Not all heros wear capes. Sometimes they wear diapers and have tantrums.

If you begin your parenting journey thinking your kids ruined your “good times,” your friendships, your old way of life, you are going to have a bad time. You must realize that we agreed to this shift. That is why our children come to us, because wether we know it or not, we called them here.

To bring negativity to this dynamic is to resist the opportunity that our children so daringly bring. The beautiful and powerful shift to propel you forward in your life.

 

I invite you to see the parent/child dynamic as I have come to in my studies, in my awakening, in my removal of the mask over my eyes, you would do nothing but thank your children. All day long. Instead of perpetuate the low perspective that they drain you in any way. When you look at it in that way, it is the filter of which you will see everything about them.  This is the breeding ground for exhaustion and resentment. What a disservice to our greatest teachers.

They come in knowing everything about the most authentic version of ourselves and yet we insist on being bogged down by defeat we have learned to accept over the years. The not being good enough, the settling for mediocre relationships, the dysfunction we have accrued. We hang onto it with clenched fists and our children try so hard to transmute it into love and all we can see is that they take from us. They are not taking!! They are putting in you in touch with your limitless, it has been taken from you, forgotten, taught out of you. All they ask is that we let it go and all we can say is shit like “terrible twos”

No. They are moving up into their Solar Plexus, exploring their personal power. Look how beautifully demanding that child is. Is it time for you to speak your needs? Is it time for you to stop doing shit you hate? To flat out refuse participation? Is it time for you to scream no or scream to be seen by life? Holy shit, thank you child, for changing everything. For drawing attention to the bullshit I have been putting up with for a lifetime. They will cause such a rift between you and it, you will clash like thunder. Let it go.20170908_163808.jpg

Recentering. Healing wounds through parenting and travel.

Recentering. Healing wounds through parenting and travel.

I’ve been on this huge journey this summer in terms of ways I can be better with my kids, I got into this uncomfortable “normal” a few months ago where I was in a mindset that my 4 and 5 year old were just annoying me. Not fair to them, not fair to me. So we went on a trip together and I got off social media and I just devoted all my time to being grateful for them, thanking them and being present. It was just the four of us for 2 months and it was magic, being able to be mindful in shifting my perspective. We got back and the kids did a couple really shitty, expensive fucking up of things and while I didn’t yell, I said some really mean things. Because, and this is important, you can be mean without yelling or hitting (I’m calling you out “gentle parenting”) and you can be firm in order to be heard a little loudly, with respect. (which never includes hitting a person, just to be clear, violence has no place in parenting, even if you call it swatting, etc.)

Finding a balance between “Hey, things cost money” and financial shaming; I never want them to feel like they don’t deserve nice things or that things are more important than how I treat them. So I had to put myself in check again in a major way and seek support within and without of myself because if I am ever not being the parent I want to be, that is on me. I decide how I react and I have done far too much emotional work to keep reacting from this old way of thinking, these old patterns, particularly this time: that money is scarce or on a pedestal and I don’t deserve it and I should feel guilty when I spend it like my mom did. I deserve things. My kids deserve things. We can save for what we want, we can make mistakes. They are kids who do shitty things in learning how to person and it’s my job to grow with these instances instead of project my insecurities and fears on them. If there is anything I am unhappy with in my parenting, I do not sulk, I do not lay around in guilt. I get better, I seek more tools, I ask for help. That is my responsibility.

We work really well together, because I sit with them and apologize, I ask for their input, how can I help you?! The other day. Escher punched Ezekiel, so I pulled Escher away from Z and that hurt Escher’s feelings. Ezekiel felt confident enough to say, even through tears of being hurt “Mom, you didn’t have to do that. You hurt his feelings. Just talk to him next time, okay, just talk to him.” And I said “Thank you. I will, next time I will, that was a really insightful thing to say, I appreciate your perspective.” They help me help them, they are comfortable opposing me and bringing up new ways and I make myself be open to it without labeling it back talk, nobody grows that way. The child shrinks into themselves, losing their voice and the parent continues reacting out of childhood trauma. Don’t stifle your own growth and that of your children.

We all chose each other. When the kids fight, I remind them. Sometimes Z says “I dunno why I chose Escher” When feeling particularly mad and I just frankly say, “Welp, you did, so I guess we will find out in this lifetime. Seems to me like he is already teaching you some important lessons about patience, what a gift.”

I love travelling with my children, through miles of road and miles of life. I love the dynamic we have created. People say “You are so lucky, your kids are so good.” And yes, they are. All kids are inherently good. But this took work, emotional toil, for me to be able to create a platform for this to play out. For their respect and goodness and loveliness not to be stifled by my ego.

