Monday, July 26, 2010

"I am that Mom, the one who . . . "

Inspired by Ronnie (who was inspired by Flo) **giggle giggle**........

I've been thinking about this for quite some time, because the reactions of other parents to my intense child often intrigue, surprise, and flat out entertain me. In particular, the reactions of other mothers (and occasionally fathers) who watch as my child is free to express herself any way she chooses in any particular moment, assuming that no one is getting physically hurt/feeling unsafe. :P

I am that Mom, the one who stands with her feet rooted to the ground- often silent, sometimes quiet, (occasionally not) - while her daughter comes at her with fists flailing, legs kicking, words blaring and temper flying.

I am that Mom, who seems to ignore the other adult in the room, who is telling her kid that "[insert various behavior/emotion] is not a nice way to treat your mom."

I am that Mom, who takes a deep breath and fills herself with presence, while her child expresses her various emotion in the best way that she knows how, in that exact moment.

I am that Mom, who knows that her kids intense emotions will not be there for long, and knows that if she can maintain presence, the behavior will shift, ebb and flow, quite quickly. And that LATER, they can talk about it.

I am that Mom, who, after all is said and done, is often caught off guard by how FAST those emotions can come, and go.

I am that mom, who is filled with gratitude and appreciation when she remembers to remain calm on the outside, and sometimes on the inside too, when such things occur.


I am that mom, who remembers that there will certainly be a next time when she can do 'better', when her presence does falter, and her own emotions get the best of her. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peaceful parenting, for *me*, not my child......

The other day one of my friends posted this on a yahoo group:
" I love to see my "progress" reflected back to me through my experience of him."

She was talking about how when she does her internal work, it brings about changes not just within her, but outside of her as well, in "him". I agree- I have seen this happen countless times, and sometimes to the extent that the change in someone I'm connected to seems almost miraculous.

I appreciate the "side effects" that can come from doing my internal work.
I have seen "magical" things occur after I've done some clearing away of old stuff. In general, any time I take responsibility for the change I want to see in the my life, an internal shift usually occurs, and is often matched by an external shift. Reading Michael Brown's The Presence Process brought about enormous shifts in my life, internally and externally. More recently, matrix reimprinting, has also brought about a lot of external change to match the internal changes, and it kinda blows me out of the water each time it happens because I am not expecting it *at all*.

I think that for me, the key seems to be me doing my own internal work, with no external assumptions, expectations, or strings attached. ie, I am doing this work FOR ME.

I can see how doing things with other intent in mind backfires on me.....
ie, I am peaceful parenting *so that* I have a peaceful child.

I unknowingly jumped in this bandwagon and let me tell you that the results of me "peacefully parenting" have not always yielded a "peaceful child." *bwg*
I read on various unschooling lists how great it is that when you treat your kids with respect that these kids will also be respectful. That when you are peaceful, your kids are peaceful. I have learned "the hard way" (lol), that setting up the intention that way was a way for me to covertly get what *I* wanted- which was a "product" or a kid that I wanted to be the way I wanted her to be.

Now I am working to be the kind of parent/person that I want to be, for ME. I know that my kid is not here to "reward" me for my choices of parenting, or to make me feel good, ect and so on.

Sometimes I still cringe when I see a person post about how great their kids are and they attribute it to how great they parent. My belief about all this is that each kid and parent have their own path in this world and these paths manifest differently for each parent.
In other words, I still understand the link between peaceful parent and peaceful child, but I feel that it is not always as self apparent as one might believe. and I think that for myself, my intent and my own internal work is "where it's at"- not the desire to produce x, y or z in my child.......

I find myself nodding as I've re-read this- it seems pretty clear. Do your internal work for you. Don't assume that by doing X, your kid is also going to do x. But this parenting stuff is tricky, and even being conscious of the internal desire to work on my own stuff, and not "change" or "produce" a certain kind of kid, does not always mean that I'm living that desire.

