Leave Them Better Than How You Found Them

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When we were finished up our week away at the shore I was cleaning our rented place like a mad woman. As I was vacuuming under the couch in a weird contorted position that undoubtedly left me with a pulled muscle, my son said to me, “Mommy I don’t think you have to do all of that.” As I find myself saying frequently to my kids (because you all know kids can ruin some shit) I responded with, “we always leave things better than how we found them.” Even though I have made this statement many times, in that moment something struck me. Almost like a little message in my head alerting me just how important this simple idea is. Not for things (or places in this case) but MOST importantly people. We should always leave people better than how we found them.

Life can be so rough. It’s obviously rough because of the big things that occur naturally that we can’t control like death and trauma and illness but it’s also rough because people can have such disregard for one another. That roughness trickles down and slowly affects the world. Even the most well-intentioned and biggest hearted of us have moments when we let our Egos get in the way and we want to be right, get ahead of the next guy or give someone a piece of our minds. I’m forever trying to give love to everyone and always teaching my children to do the same, but I think that this one simple saying may be my new mantra. My new lesson to impart on my children. It can take on so many forms and work in all situations. My dear, sweet children I hope that you always look for a way to leave someone better than how you found them.

It’s healing the broken-hearted, forgiving someone your mind says you shouldn’t, being a friend to one who may have once seemed like an enemy, it’s backing down in an argument, it’s a kind word in a heated moment, it’s smiling at a stranger, sharing your strength with the ill and the weak, it’s teaching the unaware, accepting the different, giving hope to the hopeless, it’s bringing light to the dark. To my 4 children that I have to send out into this big, overwhelming world, THIS is the impact I want you to have.

You might not see the ripple effect in the moment. So many times our love and kindness seem dismissed. Don’t stop. Things aren’t always as they seem and sometimes the results are never to be seen. It doesn’t matter. Regardless of the response you receive you never know how much of an impact you can have on another. Continue to leave them better.

Love,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on August 28, 2016. 1 Comment

Changing The World, One Heart At A Time

Fellow parents, we’re scared aren’t we? The condition of the world around us is painful, infuriating and instills a fear within us that only those with the responsibility of raising the next generation could feel. I have been filled with emotion and almost can’t look at my kids without tearing up these days. They deserve more. We deserve more. It’s almost too much to bear, but we must not back down. We can not become crippled by the negativity and fear. I know it all seems so overwhelming. How can one person possibly tackle the massive problems of the world? The answer might be simpler than it seems. It starts within us. It happens in our hearts and when we choose to focus our energy on the good the entire universe will be affected by it. You know the whole “think globally, act locally” thing. Every moment we feel pain, fear or anger is a gift. It’s a gift because in these moments we get to choose who and how we want to be. We get to rise up to the occasion and every choice made in love reveals our purpose on this planet.

It’s the law of attraction, “like attracts like.” The energy we choose to put out has the ability to change the frequency of the entire universe. We can choose high frequency energies (love and peace) or low frequencies (hatred and fear). What we want for our children should be what we want for the entire human race. Since I have had children I am so much more aware of how we are all connected; all from the same source. If my belief is true then changing the ways you interact with those around you has the ability to soften the hearts of every single person on this planet. Bleeding heart? Maybe. But for now it’s working for me so I feel compelled to share what’s in my heart. I believe if we can all do the following then a chain reaction is inevitable.

Forgive- find someone in your life that you don’t think is worthy of your forgiveness. One who has instilled anger in you for far too long. Forgive them. It’s not about them, it’s about you and clearing your heart. A pure heart will have pure intentions and want the best for those around them. If we can look at the outside world and forgive others for their sins but can’t find it in our heart to forgive a family member or a friend then we might have some work to do.

Accept- take an entire day and accept each and every person you encounter for exactly who and what they are. Don’t judge, don’t change, don’t criticize. Choose to see that we are all here for a purpose; all following different paths. We can’t know what someone else’s experiences in this world should be. Maybe that one day will turn into weeks and months and eventually our way of life. If we have acceptance in our hearts right here and now we can begin to empathize with the masses.

Love- this sounds simple, right? Not always. I’m not talking about the people in your life like your partners and children that you are already “in love” with and therefore are easy to love. But love the shit out of everyone and everything. Seriously try it. Love is not only an action but a state of being. BE LOVE. To the mailman, to the cashier, to your coworker, your neighbor- act lovingly in all of your interactions. Act lovingly when our minds tell us the other person doesn’t deserve it. Act lovingly when we are scared and uneasy. Be love when you have so much pain you want to hate. Watch how those around you will begin to shift.

