Monthly Archives: July 2012

Breaking out of the box, using what is already available to me.

I had made up my mind. I was serious about making chili. I had tomatoes, onions, spices and a ground beef organ mixture to use. I had a dilemma though. No kidney beans. I started planning a grocery trip with all four children in tow to acquire the required ingredient. Out we would go and there would be shopping cart car rides, questions, games of chase me and much laughter. It could take an hour, or more for one can of beans. And then I had a thought..
Why do I need what I don’t already have?
I slowed down and took some mindful breaths. I remembered what I have learned so far about life…
So I opened my fridge and discovered garden fresh peppers and purple beans. I decided I would use them instead of the common kidney bean.
I must remember to always look deep inside first. Inside My fridge.



Terrifically fabulous TWOs! Moving away from parenting on principle.

If these are the “terrible twos” then I must be super wicked. I LOVE it. My two year old is brilliant and hilarious.
Unfortunately I wasn’t educated enough with my first born to accept and enjoy his toddlerhood. I wanted to get him under control and it really shows in his self image and in our
connection. He is eleven now and we have had to start over. It’s harder for
us to bond and cooperate, and I am know it is because I did not practice attachment parenting with him.
Ah, two year olds… I am in love with how in the moment they are. Terrific two, Emmett has a squeal which tells me “Hey! I am Here! And there you are! And here’s a rock! Wheee! A STICK HELL YA!”
He is joyful simply over our existence.
I feel like I really understand him. He just wants to be loved, attached and involved. For now he feels healthiest when with mom and dad and that is awesome for us. He’s cautious of strangers, no need for the stranger talk here!
Sometimes he yells for something and so I ask him “Do you need your turn with that?” and immediately his stress is eased and he says “um”, meaning yes. He will then be patient and generous even though we never force him to share. We also have not found the need to attempt to teach taking turns or sharing. It comes in it’s own time when we are generous and sharing with them.
I have found that it is ok to let my terrific two year old stand on the table, use fishing rods with hooks, play with power drills, use knives and go barefoot and naked. I think we may have been given the impression that if we let them do it sometimes that they will want to do it all the time. I have found the opposite to be true. I’ve found that when I allow them to do what they want, then they are more reasonable with me when we can not do something. They also look to me for guidance and ask whether something is safe.
They feel that I have their best interest at heart, I am not out to just stop them from doing stuff constantly and so
they feel no need to attain their power back. With my support they can do almost anything! Most stuff we prevent them from doing is harmless anyways. They are also less likely to bolt out into traffic or
run away from me when I am not hindering them. They want to be free while still close to me and safe. Chasing children makes them frantic, I have noticed children perfectly
capable on a play structure until an adult comes to help them and then it seems to throw them off and they fall or trip. It is almost like they have an invisible bubble around them that when we get too close, it pops and they lose concentration. Has anyone else
experienced this? I find it especially
True for babies and toddlers, my darting hands can disrupt their energy. Or something.
Chasing is great as a game, and children understand the difference between fun and force. Sometimes
They even run away because they want to be chased. I tell them which way or place is safe to run for a game of good
old chase me.
Parenting on principle is not effective to raising happy children. Parenting on principle says that we should forbid or not allow something only on principle and not on what is actually reasonable and respectful. When ya put it that way, it doesn’t really make sense, to
stop someone’s actions simply because of if’s and maybe’s and life lessons we hope to impart on them.
Enjoy your toddler. It’s ok to laugh when they spill something. You can hug them when they break something
or hurt someone. They are just trying
to meet their needs like everyone else.
With kindness and acceptance they will not find it necessary to continue
hurtful ways. They are not bad or needing to be tamed. They are brilliant and completely enlightened to the here and now.
It is even possible to convey my message to children without
words. That’s how powerful love and connection is.



My child stealing teaches me a powerful lesson.

A child stole money from me. He was only just five. He is my child and I was shocked as he has been the easiest so far to raise.
I think that when children and teenagers steal we immediately form opinions about them. Like that they are bad or dishonest. We may not even realize that such beliefs occur but it will show in how we treat them after such an event. Do we punish to prevent it from happening again or do we look for the root cause?
So, when I discovered that this had happened I had to ask myself what I had done, and what situation I had created to make him so desperate. When I asked this I began to uncover times when I had been stingy with him or dishonest. My Partner and I use to save treats for ourselves for when the children were asleep and somehow they knew it. Obviously we were doing this so that they wouldn’t have any. We didn’t want to share and we knew it wasn’t good for them. We have completely stopped doing that. I am thankful for this powerful lesson my son has taught me and that is to give my good freely. I have also stopped buying treats which are not good for me and my overall health has improved for it.
I’ve also started sharing “my” money with the children freely when I can. We talk about budgeting a certain amount for things and how much we have in total. I am not worried about them not wanting to work for money but I do think about teaching generosity by being generous. I also want to create the feelings in them that there is always enough, that we don’t have to steal or hoard. By being open and honest with my children they understand when I have to tell them not now about buying something. We are a family and we all get to share the benefits of it.

