Posts tagged Being Authentic
Discipline is the part of parenting that parents hate most. If you read my last blog post, about how much control you “should” have over your child, you’ll see the first reason why parents hate discipline so much – it’s because they don’t have clarity around what they do have control over, and what they don’t.
But the biggest reason that parents hate discipline is that our culture is not good at conflict. We think everything should always be nice-y nice-y. We don’t get passionate about what we believe or how we feel because we don’t want to offend anyone, and we don’t want to be perceived as trying to control anyone else. AND since we think discipline means punishment, we don’t want to be seen as the big meanie, so we feel resentful when our children push us to “have to” punish them.
What a mess.
First, we need to rethink that whole discipline-punishment thing. (Go HERE to find out more or register for my upcoming Discipline Without Guilt class.) What if, for a very young child, discipline just means that the child hasn’t developed the internal discipline to control his or her own impulses? Well, then, if we feel peaceful about being there to clearly show them where those impulses need to develop, and to be those impulses for them, aren’t we HELPING, not hurting? Punishment is when you hurt your child, ON PURPOSE, to teach them a lesson. What if, for an older child, discipline means supporting the child, in a less and less overt way, to determine what matters to them, and where they want to develop inner discipline, and to take the steps to help them develop that? Since we know that punishment doesn’t work to do this, anyway, what if we just dropped that mindset and focused on our actual goal?
Second, we need to develop clarity around what things, FOR US, are important enough to justify stepping in to consistently help our young child see clearly where those impulses need to develop, and readjust this yearly, as our child grows.
And, more and more, especially for an older child, we need to develop skills around understanding, problem-solving, coaching, and ***advocating for our own needs***.
“Oh, shit,” I hear you say, “I’m bad at that.”
Yeah, I know. Me, too.
But, here’s the thing. When you practice, you get better. You stop being afraid that someone else will flip/tantrum/be sad/meltdown, and you start standing in your own power (such an overused phrase, but exactly what I need to say) and declare what matters to you, while still respecting what’s going on for them, AND doing what you need to do to be the parent your child needs, from a place of heart, clarity, purpose, and love.
I’d love to help you bring this all together!
Discipline Without Guilt starts April 11th, 2015. Find out more HERE.
Here’s to you. Here’s to your child. Here’s to peace in your parenting, and solutions that work for both of you.
I would love to share Discipline Without Guilt with you, and help you find a new groove. Check it out here.
Chances are, your child is an expert at pushing your buttons. Here’s how to short circuit the button, so that you can stay in that loving Zen place and stay connected, instead of pushing the disconnection even further along.
If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know that connection is big for me. Parents tell me ALL the time that what they want most is to know that their child can share things with them, and will come to them when they need support – they want to stay connected, and they want to be trusted. Is this you, too?
When our children get good at pushing buttons, it drives DISconnection and weakens trust. Here’s what to do…
First, remember what I said in my last blog post (read it here): Your child is doing exactly what he needs to be doing to learn what he needs to learn in order to become the person he’s meant to become. Read that again! It’s a BIG concept. Your child MUST push your buttons. He’s learning SOMETHING from the process. So, you may as well use the same process to learn something awesome, too.
And here’s the awesome thing that you can learn from it. (And, happily, a beautiful thing for your child to learn, too.) Your child does not control you. You get to decide how you will react when your child pushes your buttons.
Sorry if that sounds patronizing. You’re a smart person, and of course you know that you have control over your own emotions, but if you’re reading this, chances are you’re having a tough time accessing, or acting on, that knowing in the moment.
First, I’m going to increase your motivation to learn this. Your child needs to know that he or she does not control you. Being in control of a parent’s emotions is a BIG responsibility for a little child. Your child needs to know that YOU are in control, that he or she can trust you to handle stuff. When your little person pushes your buttons and sees you react, that is scary stuff for her. She needs to know that she does not have the power to throw her whole world out of kilter. If your child is older, or a teenager, your peace, your ability to stay calm, gives him or her a safe place to land.
So here’s the magic move. It’s incredibly simple, and it’s much more powerful than you may know.
