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10 Ways To Feel Miserable As A Parent

23 Feb

10 Ways to Feel Miserable As a ParentI came up with this list of ten things I’m learning to avoid in order to feel happier as a parent. However, I would like to clarify a couple of things that came up when I shared this image on Facebook.

My children are young, four and under, and this list applies more to this age. If your children are not showing age-appropriate public behavior then you may need to consider how to best approach those lessons with them.

I think having such young ones in my home, it’s nearly impossible to keep my house tidy all the time. A kitchen sink full of dishes and fish sticks for dinner (again) is not (what I consider) a reflection on how well I love or care for my children. 

On the other hand, living in filth and serving junk food every day of course is another story and needs to be brought up to a higher standard of care for our children. 

I hope that everyone reading this takes a common sense approach to these ten statements and evaluates them according to their children’s ages and needs.

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Parenting Tips Shared on Facebook and The Implosion of a Million Emotions

7 Feb

Tips for Talking to Children

On Wednesday evening I shared the above infographic* that I created on my Facebook page, The Joy of This. Within a few hours it was quickly shared over 600 times.  A lot of people seemed to really love the tips, but also, not surprisingly, a lot of parents were outraged by the tips. Tips which I gleaned and compiled from two different books, Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

But some people just didn’t care that these tips came from recognized experts in the field. Some folks were down right angry – at me – for suggesting these tips.

In fact, I even had one mother attack me personally for posting it on my page, making mean-spirited claims about me and my children. I chose not to respond to her comment, but rather ban her from my page (along with a few other miserable beings who had really uncouth things to say). Mean parents who don’t know how to express a differing opinion without using verbal attacks get banned – that’s just how it goes!

Joking aside …

There was one comment that really soured my milk, it was this:

fits are unacceptable

“Number four is out of the question in my house. Fits are unaccepbtle [sic] under any and all circumstances and will not be rewarded with a hug.” 

Yowzers,“any and all circumstances” you say? How very authoritarian of you. That’ll teach ’em!

Last I checked it was “liked” 18  times, and that just seriously bummed me out. But, got me thinking…

On further reflection, and seeing that a lot of people just weren’t getting it, I came to the conclusion that the infographic did a poor job explaining the reasonings behind the tips and the importance of using these tips with our children; unless you are already aware of the concepts behind this advice you may not understand the value of these suggestions.

So I wrote a lengthy and heartfelt response and shared it as a status update on my Facebook page in hopes to shed light on the issue. That “status” has now been shared over 180 times from my page, gained more than 1200 likes, and has been viewed by more than 10,000 people. Holy smokes! This tells me something I need to remember: when we open up and share our parenting failures and victories with authenticity and vulnerability, it impacts our hearts in a way that an idealized infograpic just isn’t able to.  (Another lesson learned by yours truly.)

I’ve included here below the status update I shared on my Facebook page:

My Parenting Lesson

I learned a valuable lesson when I weaned my two-year-old daughter from her pacifier. The first nap time without her pacifier she cried hard at not having her (life-long) established comfort method, but I felt like she would just have to learn the hard way, and without thinking I shut the door and walked away from Zoe because I thought there was nothing {else} I could do – just rip the Band-Aid off and get it over with.

As I stood alone in the kitchen trying to wash dishes, I could hear my daughter screaming painfully through her confused tears.  That moment, lightning struck my heart, and I thought to myself, “What am I doing? I would never walk away from a friend, or my spouse if they were miserably crying like that alone in a room! Why do I think it’s okay to do this to my own child?”

I turned on my heels, and rushed into her room. I got in bed with her, and held her close to me. I told her first that I was sorry, and then I told her that I could see how hard it must be to have to nap without her pacifier, but that I was there to hug her and hold her until she felt good enough to go to sleep without it. With great relief she quieted and sank into my arms and fell tenderly asleep.

After that nap, she NEVER asked for her pacifier again.

