.

He listened and agreed. He noticed how he too then tries to stay in control by resisting me.

And then he shared with me what was true for him. He simply was not ready to make a decision yet and needed some time. With mom, dad, friends, relatives, homework, and baseball all pulling at him, he simply has not had time and space to think FOR HIMSELF.  

What was true was that he was honoring himself by listening to himself and not rushing his decision. His resistance to choosing before he was ready was intelligent.  There is no greater lesson I’d have him learn than honoring his own knowing is paramount, no matter how much pressure is occurring around him.

As I listened to him, I could feel my whole body relax. I trusted him and knew that my fear was not of service.

My lesson over and over again. When I step out of the way, my kids get exactly what they need.

What could be smarter than that?

Annmarie Chereso
Founder, BringIt! Home

Here is one thing I know for sure. Practice does not make us perfect.But it certainly helps to smooth out the rough edges. The most important lesson I have learned in my crazy mixed up life is that practice is all there is and I am devoted to it. And I’d like to share it with you.

Let’s face it, life can feel out of control and crazy much of the time. My life is no exception. As a single working mother of three children, I have come to realize that my personal peace and emotional well being are the key for being a good parent, a good friend, a good partner and coach and for leading my happiest, most fulfilling and emotionally satisfying life.  My 22-year practice of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness has taught me how to be present, conscious and aware of how to cultivate this personal well being.

I have been fortunate to study with many of the great wellness leaders of our time. In addition to being a certified Martha Beck life coach, I received my training and certification to teach mindfulness through Mindful Schools and the Mindful Education Institute.  I have had the honor and privilege to study under inspiring leaders in the field of Contemplative Practices such as Jack Kornfield, Susan Kaiser Greenland, Linda Lantieri, Daniel Rechstaffen and many other pioneers in the field of mindfulness and education.  

I have been trained by prestigious mindfulness industry leaders including John Kabat Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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