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Posted on 17 Oct, 2016 | 6 comments

Are You The Victim or Master of Your Choices?

I don’t know about you but I have at times felt trapped by the demands of parenting. There is so much to do and just because you were woken up and called out of bed four times last night to tend to your child doesn’t mean you can end your busy day by flopping onto the couch with a glass of wine and your favourite TV show followed by an early night and full night’s rest. There is supper to be made, children to bath and take to bed, the nighttime routine of being called back to the room for “Just one more thing I want to tell you…”, preparations for the next day… and you haven’t even showered yet. Then there’s another interrupted night’s sleep potentially waiting for you before it all starts again. It is easy to feel ‘owned’ by it all. Even if you are one of the lucky ones who got to choose to be a parent, it can make you feel quite sorry for yourself. Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about. For your sake I hope you don’t. But if you do then forge on fair reader, for there may be more empowered times ahead.

Here’s the empowering part. When you feel like a victim of something, as we tend to do at those moments, it means you are making the other person or situation bigger or more important than you. You are letting them supercede you. Even if you don’t know what I mean yet, just take careful note of the ‘you are making’ bit. That’s the empowering part. Its empowering because if you are making it, then you can unmake it too. Here’s an exercise to help explain:

When you find yourself feeling, “Oh poor me. I have to do all these things that I don’t feel like doing”, try saying to the situation or person instead, “I see your need and I have my need too. Let’s work this out.” Kim Payne calls it Your World, My World, Our World.

Yes, I know it might be a startling thought, and we are not often told this as parents, but you are allowed to have needs too. This exercise is something you can do even with your child.

Yes really, you are allowed to have needs even around your children. How can you not? You don’t have to do the exercise out loud, just in your head. At the very least acknowledge your need and give it importance because, if you have ‘poor me’ moments as many of us do, then it’s something you are probably not doing now.

You see the thing is that the ‘Poor Me’ experience is not often really about their need versus yours, even though it really, really feels that way in the moment. It usually boils down to a conflict between your own needs, in other words a decision you must make between two opposing desires you have.

On the one hand you desire to just rest and watch tv with a glass of wine because it’s been a hell of a day and you don’t feel like putting any more energy into anything. On the other hand you also desire to be a kind, caring parent who makes sure the children are cleaned and fed and feel safe in their beds.

Listen to both desires you have and then make your choice to satisfy one of your desires now. Maybe you will get to satisfy the other one later, maybe you won’t. But what has changed is that it has now become a choice. Your choice between two things you want. You are no longer in Poor Me mode. The important thing is that you don’t disrespect either desire by minimizing or ignoring it because that is what really creates that Poor Me feeling.

Acknowledging the other desire you have allows for conversation and compromise and real moments of feeling satisfied and cared for rather than the opposite of all that. All with yourself I mean.

“Oooooh I don’t want to get in the car and drive him to piano now and rush to do the shopping in one hour. I just want to read my book!” So there are the two desires. Look at them honestly and kindly and then make your choice, with a compromise if possible, “Ok then. We’ve already paid for the piano lesson and he loves it so I don’t feel good to just cancel it. Ok here’s what I’ll do. I’ll take him now but I am going to just sit in the car in a shady / warm spot and read my book for the hour and afterwards he and I will go shop together even if it puts a rush on supper. In fact I will make sure to get something for supper that’s very quick to make. That will feel better for me and then I will be nicer to everyone else this evening because I took the time for myself. Good, that’s decided. Oooh I’m excited to go read my book for an hour! Jaaaammes! Let’s go! We’re going to be laaaaate”.

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Posted on 19 Sep, 2016 | 7 comments

Parenting Consciously Is Not Losing Your Self

shine-2

I think that parenting consciously comes down to not abandoning the journey to self on entering parenthood.

Society seems to encourage us to let go of ourselves when we become a parent. You know, put the kids first sort of thing. But how can you be attuned to your child in a healthy way if you are not first attuned to yourself?

A while ago I attended an adult’s party where a whole lot of moms were present. I became acutely aware of what the ‘mommy talk’ can actually do in interpersonal situations. There we were having a long chat which revolved around ‘the kids’ and the talk was lively but at the end of a whole conversation I walked away with very little sense of each woman there. We were hiding behind ‘mommy-ness’.

When you become a parent you have a ready-made identity which society allows, even applauds, you to exchange for your individual identity. That daunting question, “Who are you?” can be answered proudly by

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Posted on 4 Jul, 2016 | 12 comments

Follow The Big Reactions

Untitledz

I had a dream about my Facebook page last night.

