Archive | February 2016

The Best Version Of Myself

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I think if you are a parent it’s easy to rattle off the ways that your kids make you a maniac, that goes without saying. Zen or not they can surely press your buttons. But if you take a deeper look, I know we would all agree that having kids has made us rise up. Rise into the greatest version we want for ourselves. Even when we might have to fake it, they bring forth our best because we want the best for them. Having children gives you a new set of eyes. A set of eyes that makes you kinder and gentler with the world and those around you because, after all, everyone is someone’s child. That right there is reason enough for empathy. Every decision, every relationship, interaction and choice I make is based solely on these two thoughts “what would I want for my children?” and “who would I want my children to be in this situation?”. Those questions help me to examine who I am and what I want to add to my time here on Earth all while passing those same lessons down to my children. Here are the ways I have found that my children bring out the best in me-

They’ve made me live more presently- This right here is the ticket. The one true avenue to a peaceful life. I’ve shared many times how I’ve learned that no real problems exist out of this very moment. Regret, guilt, anxiety, fear and even your views of other people and events are all figments of the imagination. What is right here in front of you, being done and said right now, is all that is true. Nothing has forced me to live more presently than having children. Until then everything was always about getting to the next thing. Finishing school, engagement, getting the house, the marriage, the babies. The next BEST thing. Well now I know that the best thing is right here and I will never wish it away. No matter where you are on your journey, it is exactly where you are supposed to be. It is almost a betrayal to the life process to desire anything more or less. If you are reading this and are pregnant, have small kids, grown kids, grandkids…it’s all the best thing because it’s happening right now. There is nothing else. Appreciate it. Enjoy it.

They’ve made me see the best in others- people screw up, people say and do hurtful things, people are flawed…and guess what? None of it matters. What matters in each and every situation is what YOU bring to the table. This is what I teach my children daily when it comes to their interactions with each other. If you have more than one child you know how many opportunities to resolve conflict arise during a day. Sure small kids mean small problems but all of those problems are representative of the bigger conflicts that may arise when they get older. My kids are going to be adults with their own free will in the blink of an eye and I want them to be forgiving and tender-hearted towards their dad and me, towards their siblings and towards everyone they interact with. How do I make that happen? I model it. If I want my children to grow to be loving, forgiving, non-judgemental people then I need to live that truth. And not just to those who I deem worthy, to every other human. Daily. That goes for those that I love that may have hurt me all the way down to the person who cut me off on the highway. I am not saying I don’t have negative thoughts, I just choose to let them flow instead of attaching to them. Having children who look up to me forces me to give pause to what I do and say and what imprint I want to leave on the world.

They’ve made me love my body- I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m still a work in progress in this area. I mean let’s face it I had 4 children in less than 7 years and am currently breastfeeding (and breastfed the older 3 for a minimum of a year). Any time over the past 7 years that I’ve gotten to, or have come close to, being where I want to be I got pregnant again. Things are NOT where they’re supposed to be. At least not where I think they’re supposed to be. But you know what? I’ve created 4 humans with this body; that miracle will not be lost on me. And as importantly as that, I have 4 little ones and especially the 3 girls, looking to me to see how I view myself as an example of how they should view themselves. Self-love comes naturally (did you ever witness how amazing a 3-year-old thinks they are?) and it’s only when an adult shows their child all the ways we can dislike ourselves that they will follow suit. These days I still strive to attain a certain body, but that body is strong and healthy and energetic and has nothing to do with getting back to something I used to have. I’d rather have what I have right now, although both would be nice, wouldn’t it?

They’ve made me love their father more than I thought possible- I could go on and on about how much love and admiration I have for my husband, but I won’t annoy you all with that. Especially those that aren’t feeling so lovey dovey towards their partners today (we’ve all been there), but I will say that creating children with someone else is a sacred thing. Something not to be taken lightly. Not only do I genuinely and deeply love him, but even when we have our “downs” I want to model respect for him. How we treat each other is how my children will learn to engage in all intimate relationships. Even if that means arguing in a gentle and respectful manner.

I will not pretend that some of our ugly doesn’t come out on this sometimes thankless all of the time exhausting journey of parenthood…but we don’t have to give that energy to the universe. It happens but try to let it flow and let it go. Choose instead to examine the beauty of who you have become by raising these little beings and share that energy with the world.

Love to all,
The Enlightened Mama

Why I Let My Kids Be Bored

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There are few things less dreaded coming out of the mouths of my little ones than, “I’m bored.” These two simple words work my nerves like none else. Mountains of toys, crafts and games, not to mention a billion chores they could help with around the house if they really wanted to, and they’re BORED. They can’t find one single, solitary thing to do.

I began making the mistake of overstimulation with my first baby. I had a child that was my responsibility, I was at the time home with him for the majority of the week, and it was my job to completely entertain him like some sort of side-show. The times when I had other things to do or just plain didn’t feel like getting on the floor to play with him, I felt the dreaded mom guilt. A good bit of maturity, experience and few kids later, my thoughts on constantly keeping my children entertained have done a complete 180. Today I let them be bored. I let them figure it out.

In my opinion one way to rest assured that you will lead an unhappy life is the mindset that you need outside validation and fulfillment. Even though we might get it and appreciate it, it can not be our main source of happiness. It is fleeting and it is a tricky game to get yourself involved in. It’s hard for adults to really grasp this concept and work to undo it, so imagine the heartache we can save our children from if we let them figure it out as soon as possible?

Think of it like this. When a child is “bored” they are basically telling us that they need something to make them happy or interested or excited. And not only that, but when they come to us to provide them with the fulfillment they are not digging into their own wealth of imagination and will eventually become unable to develop a strong sense of self. A child that can’t wander around the house and find a cardboard box to play with or play in the backyard collecting rocks, will turn into an adult that can not sit in silence. An adult that can not revel in the delight of being alone with themselves. And adult that needs constant stimulation to remain happy, alive and engaged. By letting our children be bored we are giving them the tools that they need to be self-directed in their joy. And in addition this will help them to realize that there can be joy in everything. Reading a book, playing with the dog, coloring, playing outside, listening to music and more. Entertaining them by constantly finding big grand things for them to do with their time or always buying better toys and video games, will only raise the bar higher. They will need more and more.

During the teen years this can become dangerous. A teenager that looks without, rather than within, can make a lot of heavy mistakes. It can range from something simple like basing their happiness on being liked by everyone all the way to using drugs or even young women doing the wrong things to get love and affection from young men. If our kids are taught from the earliest of ages that when you feel unsettled, bored, lonely and unhappy that all you really need to do is dig a little deeper within to explore the solution, they will turn into adults that appropriately and healthfully fill their time and their internal needs.

Kids need direction. No matter our intention they will still come to us for fulfillment of their inner most desires, but our job is not to discover for them what that might be, but to point them in the right direction. These days when my children tell me they are bored I do one of two things-
– I say, “that’s good, be bored, feel it, enjoy it.” This drives them crazy but I just know eventually what I’m trying to do will make sense to them.
– Occasionally I assist them in figuring out a way to feel engaged, but only by listing or narrowing down some simple things they can do. Sometimes it’s hard for children to organize a thought when they feel overstimulated by choices.

Comparing a bored child to a teenage drug user or a depressed adult may seem like a giant leap but really the small is always reflective of the big. Seeking outside fulfillment takes on many, many forms, but giving our children tools to understand how to become fulfilled appropriately and to look within will result in confidence and contentment. And by the way how many of us adults would give anything to be bored?

✌️
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on February 5, 2016. 1 Comment