When the button is being pushed, breathe UNTIL your brain turns off and your heart is speaking clearly. Breathe UNTIL your love for your child bubbles up and overtakes whatever ego-driven, power-focused thing you were about to say or do to your little person. Breathe UNTIL either the moment passes completely, and you can’t remember that the button was pushed, or UNTIL you know exactly what loving thing you can do instead of reacting from fear or anger. Keep breathing.
Breathe into the crunched-up, angry part of yourself that can’t seem to let go of the crunched-up, angry thought that you are holding (see my last blog post to understand where that thought came from ). Breathe into the tips of your toes and the bottom of your belly. Feel and follow your breath into the spaces between your ribs. Breathe with ALL of your attention. Breathe with ALL of your power. Breathe with ALL of your heart. And when your attention shifts back to those crunched-up angry thoughts, breathe louder and deeper.
If your attention is 100% on your breath, your mind will shut off, and the crunched-up angry thoughts will float away.
What will your child do while you are doing all this breathing?
First, he or she may just stop doing whatever he or she was doing that was pushing your buttons, because broken buttons are no fun to push. Second, he or she may try harder to push your buttons, because broken buttons can also be frustrating. That’s okay, chances are you can out-breathe your button pusher. If you can’t, that’s okay, too, because you can always start again. Third, your little button-pusher may get a little worried about you. You are behaving in a way he or she is not used to, and it may be a little disconcerting. Keep breathing. Breathe as if you are eating chocolate, enjoying every single melty bit of it in your mouth, down your throat, in your belly. Breathe joyously. Breathe determinedly. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Remember that breathing does not mean that you don’t DO anything else. It just means that you don’t do anything IN ANGER. And that is the ultimate key. You may still not know what to do (if this is you, join us for Big Picture Parenting 2015 and learn What to Do Instead of Rewards, Punishment, Praise, and Shame) but there’s a good chance you’ll come up with something much better to do than what you would have done otherwise. And you’ll do it from a place of peace, a place of understanding, and a place of kindness.
Start breathing now. The more you breathe, intentionally, every day, all day, the easier it will be to breathe in the moment. The more your mind is used to existing without thoughts, the easier it will be for your mind to go there when your buttons are being pushed.
Your child will thank you for it.
If you need help short-circuiting your buttons, check out Big Picture Parenting 2015 or call me for a little coaching… 403-607-1463. I’d love to support you!
I love meeting people and hearing their stories – and the cool thing is, people seem to know it, and often tell me the coolest stuff within minutes of meeting me. A couple of weeks ago, I met a mom and she started pouring out her heart in the first five minutes after we met.
And she said the most amazing thing – something I’d written in my “marketing” for the Women’s Wellness Circles that I do (I never think of it as marketing – it’s more like inviting people to a party and looking for the ones the party is perfect for). I felt like she’d read what I wrote.
Here’s what she said:
“It’s like, I’ve done the work thing, I’ve done the wife thing, I’ve done the mom thing – now who the hell am I?“
I wrote something pretty close to that 6 years ago, because I could feel that story around me in the moms I was sharing with every day. No one ever said it quite like that, but I could feel it – and over years in our precious Circles, it has been amazing to feel the ripples of that conversation through our group and out into the families and the world beyond the Circle.
In our last Friday night Circle, we asked a key question, and I want to offer this question to you right now.
Here’s the question: “What can I do, right now, to feel fully alive?”
This question was shared with me recently by a wise woman I know, and I’ve checked in with this question, over and over, since. And guess what? Asking this question, then acting on the answer, in the moment, puts me in touch with me. When I feel fully alive, I know who I am, I know what I want, and I have access to that deep place in myself that shows me the path that is really and truly mine. I am happier, and wiser, and more peaceful.
When we asked this question in our group, I noticed that there were some consistent trends in the immediate responses. Very often, feeling fully alive meant moving, stretching, relaxing the body. Often it meant connecting with nature, being outside. Sometimes it meant making a sound, singing along, dancing, expressing something, creating a sensual moment. Often it meant taking a deep, deep breath.
Then someone said, “I’d have to really plan ahead to feel fully alive.” We all laughed, and this has been ringing in my head ever since.