Understand- There are reasons why people do what they do. Why they are who they are. Let’s stop being personally insulted by them and seek first to UNDERSTAND. When we choose to understand another person we strengthen the connection we have. We can begin to see ourselves in them and can begin to see how we are truly all one. Of course this isn’t always easy, we are human beings, but try to make it your automatic response when you feel wronged to try to understand where it came from. This doesn’t mean we don’t get to have boundaries, it just means that we have so much peace within that we are above taking things personally and we only have empathy to give. Can you imagine is world where every person felt empathy? How could you ever hurt another?

Appreciate- When you can be grateful for every person and experience in your life you automatically take away your mind’s desire to label and judge. Who are we to say what things are good vs. bad and who and what are deserving of our appreciation? Practice appreciating all people and situations today. Appreciate them for revealing your life’s purpose. When people knock us down OR lift us up they are giving us an opportunity to become better. During the good times AND the hardships we are given an opportunity to choose the type of reaction we want to have and the type of person we will be. Appreciate it all. It’s all meant for our growth if we choose to see it that way. A grateful and appreciative heart will then naturally love and accept their fellow human being as if we are all part of a bigger plan.

Listen- we all want to be heard. To be seen for who we are. The problem is we are all so busy and caught up in our own nonsense that we rarely listen (like actually listen) to what others are trying to tell us. I guarantee if you look for it you will see how there are many times throughout the day that a person you encounter is trying to share their heart with you. Try to open you ears and your heart and don’t dismiss these people. If we can be a genuine and understanding shoulder to cry on we will instill HOPE. Just one person with renewed hope will inevitably pay it forward.

Pray- prayer is not inaction. It also does not have to be faith-based. Whether you believe you are asking for assistance from an actual entity or not, prayer can absolutely be a proactive way to change the climate of the emotional world around you. I believe that because the universe is made up of energy we have the power to make it give us what we want. But we have to believe that we deserve it. You can choose good thoughts or bad and the world will mirror back reflective circumstances. What could it hurt to try to use your mental energy to ask the universe for what you want?

Help- I believe the majority of us are still good and are most likely helping others on a daily basis. Don’t stop and do it even when it is an inconvenience for you. Do not let this harsh world give you a hardened heart and make you closed off to others. Look for ways to help every day. That person you returned the shopping cart for or the one who you helped change a flat tire might have been that one person who recently lost hope in the world and with one single action you can help to change their outlook. A changed outlook will slowly change the world.

I must do something. Anything. Maybe I can’t change the minds and hearts of the world but if I can do it within myself, within my own home, within the hearts of my children, within the heart of my husband and anyone else who is in my life, then just maybe the ripple effect will be far greater than I could dream possible. We have more power than we realize and we can utilize it here and now. Set your intention to do the same, we are all in this together.

Love to ALL,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on July 12, 2016. 7 Comments

The Bittersweetness of 8

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My oldest child, my only son, just recently turned 8. I know we say it and think it frequently, “they grow so fast” and yes they do; each year passing us by is a reminder of the limited time we have to mold them. But 8, it’s different. Something aches a little bit more than it has in the past. 8 gives me bitter reminders that he’s inching away from my grasp, but 8 also sweetly reminds me that he’s still my baby and that he’s still under my influence…for now.

8 gets himself dressed, but 8 still asks me to lay out his clothes the night before

8 brushes his own teeth, but 8 still has me “check the backs”

8 occasionally watches movies that have language and violence (previewed by me of course), but 8 still watches Disney Jr. with his sisters

8 gets up on his own and gets his breakfast, but 8 still comes to snuggle in the morning when he’s feeling particularly needy

8 wants his privacy in the shower, but 8 still has me check his hair for “suds” before getting out

8 doesn’t ask to play with his friends (he’s “hanging out” now), but 8 still comes up with silly games to play with his younger siblings

8 has started to blush at the mention of a few special girls, but 8 still only has eyes for one woman (it’s me don’t you forget it)

8 is able to figure almost anything out on the iPad, but 8 still needs reminders on how to hold his utensils

8 can read chapter books, but 8 still loves to listen in when I read to his sisters

8 thinks he knows everything, but 8 still asks me deep questions about life and keeps me on my toes

8 has begun to give me some tude, and even a few slammed doors, but 8 still tells me I’m pretty and the best mommy “he’s ever had”

8 shows me all the ways he’s finding his own way in the world, but for 8 I’m still his home base.