I still find myself being kind to my kid, because ultimately I want her to be kind to me. I am sometimes respectful of her desires and her "wants" because ultimately I want her to respect me, and my wants. And at some level, I want her to take responsibility for "making me feel worthy" as a human being, when I know in my heart that *I* am the only one who can truly make me feel worthy as a human being.

Being kind to my kid is a wonderful thing. Being respectful of my kid is a beautiful thing. And being peaceful with my child, is a marvelous thing. They are *not* wonderful, beautiful and marvelous because of the external rewards or payoffs of doing so. They are wonderful because of what they bring about in me- is a true connection to the love that flows in, through, and all around me. And that, for me, is what it's really *All* about.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The joy of the present moment.... where things are always "ok."

"The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day.... Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity." Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The notion of being here in this moment, and not in any other moment but now, seems to be the foundation of most spiritual paths. What seems to be difficult is in actually achieving this state of being. :P

Wes has been out of town a lot this month on work trips. It's a very rare thing, and so it's thrown all sorts of 'newness' to our routine. Balancing Kathrynn's social needs and my quiet needs has been a challenge. Feeling the self-placed pressure of making sure my child is "happy" (ie, has enough play dates and things to do, and also some down time for myself) was a huge weight i choose to carry, that I choose to accept as my responsibility.

But it's tricky. As a homeschooling parent, I help facilitate the various experiences she is going to have- via library books, trips to museums/the pet store, going to the pool, having friends over and going over to friends houses..... none of that happens without some kind of involvement from me.

...none of that guarantees her happiness, or anything else for that matter. The idea of having her busy all the day gives me the illusion that a pressure has been taken off me, that she will be busy and so not needing me to "make her happy" in the guise of entertaining her or providing entertainment for her. But this is just an illusion. Busy-ness does not mean she is happy. And having a lot of unplanned time does not mean it is up to me to "make her happy." This is not an either / or world we live in, after all.

I think back to an awesome blog post called "The Joy of being uncomfortable."
THIS is what it's about for me. This is what I am trying to escape from, by planning all these things..... to slide out from that feeling of how uncomfortable it makes me when my daughter is upset that X is happening, or X hasn't happened, or that she wants X to happen.

I was watching a video of Robin Rice the other day, and toward the end she got to the thoughts that keep me from being in the present moment:
..... Am i ok? What will happen if X happens. What happens when X occurs..... ?
I can't believe I just did X.......

She reminded me that those thoughts are not me. Gina Lake says that voice and those thoughts come from ego, not Essence, what I would call our godself or True self or Being. It is my ego that is crying out in fear, worry, sadness, anger, grief...... It is my ego trying to make "it all ok." It is my ego trying to figure out how to feel comfortable. All.the.time.

My Essence, my TrueSelf, already knows "it is all ok." This state of it "all being ok" does not come from a place of figuring it out. It does not come from a place of doing anything. It never really comes from a place of ego. It comes from a place of Being.

It comes from a place of When i am in each moment, all those thoughts of the ego don't occur. And inevitably, all is well.

Returning to the notion of me as Kathrynn's facilitator, I am striving to find presence in planning. LOL! As I said earlier, the playdates aren't always going to plan themselves! Library programs are not going to come to our house! So it becomes a stretching, of maintaining my Essence, while also extending my awareness "out there" into the world. My awareness staying local, and at the same time moving beyond, to what might be fun for our family. I can check out websites for upcoming library events that Kathrynn might want to attend, AND stay connected to my Being. Phew!

As always, I find examining *Intent* really important. Am I looking for something for Kathrynn to do out of fear? worry? ect? Am I wanting to relieve myself of some foreseen discomfort? Or, am I looking for something for Kathrynn to do because I think she'll have fun doing it?

This morning I dropped her off with a couple of friends for a hike at a local Lake. My initial intent of scheduling this was so that I could have some free time, but mostly so that she would have something to do. In part, it was a way to slide out of my discomfort.... In the last couple days I have *mostly* shifted out of ego and back into Essence, and I realized this when we got to the meeting place, and I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to escape from my child for some peace and quiet. I didn't want to turn the responsibility of making her happy and entertained over to someone else.