The thing that struck me was that we don’t feel fully alive when we’re in our heads – thinking, planning, organizing, judging what’s right or wrong around us, or within us. We feel fully alive when we’re aware of being in our bodies – right now – and – we are ALWAYS in our bodies, so we ALWAYS have access to feeling fully alive. Even just giving attention to our body for one second, right now, will bring life force to the surface. Moving into the body frees the mind to release and relax and be creative – to feel who you are.
Years ago (back when I had time to really plan ahead to feel fully alive), I attended a 5-day meditation workshop where I experienced a profound moment of connection – in a flash I could hold in my awareness, all at once, the thoughts of my mind, the feelings of my body, and the deep knowing of my heart. It was amazing. I felt expansive and light. And I noticed it and remembered it because so often in life we are in our heads – our minds, so far from our bodies, and without access to our heart or intuition or spirit or whatever that other part of self is – the part that our body awareness connects us to.
So that’s it – my gift to you today is this question. Who you are is right here, right now, in every moment, living to be breathed and felt and known. Enjoy her! Enjoy him! Eventually, if you practice this enough, you may find, like I have, that it happens more and more automatically, that you can hold your whole experience in your awareness – while your children are climbing on your head, melting down, or making you late, while your house is in utter disarray and while you make it through another day without a moment to THINK.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s not the moments to THINK that matter.
If you wanna practice feeling fully alive, connecting to you, being who you are….read on!
The Y.E.S! Weekend Retreat for Mothers invites mothers in all stages of the journey to return to themselves, to rediscover this internal knowing – the compass that guides them and the strength that carries them.
Join my dear friend and wise woman, Michelle Haywood of Womankind Doula, and I for a soulful and nurturing weekend ofYen, Energy and Spirit to ignite all things powerful and beautiful in your journey as mother and in your heart as a woman.
Together we will uncover a vision for your life filled with passion, purpose and self love.
Meet a diverse circle of mothers like you who want to take this time to reconnect with their heartfelt desires, their intuition and their joy.
I’d love to have YOU there!
Register before October 6th to receive a Luscious Take-Home Treat Bundle, designed to nurture body, mind and spirit!
Here’s the link again!
As this year’s Princess Training Camp draws nearer, I am thinking about some of the key messages that I want to share with the girls, in a positive, light and fun way. Here are some of them:
Our girls need to know that their bodies, personalities, strengths, and beliefs are unique, and that this is A Really Good Thing.
Our girls need to know that each of us, in our individual & quirky & chosen & born-that-way kind of ways, is exactly perfect, and that we can collude with our friends to create supportive, loving Circles of appreciation and respect, where each of us can shine and share the yearnings and beauty and passion and power and love in our hearts.
Our girls need to know that being a princess is about serving, not about being served.
Our girls need to know that beauty is powerful, and that physical beauty is not about erasing, hiding, correcting, or photoshopping. It’s about being who you are, sharing your you-ness, whether that means frilly dresses and jewels, or plain comfy jeans, or funky unmatched socks and a bright orange t-shirt, today, because every day is different, and how you feel and how you want to show up in the world can change daily and hourly.
Our girls need to know that the purpose of make-up is to draw attention to the eyes, because the eyes are the windows to our souls, and the doors to connecting with other people’s hearts.
Our girls need to know that dressing up in fancy clothes and wearing make-up and doing our hair can be Fun, but that it is not a requirement for beauty or happiness or love.
Our girls need to know that we live in the most privileged time in history, that we have access to so much more than most “real” princesses ever had, that gratitude is the key to happiness, and that our greatest privilege is that we can make a difference in the lives of others.
Go here to find out all about Princess Training Camp for your 6-9 year old daughter, and please post below about what messages you think our girls need to hear!
Here are three ways to just get it happening, even when it feels impossible.
1) Start really, really, really small.
I remember the very first Wellness Circle I facilitated, several years ago. I was co-facilitating with two moms of teens who had worked with Wellness Circles before, and they were leading a conversation about self-care. One of them gave the example of taking a bath with a book and a glass of wine, surrounded by candles.
I looked around the room and observed that the women in the room, many of whom had very small children, had all glazed over. The candlelit bath felt HUGE to them – totally unobtainable, and as the single mom of a small child myself, I could definitely relate. I mentioned what I was feeling, and that I often was unable to find the time to even wash my face, and set as my personal goal, “Splash water in the general direction of my face once a day.”