 

It’s my job.

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I have been working to reconnect with my kids, to get out of the cycle of consistently being annoyed by them, like they are happening TO me.

I have shifted from annoyance to gratitude.

Thank you for being here.
Thank you for choosing me.
Thank you for showing me where I need to improve.

THANK YOU.

And it has changed my life. Realizing at a deeper level that all it takes is a shift of perspective and that I, as an adult, have the power and responsibility to do just that.

For example, it was end of day, I was exhausted, we had been out all day in the sun, I was thirsty, tired, hungry and touched out. I was waiting for my brother to come pick us up, which was taking a long time. Instead of focusing on all of that, I just held my girl. And I sang to her and we laughed and I had the best 40 minutes of my life, just being present. Not stressing out or being annoyed. And literally all it took was for me to change my mind. To shift my perspective.

It’s like I tell mothers: Yes. Pregnancy changes your body. You know what it also does? Shows you your strength, allows you to choose a new way of life, let’s you see how powerful and capable you are. All of these are true, so why focus on the negative over anything else? You are only torturing yourself.

But to be all here. To be all available and grateful to my kids, is a work in progress and it’s everything.

Like when Ezekiel was -so mad- at me for not buying a certain thing, Z said “DON’T TALK TO ME. I NEVER WANT TO HEAR A THING YOU SAY EVER AGAIN.”

And I was thinking, “I don’t really want to talk anyway, so I will give you space, whatever.”

Many dirty looks and noises of discontent ensued.

and about 5 minutes later, Z bursts into tears.

Repeating “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I just want to hold you.”

Which I gladly do. As Ezekiel sobs into my chest uncontrollably for the next few minutes as I say “Honey, nothing you do would make me mad at you, nothing you do will make me love you less.”

And that was that, no yelling or raving or punishments or “how dare you!!!” from me, Z just needed some time and needed to be seen, heard and held. That is my job.

It is my job to connect with my children. Why do I force them to listen to me when I don’t listen to them most of the time? What makes me so important that I can overpower them and force them to listen but if they do the same, I explode? No longer will I engage in this manipulation.

Yelling at someone doesn’t even feel good to me, it’s not who I am, but I still fell into that cycle. I wanted to be heard, too. But I realize, that is my inner child crying out and who’s job is it to hold and heal that inner child? ME. MINE.  Not my children or my partner or my dad or my sister…just me.

I feel like I have taken another layer of blinders off, I am growing in new ways. I am happy, my kids are happy. Ezekiel told me about 4,000 times today “I love you mom. I love you so much.” A child who feels heard, seen and understood. My child, who trusts me and encourages me to heal myself. Our unit is so much better for it.

 

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The desire to grow propels me into challenge

The desire to grow propels me into challenge.

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I didn’t have words for it before. I thought life was cruel and the world was unfair, I was in a broken boat on a raging sea. I was huddled in the bottom corner of the cabin, rocking. Crying. Expecting someone to be at the helm for me. At some point, I was not emotionally able to run my own life and it showed, in diagnosis after diagnosis, in depression and crippling anxiety in loss of my eye sight, which I fully attribute to not wanting to see the awful world around me. I wanted to disappear. And things did disappear for me. I needed help to live, I needed prescriptions and doctors and thank goodness for them, they held my hand while I navigated maybe thinking about getting out of my corner, out of pure survival mode.

The desire to grow still pushed me toward challenge. Violent ends and broken heart. Why was this happening to me? I resisted seeing any good. I was broken, was going to be broken and since that’s all I saw, that is where I propelled myself, not seeing my magic, my strength, my beauty…at all. Surrounded in self loathing and relationships that only affirmed my failure or at least kept me preoccupied from my immense inner turmoil. I was pulled into other people’s chaos to avoid looking at who I was. I cared about celebrities and how they lived their lives. I cared about what a stranger was wearing. What so and so was doing or dating. I participated in the culture of shame, at any cost, to avoid myself.

The desire to grow pushed me forward, but this time with an unlikely ally, armed with a crumbling, toxic relationship a positive pregnancy test and a healthy dose of freaking out, I was propelled toward challenge. I didn’t know what it felt like to be better. So I tried the rudimentary version of what I knew. Become the happy family, real or not. This could work, it will fix everything! But my teacher came to me. On January 6, 2012. The date that would propel me to a place I never even knew existed. My baby created a crevasse between my past and my future. Between my pain and my joy. Between old and new. However toxic your comfort zone may be, it IS your comfort zone and leaving is fucking terrifying. Life was still happening to me. I failed. I failed at having a family. I failed at love. I failed in keeping others happy. I didn’t know what was in store for me, I just knew that I was a miserable failure. The desire to grow pushed me forward.