Oh 8, I’m not going to lie, you pain me a little. But I also thank you for softening that pain. For softening the transition to even more independence and distance. 8 is growing into a young man, but 8 is still my sweet little boy for just a while longer.

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

Spiritual Partnerships

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I was inspired to write this last week while I was reflecting on 9 years of marriage (having just celebrated my wedding anniversary). This is not a “my relationship is so marvelous post”- I really get a very icky feeling with bragging and I genuinely do my best not to- think of this as more of a “I’m really proud of my relationship, and while not perfect, we both work really hard at it.” I’m not using my writing for the sole purpose of shedding light on my marriage, but to use what I’ve learned and try to share it with others. I write this today because there is something I have discovered about being in a marriage, or any long term committed relationship really, that I want to share with you. Partially based on my own discoveries and partially based on things I have read by Gary Zukav regarding a “spiritual partnership.” My basic message to you? Any relationship that you are currently in should be meant for your growth. If you are choosing to share your life someone it’s time to asses if they bring out your absolute best.

I was extremely intrigued by something I read in The Seat of the Soul a while back. Basically Zukav was discussing how many years ago the human race NEEDED marriage. It was a survival thing. It was the point in our evolution that we were at. Now? Not so much. Our souls have advanced and not one of us needs to be dependent on another person. Everything we are looking for we hold within the depths of our soul. It’s not necessary, really even to have children it’s not necessary. So if it’s not necessary shouldn’t it at the least be to our benefit? Here comes spiritual partnerships. The only real reason that anyone today would need marriage is to advance their soul’s journey. To fulfill their purpose. We can still honor the tradition of marriage but it’s time to view it as having a purpose much greater than ourselves.

Think about what your purpose may be. The specific (maybe being a mom) or the general (maybe spreading love in all of my actions). Think about your partner. Do they love, support and accept you enough to help you with your life’s purpose? And conversely do they challenge your wrong doing and poor behaviors so you can be the best you? If you can honestly answer yes to that you are engaged in a spiritual partnership and life is more likely to be inspired and joyful for you.

We can obviously learn so much from the negative forces in our life too, especially when those negative forces are so intertwined with our daily lives, such as in a spouse. It’s up to you to figure out when you will learn the lesson and move past your current situation. It is 2016. Divorce is not taboo. Single parenting is not taboo. Second and third marriages are not taboo. If you are not living a life of happiness make the choice to. Happier people make happier children who make a happier and more peaceful world. You do you boo.

I dedicate this to my husband who has shown me with his actions time and time again that his spiritual journey and mine were destined to be and how we both allow and enable each other to be the best versions of ourselves. NOT perfect. Perfect for each other.

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❤️
The Enlightened Mama

Being Real- And Letting Go Of Your Ego

Ego. One simple word, so much weight. If you are on a path to self-discovery, improvement, enlightenment or whatever you want to call it, I am sure you have read tons about what this word means. I too have read so much about the Ego and have discovered that overcoming the Ego or in other words, breaking your attachment to the Ego, is maybe THE most vital part to living a life of peace. There are so many different philosophers that have given their definition of the word but I will just give you my personal understanding of it.

Ego in it of itself is not necessarily a “bad” thing. Some people consider it the mind and your thoughts about life and in a lot of ways it does serve some purpose, but essentially it is an image or ideas of who you are and who others are. It is also what gives you the idea that you are separate from others, on a heart or a soul level we are all connected but the Ego will want to tell us otherwise. In some respects we need it in our human existence to function in all of the roles that we play, man, woman, mother, father, job titles, etc., but all of the biggest problems in the world stem specifically from over identification with the Ego. The second you try to cling to an idea of who you are, an image to uphold so to speak, this is when you have become overly identified with the Ego. My main purpose of writing today is to help even one person learn that when you let go of your Ego you can be who you truly are and you can finally let other people be who they are. This is authenticity…I’m sorry this word is used to absolute death….but being who you are to the core without any ulterior motives and interacting with others based exactly on who they are, is true authenticity.