There was an absolute wave of relief in the room. NOW this was within reach, and moms were adding stuff to the list like, “Brush teeth,” and “Get dressed before 3 pm.” We were laughing pretty loud at how completely unhygienic we were as a group, and we were starting really, really, really small, and it felt good.
And here’s the really cool part. I committed to splashing water in the general direction of my face once a day. And there were some days that that was all I could do. BUT I took those moments in, I reveled in them, I honoured myself in that small way, and it warmed me up. And, on other days, I suddenly discovered that having a specific, almost symbolic, plan for self-care opened up the time and space to actually wash my face. Pretty soon, I was washing my face most days, and finding other ways to take moments to care for myself.
2) Start big, and schedule it in.
I shared this story at a Circle this year and one mom said, “That story makes me feel so resentful. I feel like I’m always minimizing, cutting back, and making myself the last priority.” So here’s another possibility. START BIG. Commit whatever time, effort, money, and brain-space that is needed and make a plan to take care of you. Depending on your children’s ages and your family situation, it may be something that feels enormous, like a weekend away, it might be a weekly dance or yoga class, or a weekly (or daily?!) candlelit bath. You may need to take a stand. You may need to enlist your whole family’s support.
3) Remember that this is an experiment.
Most of us are no good at self-care. We don’t know what we need. We don’t know how to ask for support. We feel selfish and stiff and awkward taking a stand and that makes it all feel stressful and empty even if we do get to take time for ourselves. This is an experiment! You are learning something new, and it may take time and practice to figure out what you need, how to ask for support, and how to feel good about it all. You’ll be acting in the world and inside of you to make it all come together.
Don’t fall into the trap of getting stressed if it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time. Thank yourself wholeheartedly for cheerfully dealing with any issues, changes, or even a cancellation of the plans. You did the best you could. Stay committed to loving yourself! You deserve appreciation and gratitude and love, and sometimes things don’t work as we planned. If the first time doesn’t work out, recommit, start again, or try another way, just like you would if your child’s birthday party somehow got cancelled.
If you really want to get this self-care thing on track, check out this blog post about Why Self-Care is So Darn Hard and this one on The Key to Self-Care That Nobody Talks About. Then follow this link to find out all about Women’s Wellness Circles: Exploring Experiences and Expressions of Motherhood. I’d love to share your journey!
Please share about how you have experimented with self-care, big or small, below – what works, and what doesn’t!
Thank you for sharing<3.
Okay, so here’s the thing. We KNOW that if we don’t know how, or aren’t any good at taking care of ourselves, we get drained and resentful, AND we can’t teach others what we need, and so, the situation spirals.
The people that love you – including your children – will miraculously get way better at supporting you when you start to figure out what you need, and act on it, showing others that you are worthy of this kind of care. And, even if they don’t, YOU will have made a breakthrough. You will feel different when you ACT AS IF you are worthy of the kind of care you need to thrive. In fact, you may even begin to thrive!
So, that’s important – deciding that YOU are going to take responsibility for your own self-care, not expecting others to do it first.
Here’s how it works…
One mom who was participating in a Wellness Circle once said she would never hesitate to jump out of bed to get her husband a glass of water, but wouldn’t do the same for herself. I love this example, because I find that when I’m thinking about taking care of me, it really helps me to imagine myself as two different people, Me that needs care (the one lying in bed, thirsty), and Me that is capable of providing care (the one getting up to get the glass of water).
I will tell you that it took me a loooooong time to figure out that when I clean my house, the Me that doesn’t like cleaning my house can do it as a gift for the Me that loves a clean house. I’m still working on this, but I will also tell you that the yummy, appreciated, and grateful feeling I have TOWARDS MYSELF when I see my house clean doubles the pleasure. Now the Me that is capable of providing care is valued and appreciated for my effort by the Me that needs care, AND I’m experiencing the pleasure of my clean house. So, both Me’s feel loved. Cool, right?