Really? That’s what I’m dreaming about? Don’t I have better things to use my unconscious time for?

Apparently not.

Apparently there’s something about my FB page that is hitting a nerve for me. So here it is – my strong reaction to something. And of course by now I know that to follow the clues offered by my strong reactions means to find my liberation.

I dreamed my Facebook page “So You Think Parenting is About The Children?” had been

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Posted on 16 May, 2016 | 0 comments

What Really Happens When You Say No

I received passionate feedback after I wrote about give-take balance last week (read the full post here). It seems many of us struggle to say ‘no’. So I gave it more thought. As I do, a fascinating complexity about a belief in ‘should’ and ‘must get it right’ is revealing itself to me. I’ll try to share what I can see so far. Here goes;

What do I need in order to say no? First I need to see that something I’m being asked to do (by myself or someone else) isn’t right for me. I can only see that if I am paying attention to the signals my system gives me – for example, if when I’m asked to do something I feel uncomfortable, unhappy, resentful or panicky.

So right there at the starting line we already hit a tricky patch. How many of us regularly listen to the signals we get from ourselves? Society trains us to override ourselves and ‘be nice’, not listen to ourselves and be insubordinate or non-compliant.

But let’s just say I manage to get past this tricky patch and I hear my signals telling me something being asked of me does not suit me? THEN what? Well then it gets even trickier because now I have to take a stand. If I don’t go along with what is being asked of me I have to show myself, I kind of have to get naked and stand there being seen. “Here I am, this what I think and feel – you probably won’t like it because it’s not what you want, but here I stand naked anyway.”

Now does that sound like your idea of fun?

Exposed

So we can see why we avoid saying no. I mean who wants to subject themselves to THAT? But it’s not as simple as avoiding that scenario – because as you step away from the pan, you find yourself in the fire.

If I

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Posted on 8 Feb, 2016 | 5 comments

Does Your Child Frustrate You?

frustrated

You know those times when you want your child to do something and he or she just doesn’t? So you say it again, and then you get louder and more irritated and each time you look that thing still hasn’t been done and you feel that anger and pain rising up in you that you are so unimportant that your child can’t even do this thing you ask of them which they KNOW needs to be done…. You land up shouting at them to do it, or being rude to them, or handling them too roughly or nagging and nagging…

Someone recently told me her daughter said, “Mom don’t rash me all the time.” Rash, you know, like something irritating right on your skin… So that’s how it feels from their side when we really want them to do something they’re not doing. We are ‘rashing’ them.

Don’t pull your hair out just yet in frustration and from the insult of being called a rash just because you want to get things done and the house to be neat and the kids fed and fetched and carried on time. Let’s first have a look at why we might feel so frustrated at those times and why they might resist what we ask of them.

An adult and a child have very different

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Posted on 23 Jan, 2016 | 0 comments

Do It For You

well-done

I have noticed that anything a person does in their life that’s not really for them can’t be done in large doses without depleting them somehow. It causes an imbalance and that’s when people come for help. It can be as big as having children when you didn’t really want to but your partner did, or choosing a career that other people approve of but doesn’t light you up, to smaller but no less impactful things such as eating the kinds of foods your family likes rather than asking what you feel like eating, or watching the movies others choose that you wouldn’t have chosen to watch. Often therapy is a process of figuring out what you are doing for other people and why and what it is you really want to be doing for you. In other words it is about seeking your truth which is something that often gets lost in the ‘Doing Stuff Because Of Others’.

If the things you do regularly do not feed your soul,

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Posted on 18 May, 2015 | 2 comments

Don’t Let Others’ Fear Bring You Down Or Hold You Back

Sometimes we hit a certain period in our life and we are restless and curious to seek out new things. Sometimes we can feel we need to move, change, grow. We get to a place where we can see if we stay in how things are it will eventually kill our spirit.

Sometimes we have an idea. The idea excites us, energises us, feels like the right thing to do. We feel drawn to it with all of our being.

drawn

And then someone objects.

Maybe they have good reasons and maybe they don’t but their objection usually brings us to a sudden halt and then we begin to question ourselves. We begin to doubt.

Questioning ourselves is a necessary, constructive thing.

Doubting ourselves is not.

When we know something, know it from deep inside, we need to acknowledge it. When we do so, our spirit soars. When we don’t, our spirit droops. When we allow other people’s objections to stop us, we hurt our spirit sharply.