Simplify your parenting, enhance your life.

I think we have over thought parenting. We’ve pondered on the mountain of choices that we face these days. A thousand years ago there wouldn’t have been the worry and debate over breastfeeding or formula, co-sleeping or crib, to work or stay home. The choices would have been clear as that was just what you do. But these are very different times and choice can be good. It is when we project our fears onto our choices that life can become stressful and overwhelming. It almost seems to me sometimes that we equate worry and stress to being a good parent. I don’t think that’s necessary and it especially conflicts with people who say “trust god.”. So, trust. Trust that things are as they are and will go on being as they are. That makes me chuckle because it’s so simple yet can be so hard to truly grasp.
It is our reactions to things that make things negative, not the situation itself. I don’t expect things to always go my way, and so when they don’t, I am getting good at taking a deep breath and even smiling. Sometimes I laugh right out loud at the ways that the ways that things can go. Totally unexpected and often downright insane! And I am thankful for these experiences. I can use them to demonstrate to my children problem solving and ways to be joyful regardless of what happens. From this we all learn what really matters. What matters to you?

Forcing my child into his carseat…

Emmett is two and he does not want to get into his carseat. I have places to go and I feel inclined to just force him in. I am strong enough and I can do it. It would be more convenient and it could be easily justified that I am doing it for his safety. But I will not. I imagine that being strapped in a carseat against your will is comparable to being someone’s hostage. It must be terrible and I don’t want to take advantage of his vulnerability. I want him to have positive associations with his carseat and with trips, and it is possible.
How can this be done?
It takes patience, slowing down and many soothing explainations.
Today we sat in the back and I talked about laws and safety and fines. He responded in his toddler way with um’s and words of daddy. We then nursed while he started to drift off and I asked if I could put him in his seat to continue nursing and he said yes, or rather him “um” which means yes. All went well.
Sometimes I just wait while he bounces back and forth in the van among the other children. It’s never taken longer than ten minutes for him to willingly get in his seat. That’s not bad, and now that I know that, I can plan extra time for it if needed.
If he is starting to get cranky in his seat, I pull over and feel grateful that he is telling me that he has had enough. We find a park or a nice area to relax. Sometimes we just pull
over on the side of the highway so we can cuddle and nurse. I do this to give him a break and give him that positive experience with car trips. When I think about it, there’s no reason why I can’t take a few moments to stop and reconnect with him so he can feel better about traveling. Life is much more pleasant this way!
My daughter Nova, who is three, was screaming in the van the other day and I didn’t listen to her. I thought “She will just go to sleep, she is tired.”. Well, of I would have stopped, I would have discovered that the hot air was blowing
In the back! It was 32 degrees outside and I didn’t realize until later when I looked back at her purple little face, sweating. I felt horrible and learned a powerful lesson that I thought I already knew: they don’t cry for no reason. I apologize to her and promised to be a better listener.
I think the destination is important too. If we always have fun where we are going, then they want to get in the van. Even grocery shopping and trips to home depot can be a blast and valuable learning experiences. I use to feel rushed an hurried to get what we need and not forget anything! But now I know that we always have enough and we can (and do) live with whatever I forget.
I’m also careful not to leave them in the van too long or too many times while I run into a store or wherever. I have to gauge how they are feeling. Sometimes it is never ok to leave them and so I bring all four in for one little thing and it takes four times as long and I love it. They always find fun and adventure. It humbles me to the core.
I would like to invite you to quiet your mind from all that you think you must get done. You don’t have to believe those thoughts. I think you’ll find that if you seriously slow down and consider the child’s needs, that you will have an abundance of time and cooperation. Overall, it will be an increased quality of life.


When my child is “acting out”.