This also works in the bathtub or shower. Take a minute to get out of your head, and into your body. Actually experience your own touch as you massage your foot or scrub your arms. Feel yourself as the One Who Gives and the One Who Receives. Feel this physically – getting into the hand that is massaging your foot, and then into the foot that is receiving the massage.
Can you feel how beautiful and healthy this other kind of spiral is? It’s all full of yummy gratitude and love – things that you need, and deserve.
Gratitude and love are your birthright.
In my next blog post, I will share some tips for getting started on self-care while still keeping all those other balls in the air, so that all the needed planning and time and money and lack of brain-space stop getting in the way of you taking care of you.
If you haven’t read my last blog post on getting past the blocks that stop you from self-care, go here.
If you want to take a giant leap towards taking better care of yourself, check out our Women’s Wellness Circles. I’d love to share some peace and ease with you.
And please comment below! I’d love to hear how YOU take care of YOU!
You know those times when you open your mouth and out comes….your mother!!??
My mom is awesome, but unfortunately, the times I sound like her tend not to remind me of when she is her very most awesome. Grrrr….
Sometimes, the ways we sound like our parents just make us laugh and shake our heads, but sometimes we’re stuck in a cycle that we really want to break, to support our children better, to find ways of parenting that are different than what we experienced.
When you can consistently parent in keeping with YOUR chosen values, not your parents’, you’ve broken the cycle and offered your children possibilities of new horizons.
The very first step in the process of parenting in keeping with your own values is taking a good look at what your values are, what exactly you want to offer your children and what messages you want them to absorb from you. Then comes the tricky part – determining what kind of parenting choices are most likely to give those specific gifts to your children.
To help you along in the process of clarifying your own parenting values, and to help you start your parenting off on the right foot in 2014, I’d love to offer you a gift copy of the Full Circle Parenting Peace of Mind Parenting Inventory. It will help you examine your parenting from your own perspective, and figure out what matters most to you in your relationship with your child. AND it’s the first step in my Big Picture Parenting Class starting on January 19th, so it will give you some time to think about some of the Really Big Stuff we’ll be talking about there.
To get your gift copy, just send me an email requesting the Peace of Mind Parenting Inventory.
To register for Big Picture Parenting, or for more information, GO HERE.
Or, just give me a call…403-607-1463. I love to hear from you!
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a number of moms share with me that they feel terribly guilty because they aren’t any “good” at playing with their kids. Sometimes they don’t like it, sometimes they feel intimidated by it, sometimes they get bored by it, sometimes they feel there is some sort of skill involved that they just don’t have.
I have a couple of things to say about this. First, it’s important for people, not just children, to “play”. We all need time to just explore, try new things, do whatever we feel, say whatever we feel, be silly, knit or build or bake stuff, in an open-ended situation that doesn’t need to produce a specific result.
It’s possible that you don’t do much playing at all, in any area of your life. If that’s the case, I encourage you to tap into your own intuition, to get back in touch with those urges to do something silly, doodle, crack the ice on the top of the puddle, make a collage, or invent a new recipe. You may need to schedule yourself some time to do “nothing” and see what you feel like doing after you’ve let go of the need to do all the things on your list. Even if you start with one minute of unscheduled time that you intend to allow for potential play-like thoughts, you might be surprised at what happens.
If you do play already in your life, it’s very possible that how you play may not be anything like how your child plays, so you may find it tricky to play the way your child does.
And, yes, your child does need to play. But, here it is: your job is to make sure that your child’s environment provides him or her with all he or she needs to thrive.
You do not need to, and cannot, be, the one who fulfills every one of your child’s needs.
Here’s the thing – your child will benefit most from seeing you enthusiastic, engaged, and excited about life. You may be fascinated by architecture, knitting, math, baking, building, or history. Every person is different, and it doesn’t take a baby very long to figure that out. Babies will notice that THIS person cuddles, THIS person plays, THIS person sings, etc.
So, if you don’t love to play, DON’T PLAY with your child. Instead, share something with your child that you both love doing, and share your own enthusiasm with your child. Chances are, you will find yourself playing along the way, just not with toys, and maybe not in the way you are used to thinking about play.
So, let go of the guilt, and let go of the expectation on yourself. Instead, do what you love, and let the joy follow.
403-607-1463 << Call me anytime:)