Think back to when you were little and you wanted to do something. Think of a time when someone approved of and supported what you wanted to do. How did it feel? What was the outcome?

Now think of a time when someone disapproved or objected. How did it feel and what was the outcome?

Sometimes your child wants to burn matches, climb a high tree, mix paint on the sofa. She is inspired in that moment, she is expressing herself – but it’s not safe or wise and it’s your job to keep her safe and well so you must stop her from doing those things. HOW you stop her will affect her spirit.

“What a stupid thing to try and do! What were you thinking? I really thought better of you. You can die that way or get us all killed! If our house burned down it would be your fault.” Shutting her down by telling her she should know better and that’s she’s stupid to even consider doing it will make her spirit droop and she will trust in herself less. (Familiar self-talk anyone?)

“Oh I can see you are in the mood for trying new and exciting things. When you explore, remember it’s important to

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Posted on 9 Feb, 2015 | 2 comments

I Celebrate My Child’s Defiance

It was the last day of school last year and we had a gift for someone at the school which my son was supposed to have given the day before but – even though he’d seen the person – he’d forgotten to give the gift. So now it was down to the wire and we needed to give it before school ended.

gift

Before school we agreed that we would go find this lovely guy and give him the gift. In the morning we got to school and I said, “Ok quick, let’s go give him the gift.” My son looks at me confused and says, “I don’t want to do it now.”

What?!

“But we agreed! Let’s quickly go and do it.” I said impatiently.

“I don’t want to do it now. I want to play.” He says planting his feet on the ground.

I say – none too gently, “We need to give him the gift. If we get it done quickly you can still have time to play. Come on!”

“I don’t want to do it now.” He’s starting to get an edge of whine in his tone. There’s pressure on him.

“But we agreed!” I huff indignantly.

“I thought you meant after school.”

Dawning realisation that there is reason to his resistance. How inconvenient for me. I change tack in my mission to make him do it the way that will suit me best.

“Oh, we had a misunderstanding? Ok I see. But now let’s just go do it now and get it done with.” I’m putting heavy pressure on him, trying to make him do what I want.

“I don’t want to.”

Aaaargh! He’s not going my way!!!

I feel pressure, I know this needs to get done but there is my child simply not wanting to do it. It’s a moment of sheer powerlessness for me. This person is blocking me from my next move.

I don’t know about you but this is the moment I lose it sometimes. Apparently

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Posted on 19 Jan, 2015 | 4 comments

Instead Of Blaming…

I was listening to an Esther Hicks recording and she said this to a man who was asking about relationships:

“The relationship you are seeking to achieve is the relationship between you and You. Then all the other relationships just fall into place.”

Self

He asked her about relationship deal-breakers and she said: “Deal-breaker; that is a reality that I am forced to look at, forced to face because its being presented, that I cannot overcome with the power of my mind. It’s saying to your partner, ‘You have challenged my ability to create my own reality too much. Therefore I must leave you. It’s too hard for me’.”

There is something about her phrasing that really stuck with me. She’s pretty much saying that if I have a problem with something about someone it means I’m out of alignment with ME. Hmmm… So that means it’s not about you, it’s about me?

Ok yes, I know I’ve been saying this very thing for ages, and I even have a whole blog about it,think about it, write weekly about it, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to understand! Each time I realise it again and it goes a little deeper in. I read a quote once that said, “The longest journey you will ever make in your life is from your head to your heart.” So it’s like that. When I heard what she said, my heart understood it a little more deeply.

I thought of a relationship I’m having some difficulty opening up to lately. I feel like I have my reasons for that and they seem to make sense, but at the same time I’m aware that my reasons just might be more like excuses to avoid intimacy than actual reasons.

So I looked at my list of Things Wrong With The Other and thought, “Ok, if this is about me and Me, how can I find alignment with my highest truth even in the face of these things that I judge to be not-the-way-I-would-do-it? Can I make a plan to feel good even as I stand here with this stuff that bugs me about this person?”

You see, if how I feel in the relationship is always about ME, and if everything which challenges or thwarts my good feeling is just an exercise for ME, then dammit, BRING IT ON!!! I always liked a challenge! Let’s be clear, I’m not asking for trouble, but if Trouble is already here – quick glance at my List of Things Wrong With Them – then I suddenly see that ‘Trouble’ is actually my trainer, my sensei, my guru, my Mr Miyagi.

I mean, who gets to decide if I feel good? Me or some silly judgement I have about how something ‘should’ be according to my preconceptions and fears? Wax on, wax off.

