Breaking the Cycle: Letting Go of a Troubled Childhood

When I was a little girl, I often wondered what it was like to have a normal family life. My family was broken when I was young, my mother out of the picture for years. We grew up on government assistance and in poverty. Both of my parents were addicts, and I was the oldest tasked with caring for my three younger siblings. Needless to say, I didn’t have much of a childhood.

Breaking the Cycle: Letting go of a Troubled Childhood

As the years went on, I was determined to not make the same choices that my parents made. I graduated from high school with good grades. I practiced safe sex, determined not to be a teen mother. Not because there is something wrong with being one, but because I wanted to forge a different path, and I knew if it happened, my life would not travel the path I wanted it to. I went to college and graduated from a great school with a high GPA. In fact, I was the first college graduate in my family.

Despite having successes and things to be proud of, I was still haunted by the ghosts of my childhood. The little girl inside of me was never heard, and I often pushed her away.

When I got married and we decided to have children, I was slightly terrified. I always wanted to be a mother. To grow life inside of me and to care for tiny humans of my own. However, I did not want to be like my parents. My deepest desire was to break every cycle. I didn’t want to use physical punishment. I wanted to ensure that my children’s voices were heard and that their emotions were acknowledged. Most importantly, I wanted to never blame them for anything that was wrong in my life. They would get the safe and warm home that I did not have. My children would not know what it was like to go to bed hungry. Their primary responsibility would be to grow up and be children – not parent each other from a young age.

Most of all, I would be a different kind of parent. I would be the person who put my children first. A mother whose focus would be to make sure that my children felt loved and supported. Something that I have never felt from my own.

Then my oldest son was born. I have never felt more complete than when he entered the world. And he came first. I let him know it was okay to cry. It was okay to be mad. I painstakingly made his meals to be full of nutrition. His room was carefully decorated and full of toys and books. When I got mad or needed to discipline, I counted to three instead of lifting my hand. I comforted him and told him he was important and loved.

My second son came along and my heart grew even more. I realized something really important.

Instead of dealing with the past of my childhood, I was simply ignoring it and pretending like everything I did for my sons would undo what I had been through. No amount of love or toys or changes would erase the neglect and abuse I had endured.

The best thing I ever did for my sons, and for myself, was to start seeing a therapist to talk about my past. It wasn’t enough to just break the cycle by changing the way that I live and how I parent. I needed to accept that my childhood was traumatic and that it wasn’t my fault. Since starting this journey, I have found a peace that I didn’t know existed.

Instead of being ashamed of the life I had, I’m proud of the woman I have grown up to be.

I’m proud of the wife and mother I have become. My path could have been drastically different. But I broke the cycle. And if you have a past like my own, or something else that haunts you, know that you can also change and that you can break the cycle.

It’s hard work, but I promise – it’s worth it.

Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog postsign up to receive CRMB posts in your inbox.  While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms Blog events and promotions!!


Free Family-Friendly Activities | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Looking for some budget-friendly fun to keep the kiddos entertained? From exploring parks to markets, and cultural spots, Cedar Rapids has a ton of free family-friendly activities for you and your little ones to...

Where to See Fireworks | In & Around Cedar Rapids in 2024

Fireworks are quintessential to ring in America's birthday celebration! You have bought your family red, white and blue outfits, sparklers are ready to light up the evening, the grill is ready to go with...

Parenting a Child with ADHD: A Mom’s Journey + Tips

Parenting is an adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns. When my child was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), it added a new dimension to this journey. It’s a path filled with challenges, discoveries,...

Father’s Day Events | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Father's Day is Sunday, June 16th. And while we don't need a single day to honor Dads and father figures (we should celebrate them every day!), make Sunday meaningful, special, and fun as you...

2024 Summer Fairs & Festivals | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is buzzing with summer fun! Think cotton candy, Ferris wheels, and games galore! From the Freedom Festival to local fairs, there's something for everyone. This list of events will be growing all...
Join our community.
Be the first to know about new resources, can't-miss happenings, and new blog articles! 
Yay, we're so glad you're here! Keep an eye on your inbox