Here are just a few examples of what identifying with your Ego might look like:
Thinking you are superior OR inferior
Basing your worth on your financial status or job title
Being judgemental of the way other people live their lives
Having a hard time giving other people credit for their accomplishments
Taking credit
Making others wrong or always needing to be right
Boasting or bragging
Lying or exaggerating to uphold an image
Constantly looking for sources of outside validation (social media is really, really testing this one)
Being threatened by someone else’s success (jealousy, envy, etc)
Judging yourself or others based on things like the size of your home, the car you drive, how much money you make
Striving for recognition for everything you do
Anger
Resentment
Playing the victim
Basing your worth on how others view you

I could probably go on, but you get the idea. I ASSURE you, I am not being preachy here in the least. We are human and part of the journey to enlightenment is to connect with your soul and disconnect with your Ego. We obviously need something to work on in the first place. If you are living a human life, you are currently faced with these egotistical behaviors daily in order to challenge yourself to grow. Think about it, I can almost guarantee you have constant situations where you can easily do or be one of the above OR you can make the choice in that moment to let it go and choose love instead. It’s always about choosing love. It’s hard. Our Ego is slowly diminishing as the world progresses and more people “get it” and it is clinging on for dear life. It actually just dawned on me recently that when I get annoyed for someone else having a “big Ego” that’s actually MY ego judging and labeling someone else. My true self is only concerned with my journey and being the best person I can be, if I become frustrated by someone else I am just as bad.

I know we see this play out in our children. Part of my goal when sharing these ideas on this blog is to take my teeny tiny corner of the Internet and do my best to make the world a better place. If we can help our children to identify with their heart and soul and not their mind and Ego, we will all find peace and our future will be very bright. Think of your toddler. I had an experience with my son recently that showed me how opportunities to help our kids dis-identify with Ego can reveal themselves. My son is an all around mild and peaceful child. He is good natured and kind. I don’t worry to much about the man he will grow into, which is why every now and then I think I need to be thrown for a loop and shown how my parenting is required all day everyday. He had a baseball game recently where he didn’t play that well. He is typically a good player, gets a lot of recognition from his coaches, the other players and my husband and I. He also has no problem encouraging other children and being happy for their successes, which is why I never think twice to acknowledge him when he plays well. At this specific game he was just off. Struck out at every up to bat, dropped balls in the outfield, throwing lots of balls at the pitchers mound etc. He’s 7, by the way, and all of these things were complete non-issues in the real world. I care way more about how my son is as a human being than how he is at a sport. Which is why I was seriously upset at the behavior I saw. He was not only completely down on himself and in a terrible mood, but as I watched him I noticed he did not once cheer for his team mates or give them recognition for when they played well. It was almost as if he couldn’t be happy for others’ successes if he himself was not experiencing success. OH HELL NO, I needed to cut that crap immediately.

I don’t often get disappointedd in my children, they are children for a reason, but it was very clear to me that the universe was giving me a wonderful opportunity to give my child a lesson in Ego and how attachment to the Ego can lead to a lot of unhappiness. I explained to my son that his mood can not be determined by how well he plays in a game and that his performance can absolutely NOT dictate who he is as a person. This is a naturally friendly kid who let his view of himself in that moment (his Ego) affect how he treated those around him. I also took a moment to explain humility to him and sometimes when we are really good at something we need to be shaken up so we can learn. So we can grow. I think he got it. I also thought how if my husband and I had been overly identified with our own Egos we could have really screwed up in this moment either by being hard on him for his performance (showing him that how well he plays a sport defines him) or we could’ve displayed similar behavior to him which would have modeled that that type of thing is ok.

This is a very small example of the ways in which we can see when our kids are beginning to identify with their Ego and how we can parent from our heart and shut that shit down. When you think of the ways you might overly identify with your own Ego, try to figure out how you can begin to live from your soul, which I promise you will lead to peace. Every time you want to put someone in their place, make someone else feel wrong, feel threatened by someone, try to make yourself seem “better than”, feel envious, feel inclined to boast or brag…take pause and try it a different way. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but that is GROWTH. It’s why we are here and if we don’t figure it out we can never fully live a peaceful happy life. Be your real self, it is so much more comfortable and way less exhausting than clinging to the tings you are not.

Love,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on May 25, 2016. 2 Comments

Great Job, Mamas!