Sometimes it appears that my children speak rudely to me. Sometimes they throw things or act in ways which could be destructive. The response from others is that I should stop it and take the things away. But to me, simply stopping the action does not address the underlying unmet need. It does not deal with the reason as to why they are acting in such a way. Therefore a punishment (and taking something away is a punishment) is not effective in dealing with the actual problem. Stopping the action serves mostly to help the adult. I’m thinking far outside the box here. There Is an answer that does not have a method. It’s not going to be x + 2 = compliance. It’s going to mean that I slow down and listen. If I don’t have the answer than I would rather do nothing than risk alienating my child and furthering the hurt. We don’t have to learn it all at once and neither do children. It is the process and our mindfulness towards it that matters. And so I remain still and the answers always come. To outsiders it may look like I am being passive and allowing children to misbehave. But I am not concerned with that anymore. What matters is listening and learning how to live in peace. I can be understanding and compassionate when they struggle. Could not we all use a little of that?


Applying camping principles to life.

Once upon ten days ago, we set out to camp for the weekend. We haven’t gone home yet. We love it here. How can I bring the beauty and peace and the simplicity of camping to our home?The children are so content to be without their toys, TV or games. Sticks, rocks, mud and exploring are so much more fulfilling.
I am in the tent right now as my youngest son is nursing. A cool breeze comes over me. I feel so relaxed among the sound of birds and the absence of noisy traffic. It’s been easy to be here with the children. It’s also been valuable to deepening our relationships. There are very little
distractions and even though we don’t have running water, the chores are minimal. Much time is spent just sitting around, observing and being. We “be” at the fire, river, park and among the trees.
My oldest son and I have the hardest time out of me and my other four children. He is the one I have felt most challenged by, and I love to see him so happy out here. He is the one that I did not practice attachment parenting with and we suffer for it. The uncomfortable feelings will not keep me from getting closer to him. While camping there has been time to just be with him. I have laid down next to him, his body feeling as big as mine. It’s strangely intimate to have somebody as large as you, know you so well, yet be so disconnected from you at times. But I understand him now and it seems so
simple (like camping): he just wants to be a part of something. He wants to be loved and in control of his life. It amazes me as to how I could have missed that in the beginning. It feels like camping has given me the freedom to be more attentive, more loving and more available to get to know them better. We are going home today, how can I bring this home?
What are the principles of camping that I could put to use at home?
It’s relaxed, no schedule or plans. We already do this most of the time at home.
Camping is in nature. I could go outside even more at home. Our backyard is pretty green and great. There’s also nature spaces around town that we could be using more.
There’s minimal indoor space and less stuff. This one baffles me, how can I make my house simpler? I’ll ponder this but it’s possible that I’ll just opt for trailer-life!
There’s minimal chores and maintenance. The meals I make are
Simpler. Less stuff to clean up too. I want to absorb this simplicity and carry it home with me.


Can parenting be easy?

We hear it all the time, parenting is hard; the hardest job in the world. And attachment parenting is even harder and more demanding! So, what is it about parenting that we are finding so hard? A common complaint is exhaustion. I have found that there are ways to let parenting energize you. What has also helped is accepting when I am tired and trusting that I will get the rest I need. It becomes hard as soon as I start believing the thoughts that say that I shouldn’t be be tired and that I should be doing something productive. Often when I am tired I am better at just being with my kids. They love to cuddle, tell me stories or build forts around me. Being exhausted can be a gift as it reminds me to slow down and just be with them.
Making parenting easy relies understanding children as complete beings that want to feel connected and loved, always. It also is important to assessmy own beliefs that cause me to feel like things should be different than what they are. Life becomes exhausting once we think that our children and our partners and our lives with them should look a certain way. There is no standard child, partner or family and we all evolve in our own glorious way. I think that we have been led to believe that children “do this” or “act like that” and we should respond in a certain way. Being attached to any of those ideas drains me. I have found that when I attempt to have control I can easily become angry, discouraged and depressed. But when I let go, I am joyful and compassionate and ready for all of life. The more I do it, the more it automatically happens to me that I respond happily to all situations. When I am living free of expectation, I am free to love my children even when they struggle. Especially when they struggle. I see their conflicts as part of the process and maybe even necessary to the learning about themselves and life. A tantrum is never bad or undesired, it is what it is. Which could be my child mirroring my own dysfunctional state or them communicating an unmet need. Whatever it may be, I welcome it and trust that the way to be with them already exists. Often this means me being silent. I don’t have so many of the answers, but I can hug and love them. Love always wins. Time-outs and punishments may be effective in preventing a behavior but they don’t strengthen the connection that we share, actually they do the opposite. And that’s what society is missing: connection. Connection is the key to patenting and to living in harmony.
My partner and I often stare at each other in amazement at how easily the children flow into sleep. We have hear the bedtime horror stories but at our house it is a joy. I will have to write a post on just that one day as I wish for every parent to experience this joy. It doesn’t have to be stressful and hard.
I would say that the hardest thing about parenting is overcoming my negative emotional responses to my children (and everything else). I wasn’t raised with attachment parenting, unconditional love, acceptance and guidance and so often that is not my first response. I often feel frustration or irritation but I have to chose not to believe it. I have to chose another way.
So, the hardest thing about parenting is actually … Me.