When you ask most people why they wanted to become a parent or have children, it will be something about them “I wanted to make a little version of my husband.” Or “I wanted to make a little me.” Etc. I am sure beyond a doubt that the only reason I am a parent is because I was chosen by my children, by the souls that they are to guide them on earth. To learn our lessons, we are a perfect match, we are equals, I don’t teach them, they show me what really matters.

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There is nothing that propels you toward growth than having a soul choose you to be a caretaker. It’s a scramble to get your shit together because if you refuse to change and grow, the dis ease and dysfunction that comes from that decision is palpable.

When you know you are chosen, you parent from a place of honor, of thankfulness as opposed to ownership or thinking you know more or a place of dictatorship. But back on track…

Only in looking back do I see the steps I took that lead me here. To a place where I happen to life and it no longer happens to me. Things don’t happen to me, I happen to things. My intense desire to grow pushed me toward challenges and the moment I figured that out, everything changed for me. I was able to take the powerful position at the helm of my life. I was able to examine why I brought this into my life, look for lessons, be excited, even. At the thought of another growth spurt in not only enduring, but flowing with this challenge. I no longer wake up afraid, tired and shell shocked. I know that anything that happens to me is for my highest and best good because I will it to be so. There is no Universe to test me, there is no God to run my life, there is no Satan to torment me. There is only me and there is only you and us. I honor my fellow human beings by being me entirely, by loving and truly seeing me. By the growth I have the pleasure of experiencing. No matter what the package presents itself as, the need to grow propels me toward challenge. I am ready, I take in the world with anticipation. I am the creator, I “yes” and “no” the things that come into my life. I am the driver of this motherfucking boat.

Love to you,

Amethyst

Ditching Discipline

A year ago, I wrote a blog on discipline. I was going to reshare it until I realized that my approach has changed a lot. (Here it is) I had the basic concept, but as a person with no model of how I am parenting my kids to follow, I am always learning and figuring out how to parent my children based on their individual needs.
Update. I don’t discipline them. I believe that all discipline is rooted in manipulation. I believe in natural consequences and I believe that it is my job to keep -myself- in check if the kids explore in a way I would not prefer. Why would I not prefer this? Where is this “rule” coming from? Does it make sense or is it time to restructure?

I am also also always asking my kids to help me understand their point of view. Mostly with Ezekiel, because Z speaks. With Escher, I do a lot of looking for context clues because he doesn’t speak as often.

If there is something that I want them to do, it will already make sense, otherwise I don’t ask. I communicate why “Please clean your room, so you can enjoy being in there and there is room to actually play and you are respecting your things by finding a place for them to go.” I don’t ask a million times. I just put it it out there. If they need help, I help them. If I notice the room is getting and remaining a mess, we will have a conversation “Do we need to go through and donate some of your toys? I am sensing that you are feeling overwhelmed by the clean up.” And usually Z says yes and we work together to see what is no longer welcome in our space and what is not. This is teaching them to self regulate. I don’t yell over and over, that increasing my frustration and I inevitably lash out, but to know that the root cause of a messy room may be because they are feeling overwhelmed by the amount brings about a really important perspective. Compassion. Understanding. This is what we are here for. As far as rules, I only exist to enforce safety. This is safety of emotion, body, mind. Sometimes, if I sense Z may be a little overwhelmed due to exhaustion, I’ll suggest a nap, lay with them, etc. That is safe for mind and body. Not based on my anxieties “you can’t climb that slide because you may get mildly hurt!!!” No. Natural consequences. They may get mildly hurt, but -I- don’t have to say or do anything to protect them from this possible fate, when was the last time my parents telling me not to do something actually made me not do it and not the opposite? Literally never. What did though, was the natural consequence of my choice. Every action has a reaction. And if my reactions in any way made my kids recluse from my voice or touch, that is going to create problems in the long run. Children need to learn to self regulate. If a child is being told what to do all the time, they cease to self regulate knowing that their parents will tell them (over and over) what to do and what not to do, they don’t have to think of giving the “right” choice any thought.

