Friday, December 30, 2011
I have some pressing health issues and family matters to tend to (when it rains it pours!) so I'm having a hard time spending quality time with MaMammalia. I'm going to take a short time-out and hopefully be back within a couple of weeks. Don't worry, I have plenty of wonderful ideas in the works for the new year.
Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't call it a time-out since that has all kinds of punitive, negative connotations attached to it. How about a break? That's better. I'm going to take a little break. :)
Friday, December 16, 2011
Yes, I do strive to always be responsive to my son. I try to maintain a positive outlook, to be supportive, to use gentle guidance instead of punishment, to be patient, and to keep my own emotions in check. But I'm human. And I have my own baggage. And I wasn't raised this way. And I'm not naturally patient or calm. And he's a toddler.
So sometimes I falter. Sometimes I feel resentful when my own needs go neglected too long. Sometimes I get sick of playing the same game 20 times, of cleaning up messes, of answering the same question over and over again, of repeating myself, of hearing him repeat himself, of whining, crying, and the whole lot. Sometimes I am just too darn tired to deal. While I don't use punishment, I do sometimes yell or say things I don't really mean. Sometimes I look like any other parent of a toddler.
So how is that "gentle" parenting? I think it's largely a matter of attitude and motivation. I don't condone my own shortcomings, nor do I dwell on feeling guilty about them. I apologize for my behavior to my son when I act in ways I don't want to. Then I make concerted efforts to do things differently, and tell him I am doing so. I reflect on what's driving my own emotions, then take steps to care for myself and heal myself if necessary. Sometimes I repeat my mistakes. So I try again. And again. I just keep trying. Parenting is, after all, a lifelong practice.
I also have an intense desire to be a better parent today than I was yesterday. I make that commitment every day and I make it a conscious choice. It's a decision that takes high priority in my life, but it is a decision I have to make repeatedly. I can't take it for granted that I'm just parenting along fine all the time. Even when things are going well, I still take time to consider how and why they are good so I can nurture those qualities. Over time, I believe those positive aspects of my parenting will become so habitual that my shortfalls will become less frequent and less intense. I'm growing with my son.
However, I think maybe the real trick to gentle parenting is being gentle to the parent. What I've found is that when I am patient with myself, I am patient with my son. When I put my basic needs first, I can easily tend to his. When I allow myself to experience and process my own emotions - however ugly or beautiful - I handle my son's emotions with sensitivity and compassion.
Don't get me wrong, my son's needs do come first. Sometimes his needs are in direct conflict with mine and I have to negotiate how and when to address my own needs. Those are challenging situations that I work on as they arise. Sometimes clarity comes with hindsight, but the point is I'm always looking, always trying to learn, always open.
More importantly, I am learning to love myself through those stressful circumstances so that I can show him the unconditional love that I feel for him, too. Self-love is a wellspring of unconditional love, the place where I find positivity, undying patience, and emotional well being. It's where I find my guide to gentle parenting.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants
have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to
the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Enjoying Busy Times Moment by Moment Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers a handful of simple pointers to make the most of any busy season in your life.
- Staying A Mindful Mama During The Holiday Season Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom shares her thoughts on being a mindful mama, while keeping your sanity throughout the holiday season..
- Holiday Parenting: The Gift of Natural Play Moorea at MamaLady shares her holiday plan for mindfully spending time with children in her extended family.
- The ABC's of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama provides a comprehensive list of Mindful Parenting Resultions for 2012. In addition, she briefly reviews her mindful parenting journey for this past year.
- The 123's of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares part 3 of her Mindful Parenting series (Link will be live tomorrow, Dec 14).
- Mindful Mama Guest Post from Hybrid Rasta Mama Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share Part 2 of Jennifer's series on staying Mindful for the Holidays.
- Saying No to Plastic Toys Nada at minimomist and her husband Michael, have certain rules when it comes to toys for their daughter Naomi. Here's how they deal with well-meaning gifts that don't quite work for their family.
- Can you LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas? with so many expectations and no many people's needs to accomodate, Patti at Jazzy Mama has decided to simply accept what can't be changed and love whatever happens.
- Minimal Temptation, Minimal Gifting Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares how not exposing herself to tempting purchases, as well as having fun family traditions, helps keep her Christmas list under control.
- Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her realisation that consciously monitoring our thoughts have a powerful effect on our lives, regardless of circumstances or influences.
- A Light in the Darkness Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about overcoming holiday blues through the miracle of motherhood.
- Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling describes how she and her children discovered the beauty and simplicity of a nature-inspired holiday tree.
- Giving The Gift of Life Free Range Mama at My Healthy Green Family shares about teaching children how to look beyond the well-wrapped box and learn how to give. .
- Can a collection of moments be more than the whole? Tat at Mum in search asks how do you turn a holiday from hell into a series of beautiful moments?
- Flying Through the Holidays Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses how a simple organizational plan has kept her holidays balanced.
- Celebrating Advent week to week Lauren at Hobo Mama finds that counting down weeks instead of days helps children with the long wait.
- 5 Ways to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares ideas and photos that help her stay mindful throughout the holidays.
- Simplifying the Holidays Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how simplifying the holidays has made them more special for her.
- Mindfully Managing the Mania Erica at ChildOrganics fights against "the gimmes" and shares strategies for staying balanced during a time of year when it's easy to overindulge.
- Six Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Losing Your Mindfulness Rachael at The Variegated Life shares tips on thinking less, planning less, doing less, and remembering.
- The Gift of Presence Darcel at The Mahogany Way explains how important it is to be present for and with her family during the Holidays.
- Mindfully meditating on celebrations Dionna at Code Name: Mama hosts this guest post from Child of the Nature Isle about desiring meaningful celebrations for the whole year.
- What Does It Really Mean? Staying Mindful Through the Holiday Season Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about how she stays in touch with what the holiday season means for her and her family, in spite of all the temptations to do otherwise!
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Maybe I should have mentioned the shirt, I thought.