I think I spent about a solid year of my life as a mother feeling inferior to other women. I was a new mom trying to find my way, focusing my energy outwards when it should ALWAYS be focused inward. I can’t tell you when or how that shifted for me, but what I can now say for sure is that I am a confident mom. That doesn’t mean I don’t question what I do or that I don’t continuously strive to be better, but what that does mean is that I DO NOT compare myself to other mothers. I know deep in my heart that my journey is mine and mine alone. My children are uniquely mine and my intuition knows who and how to be to them. As a mother, this is freedom. You can have real genuine relationships with other women without superiority, inferiority, jealousy or cattiness. Honoring the type of mother you are is honoring your soul’s purpose. In honor of Mother’s Day I want to send love and acceptance to ALL moms. You are all doing a great job.

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To the mom with the picture perfect vaginal birth- You did it! Your body went through an incredible journey and at the end your body was used to birth your child in the most natural way. It was hard, I know, but you should be so proud of yourself. I am so proud of you. Great job, mama.

To the mom with the unplanned c-section- You did it! I’m sure you tried to do it the “conventional” way and for whatever reason your body and your baby had other plans. You went through a major surgery to have your child and that is incredible. You made an educated choice to get your child here as safely as possible. You should be incredibly proud of yourself. Great job, mama.

To the mom who carried her children- Conception and pregnancy are miracles. Even with several children that is never lost on me. You and someone you loved came together and created life. It’s beautiful and magical and something to be honored. Great job, mama.

To the mom who did not physically carry children- Being a mother to an adopted child, a child through surrogacy or a step-mother is a beautiful thing. What a miracle it is that you were able to become a mother to a child in your own way. I’d imagine you never gave up until your dream of motherhood came true. It was a journey that was designed for YOU. I have no doubt that before your soul was even here that child was planned in perfection just for YOU, regardless of how that child was placed in your arms. Great job, mama.

To the mom who stays home with her children- If this was your dream like it was mine I am so happy for you! You get to spend your days exactly as your heart desires and that is so important for your children. Maybe this wasn’t your dream. Maybe you don’t have the type of job that makes childcare worth it and here you find yourself at home. You’re doing a wonderful thing. You are there for it all and THAT is priceless. I know it can be hard, but you are giving your child such a gift. Great job, mama.

To the mom who works outside of her home- Perhaps you love your career and it is an important part of your identity. Maybe you need to work and it is not what you would necessarily choose, either way YOU are giving your children such a gift too. You are showing your children how to be who you are and do what you want (or need to) to raise a family. You have (most likely) meticulously chosen your childcare and I am sure that your children are getting enormous gains by being around people outside of their family during the day. Great job, mama.

To the mom who breastfeeds- I am a huge lover and supporter of breastfeeding. I breastfed all of my children and am currently still breastfeeding my 1-year-old. If you are breastfeeding I am so proud of you. You are giving your child the gift of nature, the gift of using your body as it was designed. The bond is incredible. I also know that at times, especially in the beginning, it can be a challenge. If you desire breastfeeding your children, stick with it, it gets so much easier and so much more rewarding. Great job, mama.

To the mom who bottle feeds- I am a huge lover and supporter of feeding and nourishing your baby any way YOU see fit. Maybe you tried and tried and it just wouldn’t work for you. Maybe you made your own educated decision to skip the breastfeeding and start right away with the bottle. Whatever the reason, I know that you did it out of love. If something stresses you out, you can be assured that it stresses your baby out as well. By choosing to bottle feed I’d imagine you made yourself happier and therefore your baby happier. Great job, mama.

To the mom who makes her own baby food- What a gift you are giving your child. A natural, healthy diet will set them up for the rest of their lives. I’d imagine they will probably crave healthy foods in general and the effort you put in to making that happen does not go un-noticed. Great job, mama.

To the mom who lets her 1-year-old eat McDonald’s (this may or may not be yours truly)- You want the best diet for your children too. I know they eat fruits and vegetables and a well balanced diet most of the time, but hey you are busy. And you are probably busy giving your older children a full life. Sometimes that means fast food. You are teaching your children balance and I’m sure they will have a healthy relationship with food understanding that sometimes they can have treats. Great job, mama.

To the mom who co-sleeps- I have only co-slept when it was of necessity or to make my night go smoother. If I had the choice I’d be sprawled out in my king with no one to elbow me in the face. I did however have my child within arms reach for an extended period of time. I completely appreciate and understand how constant accessibility and physical contact is a great way to nurture and raise a child. It’s admirable. Great job, mama.