It is hard shifting away from manipulation. “You can have this if you do this!” The paradigm that we are only “good” or “worthy” based on our behavior. I have stayed up many nights with this on my mind. Like I said to start, I have no parenting model of this kind, even gentle parenting uses different tactics to yield the same toxic results. I am starting from nothing and always learning. I do what feels right for us as a family and discipline has been one and will be one where I constantly check myself. “Why.” Why am I doing this like this, what is this rooted in? Fear? Manipulation? Guilt? Time to reevaluate and have an open conversation with the kids included. Ask for their perspective and what they need. Work as a team. Work out of understanding and love. While dismantling the oppressive, manipulative, society encouraged parenting model.

Parenting is a series of relearning or it is the continuation of an unconscious, dysfunctional cycle, ultimately you decide.

Please ask questions if you have them ❤

Amethyst

Choose yourself. Yes, always.

I learn a lot from my kids, that is obvious. But this perspective hit me today.
Choose yourself first. Yes, always.

You hear all the time “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

But as a parent, it is so easy to care for everyone but you. Everybody has a need from sun up to sun down and you can go a week or more before you realize you exist too.

But kids. Kids choose themselves first. If you even see a child’s reaction to not getting something they want immediately, you know this is true. They only choose themselves. And they STILL have room or make room to love so purely and unconditionally. They live and love with passion, they still love YOU. In a child’s mind, living for other people is not an innate reaction, they meet all of their needs and have no problem asking for help if they need something they cannot make happen themselves.

This is how I want to live.

With knowing that addressing yourself first, especially as a mother, is not narcissistic. It is not selfish. It is completely 100% the opposite. It is NECESSARY.

Self Care is something that we have to remind ourselves of because it is taught out of us that out needs matter too. We function out of the dysfunction that has been ingrained in us. We must give, we must be selfless, we must sacrifice. We see where this has gotten us. Depression, run down, raw, angry, overwhelmed. We ARE empty and raw at the same time. Was this the goal? Have we made it to the pinnacle of those unconscious ideals? Yes. This is what it looks like to put others first. Living for other people, no matter how good your intentions, will destroy you.

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Look at the happiness in your children. From living only from the love they have for themselves and you and chicken nuggets and their favorite toy and and and and…

 

operating out of love instead of lack, out of confidence instead of insecurity.  This is how we all start, until we are lied to. That we aren’t already enough. That we must DO or GIVE to be enough.

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Love. Self. Love. Is everything. You matter, you are everything. Treat yourself accordingly and your life will be magic. Ask me how I know….by watching my kids.

What it looks like to drop expectations with kids.


Whenever I make plans with another person, I have two strategies, one where I don’t tell the children at all who we are going to see until we see them, it’s exciting, it’s fun and usually I use this particular strategy when the person is planning on coming to our house. The reason I don’t tell them who is coming over is that if plans are canceled or something comes up for the person, I don’t have to go through the disappointment of the failed expectation. The day goes on as usual, I text “That’s totally fine, see you another day!” And wish them well. Because that is genuinely how I feel
 It’s easy to get caught up in being offended when something goes different than expected. “We HAD A PLAN!” “NOW MY KIDS ARE GONNA BE DISAPPOINTED, WAY TO GO!” But it doesn’t have to be like this. We don’t have control over what other people do. We don’t have control over traffic or the weather or anything but ourselves, which brings me to my next approach:

I tell the kids where we are going and who we are meeting, but I also say “These are OUR plans, we are going to -this place- FOR SURE and we MAY see -so and so- BUT if they don’t end up coming, it’s no big deal, right? We will still have the best time, because we aren’t in charge of other people’s lives. Only our own!”

And then naturally, kids are very excited.

 We have had this happen several times where the person we are meeting had had to cancel. The kids have fun either way, Z usually says “MOM, THEY CAME, THEY REALLY DID COME, I KNEW IT, YAY” and then we have the best time or if not, Z might bring it up “I wish I could have saw -so and so-, but maybe another time!” And I say, absolutely right, we still had a good time, we can see them again soon.

This helps in a lot of ways.
I avoid having any anger at my friends, they have lives and shit happens, when I decide that it doesn’t affect me, even when we made plans, then it doesn’t. I don’t have to have any conversation that starts with “I’m sorry” or “can you believe it, they aren’t coming…” Because I don’t EXPECT either way. I love seeing my friends and when they do manage to get their brood out like I managed to get mine, it is wonderful and fills my heart. But the opposite doesn’t happen if they cancel.
 In telling the kids that we made a plan, but sometimes plans change,  I am empowering them, that their emotions and whether it’s a “good” or a “bad” day is only up to them and absolutely no one else.

Don’t place your happiness in anyone else’s hands. Only let your “village” enhance the happiness you already create. Life is beautiful when you claim your power. This is what that looks like day to day.

Amethyst