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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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

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

I’m not sorry you’re sad.

I’ve had the revelation pretty recently on my parenting journey that even though I’m pretty sensitive and mindful of their emotions, I to stop telling my kids “I’m sorry you’re sad” if they are crying or having a rough day because being sad isn’t a bad thing, it’s a perfectly normal, healthy and helpful emotion. Just like being frustrated or mad or anything else! I don’t want my kids to think there is something wrong with being anything other than happy.

I had a recent conversation with Ezekiel that went like this:

Z: “MOM, I FEEL SAD”

Me: “It’s okay to feel sad. I don’t try and fix you when you feel happy, so why would I try and fix you when you feel sad? It’s just another emotion and all emotions are important I am here with you, by you and for you, always, to sort through whatever you are feeling, otherwise just let me know what you need.”

It’s true, kid’s don’t need help with feeling happy, they are inherently happy, they are inherently good and they are inherently emotional and that is a beautiful thing. Throwing a tantrum on the floor is a wonderful outlet! Imagine how good we would feel if we could instantly feel our emotions, instantly process and move on. It’s pretty interesting that we have been conditioned to punish children for feeling their feelings exactly how they do because of etiquette or social structure or what have you when we really should be learning from them how to feel.

So if my kid is mad, if my kid is crying, if my kid is happy or sad, how fantastic! Teach me more about holding space for emotion guilt free, my love! I welcome your emotional wisdom and will stop apologizing for it. I will stop making it make me feel uncomfortable and figure out, truly, why it did in the first place. Let’s talk about it, let’s work together but I’m not sorry you are sad.

 

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Fuck off, don’t touch me.

Earlier this year, we had just arrived at the beach, Ezekiel was walking about 10 steps ahead of me when I saw a very large, drunk man approach Z, he reached down and picked Z up! Ezekiel was terrified, screaming “MOM, MOM!!!!!” I was sprinting, it all happened so fast, but it was also in slow motion. I lowered my voice about 15 octaves and demanded that he put Z down immediately. I don’t think this person meant to relocate or do anything malicious, but it scared Ezekiel, so automatically, this is not okay. He stumbled down the side walk and left.

I made sure Ezekiel knew that every way Z reacted was perfect and that what had happened was absolutely NOT okay. It is never okay for someone to touch your body without your permission and I wanted to empower and equip Z, so never again would that fear be felt.

That’s when I decided screaming the phrase “FUCK OFF, DON’T TOUCH ME” At the top of your lungs was a solution. And we practiced. And we talked about reading people’s energies and looking at their intentions before they even get near you. Approaching a family with kids if you are lost? Great idea. Someone sketchy coming up to you if they think you are alone, you know how to feel that out because you are strong and capable and smart. And if ANYONE touches you without your permission and you feel unsafe, you yell right in their face and you yell until they listen because, I’m not far behind.

And it has been helpful, it has been empowering and I will forever be grateful for words that scare people and make them pay attention, because when you are small, sometimes words are all you have.

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