YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I stare out the picture window at the gentle, trickling water. Lush, emerald green pine trees closing in on it, with nothing but blue sky serenely peeking through the needles. Well groomed flower beds with fresh bark flank the perimeter of the house. It’s perfect, and I know I can’t have it. I’m crushed.

But also relieved.

Because I don’t know what I want. Or maybe, more accurately, I don’t know what I don’t want. I want it all. And yet, I still try to argue my husband into making an offer on the drive home.

The elusive “they,” which is a conglomeration of many writers and speakers, told me if I could dream it, I could do it, have it, be it. Just picture yourself living the life you desire, every day… think good thoughts… it’ll come. Caviar wishes and champagne dreams.

Woman, having it all.

Woman, having it all.

I’m not sure I’ve manifested anything yet, other than a major sense of FOMO frosted with desperation and lingering discontent. Although, I did pray for big boobs all through elementary school. They don’t tell you that you need to keep praying for them to stay after pumping out and breastfeeding three kids. Now I wear training bras again.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the current state of my life, but I’m so busy picturing what it could be, I often feel an emptiness billowing beneath the surface- trapped by my own constant state of yearning. Disenfranchised by all of the “successful” people, the books, the podcasts, chirping in my ear about what’s possible. Why shouldn’t I be able to bring in millions of dollars in passive income? Tim Ferriss… I simultaneously love and hate you. You’ve created a couple of insatiable monsters named Sean and Angi. 4 Hour Work Week my ass.

In spite of feeling at peace in a way that I never had before, I started a business 6 months ago. Why? Because of the pressure to perform, to hit big, to be impassioned, and to immerse myself into something/anything. To add to our family income so that we can do all the things. You know, travel the world while we churn out a few email responses each day to keep the bucks flowin.’ I won’t go into the human aversion to stillness. That’s another blog.

I’ve learned a lot from this business. And I’m grateful for all of it, but the problem with owning something is that it’s never enough. There’s always a next step. It’s like taking a test in college. Post exam, you’re totally relieved for a day or two and then you remember you have to study for the next one. That vague sense of relief gone as quickly as your celebratory beer. Nothing is going to grow itself. What are you willing to do to get there? How many followers are enough on Instagram? How many staged pictures of your faux life do you have to post to win a sale? How many new products do you need to come up with to be fresh enough to satisfy the second long attention span in today’s world? How many heart emojis are adequate to express appreciation of a comment? I don’t want to think about this shit. It feels incredibly trite and inauthentic. But, that’s the buy in, the trade off for the alleged American dream at the end of the tunnel.

The “Tim Ferris conundrum,” coupled with the infinite level of pressure to perform while simultaneously feeling like a failure, because it will literally never be enough, has turned me into a certifiable nut job. There’s always the next new thing to keep up with. What you’re left with is a desperate housewife who feels like she can’t control a damn thing, right down to her own kids, cuz can anyone??? After gaining weight from eating too much kale, because I’m 41 and that’s my life now, I went grain and sugar free for one month and then keto for 2 more weeks and weighed more afterwards than when I started. I've been doing an intense weight training program for 45 minutes per day, 5x per week for 6 months and there is literally no perceptible difference in my “progress pics.” F progress pics, btw. My baby stopped napping a year ago, and I haven’t been alone for more than a few minutes since. So, basically my body, my business, and my children have decided that I can’t be trusted with myself, and they’ll make the decisions for me from here on out.

I think this must be what a midlife crisis is. And, the kicker is that I don’t actually have a problem, aside from those 7 pounds, which are more of a nuisance than an actual problem. I don’t want to buy new pants people. Well, I do, but not bigger ones.

The real problem is me. My thoughts. My expectations. My lack of feeling in control. My unrealistic longing, and Tim Ferris. Goddamnit Tim.

I have a lovely home, in a lovely neighborhood, in a lovely town that people come to for vacation. My children are happy and healthy and relatively complication free. My husband and I are solid and in love. I’m healthy and strong and get to stay home with my 3 year old except for a random Saturday or two. My business could go away tomorrow, and we wouldn’t be worse for the wear. We eat organic food and take a cool trip each year. Life is fucking good.