To the mom who lets her baby cry it out- I can almost guarantee you don’t want your child to cry. But I can also guarantee that you and your spouse hit a point where the sleep deprivation became too big a burden to bear. Took too much of a toll. I’d also imagine you did your research and followed a plan. Maybe it was hard for a night….or even a few nights, but maybe now your child can blissfully fall and stay asleep. You have a healthy attachment to your child and want the best for your household. You are providing your child with self-soothing techniques. It’s the best choice for your family because it’s YOUR choice. Great job, mama.

To the mom with the supportive partner- A family unit. It’s probably what you’ve always wanted. It isn’t always easy is it? But when you have that one person on your side to share the burden with, you feel like you can do anything. A life partner who is your equal and brings out your best can only enable you to be the best mother you are capable of. That relationship takes nourishment too and I know how hard it can be to give yourself to another when you already give so much of yourself to your children, but the effort is so worth it isn’t it? From that unity you get another person to travel this journey with. You are giving your children the gift of seeing how to nourish a loving partnership. Great job, mama.

To the mom doing it on her own- I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of you didn’t intend to fall into this category, and maybe some did and that’s great too, but which ever way you slice it, raising a child on your own has got to be one of the most challenging things I can think of. Maybe you feel like your kids are missing out because there is only one of you. One of you to blame, one of you to pick up the pieces, one of you to be the good guy and the bad. You know how much admiration your child will have for you when they are grown? Do you know the pride you will feel when you look at that grown child and know you have no one to thank but yourself? You’re doing it, it might be hard, but you’re doing it. Great job, mama.

To the mom with the healthy kids- Keeping our kids healthy is so hard, isn’t it? A good bit of it is luck but on the other hand I know how much energy you put into making sure your kids get the right amount of sleep, take their vitamins, brush their teeth, have a proper diet and go to their check-ups. All we ever want is for our children to be healthy and I know that in any way that it is within your control you are doing your best to help them stay that way. Great job, mama.

To the mom with a sick child- You have done everything right like the rest of us. You have made the healthiest possible choices for your child that were within your capabilities. You have a sick child, and that is out of your control, but within your control? How you continue to mother. I am in awe of you. Parenting healthy children is tough enough and your burdens are greater, but you persevere. Your child will learn strength and bravery from watching you on this journey. Great job, mama.

To the mom back to her pre-baby body- You are amazing. You have found the time to invest in yourself and you are showing your children how to be strong and healthy. I know that they notice that and they will grow up to take care of themselves too. Great job, mama.

To the mom carrying extra weight- You’re tired. You want your pre-baby body, but your energy is so drained. You know you’ll get there someday. You are showing your children self-love and self-acceptance through your journey. You are also showing them how amazing a woman’s body is and that you aren’t in a hurry to erase the evidence of carrying them. Great job, mama.

To the mom with a large family- Having one child is work enough and you have chosen to expand beyond that and give your children the gift of siblings. You have built-in opportunities to teach your children about respect and flexibility and getting along with other human beings. You have also given your child the gift of built-in friends. I know it can be overwhelming to have so many people who need you, but the love of a large family is so rewarding. Great job, mama.

To the mom of an only child- Whether by choice, or not, you have the incredible ability to devote all of your love and energy on one little human being. That has got to be so amazing for your child. You still have quite the task ahead of you and don’t let anyone take that away. I honestly think I was a more stressed out mom with 1 than 4, so don’t feel like you aren’t putting in as much work as everyone else. Your child will learn a valuable lesson in independence and creativity that children who have others around them constantly aren’t privileged to. Great job, mama.

To the mom of young children- Girl, you are in the THICK of it and I am right there with you. We have been given the responsibility of raising up these little humans and we so desperately don’t want to screw it up. You are under so much pressure, but you are doing it. Great job, mama.

To the mom of children who are grown- It must be so nice for you to admire your grown children and to enjoy the years of work you have put in. Your job is still not over and I know it must be hard to nurture adult relationships as a mother. I know it must be difficult to stand by and let them make their own choices. You are transitioning into a new role and it’s the way the journey of life unfolds. Great job, mama.

