I was going to be the best mom ever!
Since I was a young girl I have been daydreaming about having a husband and children. We were going to build our house together and smoking was not going to be allowed in our home. We were going to get a dog and live on the countryside. I was going to be the best mom ever… All of these dreams came true, except for the last one.
I grew up in a typical Norwegian family with a mom, a dad and a little brother. My mom worked in the air force and my dad was a chef travelling the seas around the world. He and my mom did not move in together until I was 6 years old, so in many ways, he was a stranger to me.
A bad start
Our relationship was off to a bad start and I think he found it very difficult to suddenly become a father to a 6-year-old girl. He did the best he could but he never quite managed to be a loving and supportive dad for me. He developed this authoritative way towards raising me and I became more and more insecure and unsafe around him. I cried many times and thought that this was definitely not how I was going to be like when I become a mother, but that is exactly what happened…
I think we as humans carry a baggage with the good and bad experiences from our upbringing. I have heard many people saying what I said, that they had decided to never repeat the behavioral patterns of their moms and dads – but then they still did it unconsciously.
When our sons were 10 and 13 years old they asked to have a conversation with me because they said they felt insecure around me. They said that it was hard for them to see me go from being an upbeat and happy mom to suddenly being really grumpy or sarcastic. I sincerely listened to them and I was touched by the nice way they had given me this feedback. I cried because I felt so proud of having these two wonderful sons and I was deeply ashamed because I had become a mom that I could not be proud of. I apologized to them from the bottom of my heart and made them a promise; that I would never ever talk to them in a foul manner again.
The peace work starts
From that day on, I made a new and better choice for both our two sons and myself. I created a vision for myself as a mom and I asked myself one very important questions. How do I want my boys to remember me the day they move out? I wanted them to remember me as a loving, safe and supportive mother that they could always come to and ask for advice. My answer to this question resulted in a very positive change in the way I met my boys.
I reflected over what had triggered me and how I could handle it in a loving and constructive way.
One of the most important things I became aware of was that behind every frustration there was always a need not tended to. So, whenever I felt frustrated or annoyed I did not express it, but instead I took some time to feel what the actual cause might be. For instance, I was often annoyed because the household chores always became my duty. When I sat down with my husband and children and asked if we could assign some of the chores in a better way, all three of them reacted positively. Another example was when my husband spent a lot of time in the attic working on his laptop. I could get really upset because I was sitting downstairs in the living room alone most times. When I asked myself what my needs were, I found that the answer was that I missed having a closer relationship with him and that we could spend more time together. My husband responded more positively when I expressed my needs rather than criticizing him for caring more about his job than me.
Looking at what qualities were hidden behind an apparently negative behavior.
Another thing that created a close and loving relationship between me and our sons was that I started looking at what qualities were hidden behind an apparently negative behavior. For instance, when our oldest son was really obsessed with working out, healthy lifestyle and other things he wanted to achieve. In the past, I used to think that he was a little bit rigid and not flexible in his everyday life. One day, he said to me that a friend had told him that he was fanatic and obviously a little hurt by this, he asked me if I also thought he was? I looked him right in the eyes and said, no – I can see that you strongly believe in what you do and I see you as a disciplined person. Immediately I saw that he literally straightened his back and that he was genuinely happy about this feedback.
I did the same thing with his brother who had gotten a feedback that he could be really slow sometimes. I said to him that I saw him as a calm, sturdy and tolerant person. It gave a completely different result when I chose to focus on their resources and qualities rather than focusing on their apparent flaws. This contributed to establishing trust and a good tone between us.
When I truly understood that the only person I could change was myself, many things changed immensely in my life. I started viewing my role as a mother as a leadership role and I started thinking about what youths I wanted to release into the society. My goal was to release two emphatic and responsible young men. In order to achieve that I had to treat them as a mom and a leader. We gradually developed a very close and loving relationship and I remember saying to them a few years ago: We have healed the original sin together and it stops her and now. I know from the bottom of my heart that you will become loving fathers because we have healed the wounds previous generations left. We have healed the wounds from previous generations and we are healing for generations to come.
Being a parent is the most important leadership assignment you will ever take on and if you do this job right, you are contributing towards creating a more peaceful world.
If you want to read my e-book, you can find it here.
If you want to read more about me and my Peace Work at Home concept, you will find it here: www.annabellstefanussen.no
Here is a link to my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fredsarbeidiheimen/
Annabell is the founder of the concept (Fredsarbeid i heimen) Peace Work in the family. This concept was created because she herself had struggeled as a mother with her two sons. She views the mother’s role as the world’s leading leadership role and believes it is a very important contribution to peace in the world. When women and mothers realize that they are role models and leaders in the family, it will affect future generations in a very humane and positive way.
Annabell has 10 years of education from Norsk Gestaltinstitutt AS. She has supervised managers and mothers for 10 years and over the last two years she has developed her own online concept where she is teaching mothers online. She reaches out to thousands of women across the country.
The vision is to take this internationally and create a separate Youtube channel so she can continue to educate and inspire women all over the world.
Playing now in The Membership
“Peacework at home” with Annabell Stefanussen is our featured masterclass in The Wisdom From North Membership in August. Sign up to the VIP list and be the first one to be notified when we reopen for enrollment.