I just need to let it be, take my paws out of everything and breathe easy. I need to let this be enough, to take respite in the adequacy, because while I’m busy upping my game, my kids are growing at lightning speed. The sun is shining outside, and I’m not basking.

We live in an age of possibility and if we can’t contain it, we’ll be destroyed by it. While we make vision boards and picture what could be, what is takes leave. The moment, the only time we own, no longer belongs to us, because we’re in a faraway place plotting and scheming about how to be “better.”

It’ll take some mental exertion with lots of checking in and personal accountability, but let’s flip the world the bird and want what we have while keeping our ambitions manageable. Save the daydreaming for the millennials. And Tim Ferriss.


-Angi


(I’m sorry for those of you who don’t know who Tim Ferriss is. He’s an amazing, brilliant, childless, 40 something year old man with more business savvy in his pinkie than the rest of us have in our whole bodies. He’s filthy rich, uber driven, and penned the book “The 4 Hour Workweek.” In spite of my constant jabs, he’s incredibly impressive, and I wouldn’t undo any insight I’ve gained from him. Everyone should read his books.)


Comment

ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis. 

 

I SURRENDER.

Control is a funny thing. It masquerades as something that it’s not, allowing us to feign safety in an unpredictable world… but what if we surrendered to each moment? How would we feel? How would our lives change? If you didn’t get anxious about the things that could happen, would they escalate or evaporate? If you didn’t try to step into each situation but instead leaned in, would your world crumble?

pexels-photo-847483.jpeg


I could tell you to step off, but that would be classic pot callin’ the kettle. I’m not one to have text book anxiety, but I like to be a bossy pants. Leaning in is not among my special gifts. I step in with my actions and my mouth, on the regular. I’m mama-bearing everyone in direct vicinity because my level of faith in others to do it quickly, efficiently, and cutely is slim. And, I know a lot of really weird shit that other people aren’t/shouldn’t be interested in but sometimes comes in handy. Having said that, I’ve been making major efforts in this department for a year or two. It’s finally starting to surface in my behavior and not just my head (that takes time, right?!). My unsolicited advice has nose-dived and my internal motto is “not my circus, not my monkeys.” If it isn’t done quickly or cutely or even at all, it’ll be okay. I’m saving my energies for those who mirror them, but that’s the next blog…


I recently finished “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer. He’s also the genius behind “The Untethered Soul.” In a very teenie tiny nutshell, he essentially vowed to take his cues from the universe. He didn’t actively make too many decisions, other than those based on intuition, and more or less said yes to every opportunity that came his way, even when it sounded utterly unappealing to him. This wasn’t saying yes doormat style, he wasn’t giving his neighbors daily foot rubs. This is the type of “yes man” attitude that has to do with life opportunities. He didn’t actively decide anything that he wanted, he just followed the path laid before him by God, the Universe, whatever… whomever. He followed each road to fruition with diligence and integrity, putting his all into what presented.


And you know what happened?


He got more than he ever could’ve dreamed… everything he thought he wanted and then some. Not that money is the measure of content, but he happened to become a billionaire to boot. And all he thought he desired to do was meditate in a one room, windowless cabin in the middle of the forest. Alone. Forever.


He got his meditation, err cake, and to eat it too. Read the book. It’ll come together. The story is too amazing for me to do it any shred of justice in a mere paragraph.


So, the moral of his story, the one I’m trying to incorporate, is that God, Jesus, the Universe, the flow, is a miracle worker. It made you, right? It made trees, oceans, flowers, puppies… and we’re questioning its ability to guide us? That’s tomfoolery in its highest form right there. We’re doubting that God has a plan for us? Phooey. God has a plan for pine cones. She has a plan for you. If you think you can do better, fine… but when’s the last time you made a puppy… or a pine cone? When’s the last time you orchestrated a thunderstorm or a snow fall… If you’re a mama, you managed to grow a baby or two just by eating and sleeping. Straight up miracle.