Join me in uniting and celebrating all moms. I have never felt so close to another group of women as I have since I have become a mother. I can look into the eyes of another person walking the same incredibly difficult, incredibly rewarding path as me and instantly feel love towards them. We need each other. We are in this together. Great job, mamas.

Love,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on May 6, 2016. 4 Comments

Mommy! I Don’t Need You!

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I have a strong belief that children, when we let them, are our spiritual teachers. Here to help us find and connect to our soul. My children tend to give me the exact right message at the exact right time to put me back in my place. Back to the moment and to what matters the most. Today that message came courtesy of my 3-year-old.

I’ve had a rough few weeks. All very small issues in the grand scheme of life but the parenting gods were definitely testing my patience recently. Sicknesses and temper tantrums galore. You know all of the things that your heart knows don’t really affect you, but your mind tells you to be miserable about? That kind of stuff.

As I was rushing my oldest daughter into dance and juggling the other kids, my 3-year-old had to use the bathroom. I’m ashamed to admit it, but in the moment I was annoyed. I told her to go before we left, she of course didn’t, and now I am doing the public restroom dance with 4 kids, one of which is already late for her class. I handed the baby over to my son and proceeded to follow my little one into the stall as she very abruptly shut it in my face. “Let me in please,” I said. “I need to help you.” Probably in an annoyed tone, which is ridiculous when you think about the fact that it is my responsibility to meet the needs of my children. Anyway, as I went to push the door open she shouted, “Mommy! I don’t need you!”

Ummmm what? Of course you do! I spend every waking moment providing for your every need. Most likely sacrificing far too much of myself to make sure your life is wonderful. Jumping on a whim. Taking care of your body, mind and soul. AND you’re 3! What do you mean you don’t need me? You needing me is the very premise of this relationship! A grown adult crying in the girls bathroom of a dance studio is completely acceptable, right?

All of those rambling thoughts belonged to a tired and overwhelmed mama. A mama whose heart knows that every part of her parenting journey is a blessing and to be cherished, but whose mind can at times confuse her into focusing on how stressful and overwhelming the younger years are. Not the true mama that I am. The not-so enlightened mama, if you will. And you know what? As much as her words crushed me, they were exactly what I needed right when I needed them. There are seasons to everything in life. Things are exactly where and how they are supposed to be by the very law of the way the universe works. And, after all, fostering independence IS part of my job as their mom.

I don’t want to wish ONE SECOND away. My first-born is almost 8! I can’t even wrap my brain around it. I’m living every day knowing how quickly it goes and yet in the less than glamorous moments I forget. Maybe I sound a bit dramatic but all of these little moments are representative of the big. A 3-year-old not needing my help in the restroom is a 18-year-old leaving for College.

Thank you my sweet daughter for reminding me that with each passing moment you will “need” me less and less and that the identity I cling to so hard and embody so whole heartedly will cease to exist as quickly as it came into my life. Thank you for resetting my thought patterns and reminding me to focus on gratitude and my blessings, which enables my peace, and in turn yours.

No matter what phase you are in on your parenting journey, I hope in the weaker moments you can listen to the little messages that are given to us. They are spoken to help us redirect our energy to the here and now. To grow and evolve and to become whole. This moment is all there is and nothing should take our focus away.

Xo,
The Enlightened Mama

This entry was posted on March 13, 2016. 2 Comments

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

Heaven Through a Child’s Eyes- Contribution from Zachellamom

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My blog today is a shared work from a woman I respect and admire. Her writing speaks to me and I connect with her ideas about spirituality and family. Pam Boccia is a mother, wife, teacher, exceptional writer and fellow blogger. You can find her work at Zachellamom.com.

I have long been fascinated by our children’s connection to the “other side”. I love to read accounts from parents about the things their children say in regards to death, heaven and deceased loved ones. It is my belief that children are so connected to the other side because their journey is brand new. It’s only as we grow and our mind gets filled up with Ego illusions and body connection that we “forget.” I think we can help them remember as much as possible by encouraging the dialogue. I know my readers will enjoy this piece from Pam.

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My children have been blessed to know many of their great-grandparents. Such a blessing also means they experienced the loss of four close relatives (the 5th died when my son was 6 months old), with three passing away this year. I have had concerns about my son, at 5-years-old, being exposed to so much death in such a short period of time, but ironically he has been the one to help me through the loss with his innocent insights about death and heaven.