That day I learned that a mother’s compassion will lead her child to acceptance far easier than a mother’s silence.

Make no mistake, I am a momma bear with my kids, but I’m one mamma bear that always strives (often imperfectly) to consider the feelings of my children in the moment of their learning.

A-mother's-Compassion

Please be gentle with me and this personal experience I just shared with you. This is my story, and my learning experience, shared with vulnerability and honesty. Please do not attack my parenting skills, and feel this is your opportunity to use *MY EXPERIENCE* as a platform to teach *YOUR LESSON.*

There was a lot of gentle weaning that happened prior to weaning from naps. I did approach other ideas, (giving her paci away, etc.) and I did speak to my daughter over the course of a few weeks and months about how we would say good-bye to her paci at nap-times.

*A line of the “Tips for Talking To Our Children” infographic was edited  based on a Facebook commenter’s suggestion to say, “When you’re done eating…” instead of “Once you finish eating…”  Thanks for the tip, smart momma!

The Birth of A Mother Quote

3 Feb

The Birth of A Mother
Editor’s Note: This quote was taken from a blog post I wrote in July of 2010 called, Making Room For Love. Below is an excerpt from that post. You can read the post in its entirety here.

It is because of my own experience with the difficulty of motherhood that my heart is so tender towards new mothers. With deep conviction and experience, I know that the hardest part is not the 40+ weeks of pregnancy, and it is certainly not the average 12- 24 hour labor.  The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards.  It is the year of travail – when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her.  The emotional labor pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love.  It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy than the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred.

With great reverence and awe at the journey of becoming a mother I hold my heart up and offer thanks in learning to make more room inside my soul for love.

I Didn’t Have A Voice

11 Nov

This is a reflective piece that I wrote on August 7th, 2012, my 35th birthday. I’m finally feeling ready to share it.

There was a time during my early to mid 20s that I suffered with a recurring dream. In the dream I was chewing an oversized piece of gum. The wad of gum was so large and bulky I could barely chew it; it filled my mouth to the point that it prevented me from speaking. The gum was so painfully crammed in that I couldn’t even open my mouth wide enough to spit it out. I remember waking from those dreams with a sense of regret and remorse. What was a I doing with a piece of gum that large in my mouth and more importantly why didn’t I just simply reach in and take it out of my mouth?
….

I know a woman who recently for her 50-something birthday got the Hebrew word “voice” tattooed on the inside of her wrist, because she told me, as she held her arm up in the air showing me the dark inked-in word on her skin, “I didn’t have a voice when I was young, but I have one now.” I was left with chills. What a powerful statement.

Perhaps that’s what 35 is giving me, a voice. Perhaps, after living life a little more the lessons I’ve learned from being worn down and broken in by love have brought me the bravery I’ve needed to reach up and take that oversized piece of gum out of my mouth and really speak my heart.

(Cue Alanis song here…okay not really, but I just thought I would make the comparison before you did.)

Thank you life. Thank you age. Thank you struggles and heartbreak and victory. Thank you faith and floundering. Thank you disbelief and questioning. Thank you cynicism and hope. Thank you messed up emotions. Thank you burned down bridges. Thank you friends who held me to it. Thank you marriage. Thank you motherhood. Thank you brazenness. Thank you strength to choose gratitude. Thank you persistent spirit of love. Thank you forgiveness. Thank you anger. Thank you healing. Thank you mistakes and lessons. Thank you experience. Thank you unpaved roads. Thank you music and song. Thank you childbirth and rebirth. Thank you compassion. Thank you earth and sun and sky. Thank you voice that hovered over the waters of my soul and said let there be life.

May 35 bring life and more life. May I live abundantly with hope and perseverance, may I reach up and place my hand on the harp that I hung on the Willow. May 35 be a year of getting my groove back on.

May my voice speak with love, gratitude and wisdom. Thank you 35 for giving me a voice. I hope to use it.

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