So give it up… to God, Mother Nature, whomever. Stop worrying about Trump. Stop worrying about the clunky noise your car is making (me). Stop worrying about your weirdo relative. Stop worrying about your bank account (me again). Stop worrying about your kids when they aren’t in your arms. Just stop all of it and breathe. You were never meant to take it on. It’s not for you.


Your job is to listen. To observe. To respond… with faith in the intricate flow of your life.


So, today, I’m not going to scour Craigslist for a car I don’t have the funds to buy or try to strong-arm my husband into any of my hairbrained schemes for becoming a traveling family or Airbnb hosts (dreams, people). I’m going to believe that Sean will join my bandwagon if and when the time is right, and that the car or the money or the Uber will arrive exactly when and how it should because the stars aren’t currently aligning, and it’s not my job to step in and rearrange them. They’re perfect and beautiful just as they are, lighting the sky when it’s too dark for us to see… but maybe we aren’t supposed to anyway.


-Angi


Comment

ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis. 

 

A MESSAGE FROM ONE STAY AT HOME MOTHER TO ANOTHER.

Scrolling through various inspiring mommy blogs the other day, I stumbled across this beautiful website, mindfulandmama.com and I'm honored to do a guest post. I'm Zoe, and I'm a stay at home mama. I have a blog called ThinkBaby.org, in which I write about the excitement of parenting three little ones, from flying diapers and beyond! 

Glancing this beautiful website, I saw so many incredible topics and work that these women put into every piece of their blog, but there was one post that stood out to me: Stay At Home Motherhood: Resisting The Urge To Be Shut-In, by Angi. Reading it, I could relate to a lot of what Angi was going through and feeling, as I too am a stay at home mother. I'd like to do a bit of an add-on post to hers and talk about some of the things I've learned and gone through as a stay-at-home mama and how to overcome the slump that often follows!

baby-blur-bokeh-1008181.jpg

Since the day my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child, he took on the role of being the partner working outside of the home. We were able to sustain this for a little while but by the second pregnancy we required a second income. At that point, I had fallen into quite a bit of disaster with several aspects of my life because I'd been home for so long. The first year was hard. Being a stay-at-home mom often sounds like a dream come true. You get to spend endless amounts of time with your babies, never missing a second of their growing up. In that regard, it definitely is! But with the aspects of friends, family, social life, freedom, and mental health, there can be deleterious effects.

From a mom that learned the hard way- it's extremely important to find a way to balance these facets of your life and make time for yourself, otherwise it can mentally and physically drain you. Because of my seclusion at home for so many years, when the time came for me to get another job, I was so antisocial that I developed social anxiety, a fear of going out and finding a job, and of being around people (and that's not like me at all). I eventually ended up working from home as a writer, which is how I started my blog (you can read more about how that came to be here). But I also lost a lot of opportunities, a lot of experiences, and a lot of friends. Overall, this whole 'mothering thing' wasn't turning out to be exactly the 'dream' I expected, and no one needs to feel that.

It's taken me a long time to learn and adapt to this lifestyle, but there are so many simple ways we can incorporate balance into our lives, ultimately benefiting ourselves and our health.

One tool my husband and I use is childcare sharing. Everyday, when he gets home, he takes care of the baby and spends time with her while I relax, draw a bath for myself,  and do things I enjoy for a few hours. This may not sound like much, but if you're an overwhelmed and overworked mama, it can serve as a mini getaway.

Making time for yourself while the baby sleeps is another important step. You don't have to monitor them or hold them if you need respite. Make use of those moments when your glass needs refilling. It can be your time to catch up on work or have a silent cup of coffee. I started doing this everyday, and a huge weight of stress has been lifted. If you're still not sure about it, jot down some ideas in a journal, during a spare moment, to help you transition towards it. Doing it this way helped me to adapt over the course of a few months to 100% guilt-free personal time (if you'd like more ideas about self-care, you can read my post about it here).

I admire the women at Mindful + Mama for being so open about the struggles inherent to Motherhood, as I've been in this place as well. I still don't like to go out, I'm still not the most social girl in the world, but I make time for the things I enjoy.