Observant and curious, he asked questions about where people go when they die. Both my husband and I believe that every person has a soul that lives on after death, so it seemed natural to introduce the idea of “heaven” to my son.

At first he asked many honest and adorable questions like, “If we had to drive to heaven, how long would it take to get there?” and “Does great-grandpa still have that cough in heaven?” He seemed to accept the idea of heaven and added his own interpretation to it.

When each person walked up to place a rose on the casket at my grandfather’s funeral, we went up as a family and placed our roses. As we walked away, my son said, “When we see Tata again, he’s going to have those flowers.” I nodded and managed a “yes” through tears. Of course, he would have those flowers.

My son brings his great-grandparents to life quite often through imaginary play. It usually starts, “Mommy, so-and-so is coming to visit,” and then he walks in the room taking on the role of his deceased great-grandparent. The first time he did this it made me a little uneasy, but now it’s become quite commonplace in our house to bring to life deceased relatives. I know I will miss this one day when he outgrows imaginary play, or as his great-grandparents fade from his memory.

Our next-door neighbor also died this summer. Being an observant and imaginative child, he would often talk about these neighbors and sometimes pretend to be them when playing. While part of me worried about how much he’s had to hear about death in the past few months, I decided to tell him that our neighbor, “Mr. Miller,” passed away. He asked me a few questions about Mr. Miller “passing out,” another adorable interpretation that I did not bother correcting because it was so sweet. Could death be more like passing out and waking up in another place? Maybe he knows something I don’t.

Later that day, at the playground, my son was climbing a ladder up to a higher level of equipment. Smiling, he called down to me, “Mommy, look, it’s Mr. Miller going up to heaven!” It was beautiful, innocent, and true. I knew it was a moment I would hold in my heart forever.

While the seeds of my son’s idea of heaven were planted by us, his parents, he has taught me much about what it means to not just believe in something with your mind, but to know it in your heart. Even though I believe in an afterlife where we are reunited with a greater being, I forget what I believe every day. I’m the one who gave him the idea that heaven is place of love, not suffering, so why was I surprised when he joyfully imitated our neighbor going up to heaven? Do I believe what I tell him? Do I know it in my heart? My son has reminded me of what I know to be true in my inner being, during moments of stillness, beyond fear—that heaven is a place of pure love.

My children’s last living great-grandparent died on July 13, 2015 at 102 years old. When my husband shared this news with my son, he responded saying, “Well, at least she won’t be alone.” She definitely won’t be. We also know that according to my son’s interpretation, she won’t be far away.

Heaven Through a Child’s Eyes

Going to the afterlife is as beautiful and seamless as climbing up to a higher level at the playground.

We don’t suffer from the ailments that plagued us on earth.

We can hear the thoughts and words sent up to us by our family and friends.

We can visit our relatives on earth whenever we want, even just to play with our grandchildren.

We will be holding the flowers strewn upon us by loved ones, why did we ever doubt that?

We will be holding those flowers in good health, mingling with our loved ones who have gone before us, coming back for the occasional visit, especially with creative and innocent children who call upon us at whim to join in their games and the world of the impermanent for a time.

Where did he conceive of this heaven? From the little bit we’ve told him, from his own intuitive knowing, by seeing the world and heaven through his own eyes, the eyes of a child.

I wanted to protect my son from dealing with so much loss at a young age, but instead he taught me much about losing the ones we love and how to keep their memory and spirit alive. While this was the year that our three loved ones departed this world to go to heaven, it has also been the year my son taught me what it means to believe in something with your whole heart.

If he forgets what he knows about heaven as he grows up, as most of us do, I would encourage him to question his beliefs, as true faith can only come through personal experience. However, if he asks me why I believe in heaven, I might tell him this:

Why I Believe In Heaven

If you want to know the truth about life and death

Be present in nature

Observe a child

Spend time with what you find to be beautiful in this world

Sit in stillness and listen for a while

You can ask, pray, beg if you have to, but then be sure to listen

Answers may come at unexpected times, from unexpected places, so stay alert

The heart knows. The body knows.

Faith lives there.

The mind is often the last to know.

If you feel fear, sadness, or anger–

Sit with it.

See what’s behind it.

It could be a beauty beyond your imagining

You don’t want to miss it.

Thank you for sharing your heart and stories of your family with us, Pam ❤️

This entry was posted on January 27, 2016. 2 Comments