I was in the present moment- where things are always "ok."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sleep, like everything, can happen with Joy :P

I was motivated to ponder the issue sleep once I found out about the July blog carnival going on here. I had no idea whatI could possibly blog about, at first. I mean, my kid is no longer in the family bed. We don't have sleep issues. What could I possibly write about!

Then I had the thought that perhaps we don't have sleep "issues" (at the moment! :P) because of how we've chosen to embrace most things in our family- with trust. Breastfeeding, sleep, food, "learning"- they all have involved deep searching into ourselves. Once we went into our fears, old beliefs, our assumptions, ect, and came out on the other side, we were left with a desire to trust our child, and trust our instincts that having a connection with our child was more important then just about anything.

When I was a kid I would occasionally- ok very rarely- here about "those people who let their kids sleep in their beds." The message I got was that it was not a good idea to ever do that. Not good for the kid, not good for the parents. And once you let a kid into your bed, OMG how would you EVER get them out!?!?!?!

Fast forward many years to when Kathrynn was born. Luckily I did a lot of reading prior to her being born, and thought co-sleeping was the coolest thing ever. Turns out that worked perfectly, because Kathrynn rarely wanted to be put down, let alone left alone to sleep. Sure it brought lots of change into our lives. After a year of the three of us sleeping in the same bed, Wes choose to sleep on a futon at the end of our queen sized bed because Kathrynn was a mover. :P Which ultimately meant that for 2ish years Wes and I slept apart. And it also ultimately meant that we were all sleeping. :)

When we moved to a different house when Kathrynn was 3 1/2 we got her a twin bed, with the coolest spider man sheets EVER, and we had the idea that she could eventually sleep in that bed, in our room. What I thought would be a gradual moving out of the family bed became radically different when she announced that she wanted HER bed to be in HER room, and wanted to sleep in there. Wait, WHAT?!?!?!? So we moved the bed into her room, and that is where she slept, and where she still sleeps, spiderman sheets and all. :)

It wasn't quite so cut and dry, however, because also what Kathrynn wanted was for one of us to sleep in her single bed with her, in her room. :) Egads! Wes and I were so close to being back in a bed together!!!!! And ultimately this did happen- one of us (usually me, since Kathrynn was still nursing) laid with her in her bed as she fell asleep, and then once Kathrynn was asleep I went to sleep in Wes and my room. We still used a baby monitor, and so heard when Kathrynn was waking up, and one of us would go to be with her until she fell back to sleep.

Again I heard plenty of responses to how we were going to mess Kathrynn up with these odd sleep habits, and how it was bad for our marriage, ect. But ultimately it allowed for Kathrynn to feel safe when she was going to bed, and allowed for Wes and I to have alone time in our own bed as well. Sure, it was sometimes rough when she was having a restless night, as it meant that one of us would ultimately spend most of the night in her bed with her. But as with everything, that ebbed and flowed.

As she got older she no longer wanted us to fall asleep with her. Instead she wanted to be read to sleep. :) Again, I got eye rolls and sighs, for how my 5 year old daughter was still not falling asleep on her own! I continued to follow my heart and what made my child feel safe. Eventually this morphed into reading before bed, but not to the point where she was sleeping. One of us would, again, lie in bed with her while she drifted into sleep. This phase was short lived, and it wasn't long before we were kissing her good night after we were done reading, and left the room while she was still awake. This happened by the time she was 6. Now, at 7, this is still the way her bedtime routine happens.

I find it helpful, for me, to look at all the stages that were involved over the years. Doing so allows me to see how each change in our sleep routine happened consensually. There was never any pushing or bribing or shame. Of course there were grumpy nights and aching backs along the way. Over all our nights have ebbed and flowed naturally, with Kathrynn, Wes and I all feeling safe and happy. Where this is coincidence or not, I honestly can not ever remember Kathrynn being afraid to go to sleep, or afraid of the dark, or scared in any way that involved sleep.

I can see how our breastfeeding relationship almost paralleled our sleep relationship, but that is for another blog post. The point is that when there is trust and connection- and communication (lots of that!!!)- involved, everything can happen with joy.