Yessirree. That list is my good friend. It’s training me even when I think it’s just messing me around – making me paint fences and wax cars (those who are lost on the whole Mr Miyagi, wax on wax off comments, check out movie Karate Kid which is profound in the way only an 80’s mainstream hit movie can be).

This is the point. When I feel crap I’m being shown that I’ve lost sight of my truth, my soul, my highest self. I’ve lost my perspective of what’s important. In my case I think I’ve been trying to make the person behave in a different way because I’m hoping that way I will be more open to connecting with them. If they change I will feel better and then it will all be fine.

Sigh.

Talk about giving away your power! I’d rather use the energy I’ve been wasting in

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Posted on 29 Dec, 2014 | 0 comments

What Does It Mean To Keep Your Self?

Last chance to vote for this blog. Click on the red button to do so.

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There’s an exercise I use with groups where I ask them to visualise a pleasant parenting moment. I encourage them to really see it and feel it in all its colour. Who was there, what was happening… actually come to think of it, I should do it with you right now. Ok here goes. Ready?

Take a moment now to remember a moment of really pleasant parenting.

pleasant

Think about that experience. Who was there?

Where were you?

What was happening exactly?

Notice the colours, sounds and scents around you.

Really allow yourself to feel the goodness of that moment.

Notice where you feel the good feelings most strongly in your body.

Just enjoy this remembering.

Now I want to ask you, who is experiencing all this? Who is at the centre of this experience?

Yes, of course it’s

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Posted on 22 Dec, 2014 | 0 comments

As Precious As Your Child

Two things first:

1) Do you have a self-care plan for this holiday craziness? If not, plan one NOW. Do for yourself what you’d do for your child in the same position.

As part of my holiday self-care plan I’m re-posting some favourites from this past year. Sometimes I just love a particular post SO much and I wish I could take it out for another little outing. So during this holiday period it gives me a break and the posts get another chance at a play date with you. I hope you love them as much as I do 🙂

2) If you haven’t voted please do. Just click on the red badge at top right over there. Voting closes end Dec.

Enjoy!

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“No you can’t have another biscuit, you’ve already had two. Remember we agreed on two?”

“But you had THREEEEE!” he screams at me in indignant rage.

Er, that’s true.

oops

Actually I’m quietly relieved because this uncomfortable moment could be so much worse. He didn’t spot the one I scarfed down as I was putting them onto the plate, and also not the other one I shovelled in as I was bringing the plate to the table.

And so once again a parenting moment brings me face to face with myself.

Why won’t I let him have another? Because it’s bad for his little body. So then why is it ok for me to have three? Ok, five… maybe six or so – I did have to clear the table afterwards you know and there’s really no point in 

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Posted on 27 Oct, 2014 | 4 comments

I’ts Ok To Not Want To Be With The Kids 24/7

Sitting with my confirmed bachelor friend and he’s complaining that the woman he’s seeing at the moment wants to spend too much time together. “I have a life too you know.” He states, “I work hard and after work I want to see my friends, or do my hobbies, or spend time alone reading (oh wow, remember that… the mouth just waters at the thought… but I digress – back to him) “If I see her two or three nights a week I don’t have time for any of that. That doesn’t work for me. I like being with her but I have other things I want to do too, other people to see.”

I listen to him and I suddenly think, “I’M NORMAL!”

Gasp, Im normal.

 

It’s OK to not want to see someone over and over every minute of your waking time. When you are single like him and get to choose how you spend your time, you don’t choose the same person over and over and over all the time. It’s OK to want to do other things, have other hobbies, spend time alone… That’s NORMAL. Oh.

In case you hadn’t cottoned on yet, I’m talking about the children, people. Why are we not allowed to say out loud that while we love them to bits, and we like them, it doesn’t mean we want to spend every minute with them. It’s not normal. (I know I’m not alone, I just saw an ad for a book called, “Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?” Hilarious!)

There are days when I have such rich wonderful times with my gorgeous children. They are awesome. We wake, we play, we love and cuddle, we go out and explore the world together, we cook together and eat what we made, we play some more, we read, we nourish each other’s souls and worlds and at the end of the day when they are tucked into bed it’s just the sweetest thought to think of those two little humans sleeping in that room. My heart swells with the love of it all and I’ve drunk my fill.

Then the next morning they climb into my bed ready for more and I think, “What? We did all that yesterday. Today I want to do something else. Come back in a few days.”

Sometimes that makes me feel bad. Oy, the guilt. It’s like I’m some kind of fake mother. How can I

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