Traits, Traditions, and Traumas
Hi, my name is Erica and I am the cycle breaker in my family. I recognized early on that there was a lot of dysfunction involved in my nontraditional upbringing. Dysfunction will look different in every family. As for mine, I knew that there was a lot of work to be done.
The day I found out I was pregnant, I was overwhelmed with emotions of my own coming of age. I felt like there was this pressure on me to give my son a childhood that he did not have to recover from. Sadly, there are many parts of my past that still haunt me. I knew that I could carry on certain traits that have been decades in the making or I could stop them dead in their tracks. I choose the latter.
With that being said, I am very unapologetic when I say that I am letting go of anything that costs my peace.
Alcoholism, health issues, lack of education, etc.—These are things I wanted to change.
If I wanted to end the cycle of addiction/alcoholism then I needed to make sure that my home was alcohol-free. I never want my son to see me drunk and I never want him to think that I condone drinking. There is no such thing as drinking responsibly in most of my family members; therefore, I want to remove all temptation early on.
Being born and raised in Southwest Louisiana means you are delivered from birth with butter in your veins and high cholesterol (kidding). There are so many foods out there with preservatives, coloring, and chemicals. I want my son to know about a balanced diet. My husband and I bought a farm where we will plant crops and teach our son about eating organic foods and loving the land that feeds us.
Out of four generations, there is only one person in my family who has a college degree. This was not something that was preached about enough. I never knew higher-education was an option for me. I did not understand the importance of it, and I lacked leadership. This will not be the case going forward. I will make sure that my son has all of the necessary tools to succeed. I will instill in him the importance of attending college. Ignorance is not an option.
Put plainly and simply, my family did not attend church. I did not get baptized until I was 26 years old. Emotionally depleted, I was spiritually bankrupt before I found Christ. I wish I would have known a higher power back when I was a struggling adolescent. Having someone to pray to changed my life equally as much as having someone to pray with did. My husband and I, both followers of Christ, now raise our son to love church and know God!
Anxiety and mental health, in general, were very taboo in my household growing up. I’m in my mid-thirties and I have to use an emotion wheel in therapy sessions because it is still hard to express which emotions I am feeling. As a child, I did not know that more than one emotion could exist. This ends here! I want my son to know that he can talk to me about anything. When something he is feeling doesn’t make sense, I want to break it down and get to the root cause. All emotions are welcome in my family.
I love my family, and I am thankful that they tried their best. I also know that the love I have for my son will not allow me to continue to teach him the wrong things. Breaking cycles is hard, especially when they are taught generation after generation. But, I know that if I do not end it, I would not be giving my son a fair chance in life.
Going through the motions of parenthood is not enough. My only job is to make sure my son is mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially solid. Leading by example is the only way I can ensure that he knows what that means and what it looks like to be successful in all of those things.