Can we re-define “me time”?

I have used the excuse of needing me time to continue my being stressed the fuck out.
I just need some me time!
I have been thinking a lot about this “me time” thing and what it could mean for me. When I googled “me time” it came up with “taking time for yourself”.
What does it even mean to take time for yourself?
Desiring me time seems to be especially true for us mothers and it usually means time away from the children. We are often told by friends, family and professionals that we need to take time for ourselves and that it means without children. Also, we work hard so why wouldn’t we take time for ourselves? But again, what is time for ourselves? I think I need to redefine it though, there is just something missing…
In times when I have been stressed, I found that me time was never enough. I always went back to cranky-pants.
I understand needing time to reconnect with ourselves, but I ask, why are we getting lost?
I also understand the need to unwind and let go of stress but why are we so stressed out?
I am wondering if this need for me time (away from children) is a symptom of something. Something lost in the parent/child relationship? Something indicative of an unfulfilled life? When I am having a hard day, I think ” I just need to get away!” and then I imagine myself fleeing out the door shoeless and hair blowing. If I tell someone what I am thinking they always agree with me BUT I think it’s more true that what I really need is to slow down, breathe and just be with the children regardless of what is going on. I don’t want my kindness to be dependent on me having time away from them. It is in these times that I need to reconnect… With my children and with everything. I need to find the me time in being with the kids. I am still there. It is in these intense moments when we are the most vulnerable and therefore harbor the greatest capacity to connect with others. Those grand moments of stress and chaos are powerful opportunities not just for bonding. We can use them to demonstrate important life skills like problem solving and stress management. If I make the choice to just sit and be in my teary eyes and mess, I show my children a new side of me. I let go of attachments to ideas and thoughts, and the moment takes me over. They get to see what it means to be human.
Another symptom that may be causing us to crave time away from child could be, lack of support and community. This has been true for me, like when my husband is working a lot and I’m alone with the children for long periods of time. I’m not so sure that we are intended to live like that. I always feel better when someone else is around. I feel supported and more relaxed with more adults around and everything seems to go easier. Everyone shares their watchful eyes and helping hands. I’m writing this I have discovered that me time comes from feeling a deep sense of connection and joy, especially in hard situations. Maybe I need a little me time to find that? 😉

Now ask yourself honestly (as I do):
Are you REALLY enjoying your kids? Do you well up with joy and tears often? Do you look forward to them waking up? Is it a pleasure to just sit and watch your children play and explore?
I think that if we are having mostly positive experiences with our children, then this need for me time (time away) will not be a major focus. Getting to know them, seeing all their personalities becomes my me time. Healing myself so I’m not triggered constantly has become my me time. I have found my me time in unusual places… With a child who has enough trust in me to walk slowly hand in hand, not darting away into danger. Watching my children’s accomplishments and growth, especially if it is with being compassionate, that is me time, for me. It is truly rewarding to have children who fully embrace a younger child, attempting to feed and care for her. It restores my faith in humanity; me time. Sometimes my me time occurs when my children are sick. There’s something about comforting and holding that child who is normally so busy. I love being able to be with them in this way.
Children will be less needy and more capable of playing on their own for a bit if they feel a genuine connection to us. If they sense that we truly value their existence then there demand on us will be leas. This gives me time to reflect, read, organize, prepare food or just sit.
I am having a hard time understanding how being with my children is not time for myself. Their ability for deep intimacy can be so therapeutic
to a touch deprived culture. They are so natural and open with their love.
We only get our children for a short time. As they get older they spend more and more time needing us less. They make friends and find activities they love. I had better take the time now, when they are little before it’s gone. I’ve heard it comes fast.
I am not saying that we should never go out with our friends without our children. I do still enjoy my time alone, it’s just not a need that has spawned out of unhappiness. What I am saying is that it would be wonderful for us to expand what our me time means and that when it is without children, that it spawns out of energy and love. Never exhaustion and impatience. To go out free of guilt, anger and frustration is way more productive. I want my alone time to be free of mental baggage and not spawned out of desperation so I can really enjoy it!
So, in closing I will expertly say that you can look for your reasons in why you want that me time.

I would like to encourage you to look for your “me time” even when you are with your children. You can too become immersed in the pleasures and joys of parenting. Parent with purpose.