Even though you have a baby in your life, you needn't forget about the things you enjoyed before your little one came along. Life truly is about balance, and if we don't have balance, we're likely to have a rough go of it. No mother wants to look back upon memories with their children and remember the frustration, just the beautiful journey, so please take care of yourself, Mama! You deserve it more than anyone. One simple step at a time, and you'll be there before you know it.

-Zoe 

ODE TO A MOTHER- Claiming Our Stories.

With tremendous effort I was pulling off an A in public speaking. I was determined as a grown woman and a mother of three, to prove I was a capable student for the first time in my life. No one in that classroom knew I didn’t feel the least bit grown up. The magical transformation from insecure-people-pleaser, to self-assured-no-apologies adult, had passed me up. If anything, I felt incapable of claiming the attributes that I had earned with age and experience. I had know idea how to interpret my authentic life as a personal power. I just knew how to hide it.

That day was no different, especially considering the circumstances that I alone knew. It was of no consequence; I was living in the same uncomfortable skin I always had, regardless of what happened. I told myself, ‘stuff it down, it’s your superpower. Just tell these people why community supported agriculture rocks, and pretend you’re fine. You know the drill…’

I inserted the thumb drive that contained my colorful PowerPoint presentation. I took a deep breath and turned to a classroom full of faces. I said “Good morning…” and than I choked. Organic veggies where the last thing on my mind. My eyes welled up with tears as I attempted to form my next words, but the truth forced its way up and out, “...I can’t do this.” My professor looked confused. He urged me to continue, reassuring me I could. But I walked away from the podium. I yanked my thumb drive from the computer and grabbed my backpack as I headed toward the door.

“Emily, if you walk out on your final you will not pass this class.” But I kept my head down and walked straight past him and out of the classroom. Later when I emailed him, I was grateful for the final grade he gave me. He understood my inability to function that morning; not many people have an affinity for public speaking after finding out that their mother has just been arrested.

I had grown accustomed through my childhood to all the terrible things I overheard about people like us: we were lazy Welfare recipients, getting rich off of hardworking taxpayers, not contributing to anything in society… worthless. I looked at my shoes while people glared at us in the checkout line at Goodwin’s grocery store. My mom ripped our food stamps from the allocated stipend the government gave us each month, and presented the paper card that identified her as a bonafide failure of a human with kids. We took our peanut butter, milk and ground hamburger meat and left the curses of my mom behind us as she ushered us out of the store.

We walked home along the same roads, laden with plastic grocery bags banging against our bodies. My mom had owned a car once, but I was too young to remember. I was used to walking. My big sister shifted the weight of groceries uneasily; terrified someone from school would drive by and see her this way. I can recall how often heads turned back to get a better view of my beautiful mom; her tight blue jeans, laced up boots stomping through puddles, a cool green eyed glare and a flashing white smile.

She was young and beautiful then; the recipient of breast implants (a Christmas gift from my ex-stepdad), accompanied her unblemished skin and petite body. People often marveled that she had kids at all, especially the stupor of suitors that followed in her wake wherever she went. The assistance she received from the state was billed to my father. He made a life for himself elsewhere with whatever was left over. My step father had left when I was 7 but not before leaving his marks on my mom. I imagine that many women are welcomed to a world of poverty and single-momdom this way. The odds are forever stacked against them

pexels-photo-691919.jpeg

The many homes we lived in through my childhood were hardly ever our own. Turns out the cash aid for a family consisting of one single mom with two dependents, doesn’t stretch very far. We lived with whatever boyfriend of my mother’s would put up with her and her “baggage”. It never lasted long. We lived in over 15 houses from the time I was a 2nd grader up until middle school. On the rare occasion that the rent was cheap enough for us to find a rental of our own, we would be so far from town that it was impossible to function. Without a vehicle, we hiked a heavy distance to and from the school bus stop. We ate the free lunch and later piecemilled dinners together with whatever was left in the fridge. I had only one friend whose parents would allow her to even come to the various houses we lived in, and I am proud today to know someone was there to witness what a wild world we made for ourselves.

Did my mom use the money and the food stamps to buy nutritious food and toilet paper? Did she pinch pennies and save so we could have a better future? So she could get a car, and than a job, and eventually wean us off the government's breast?? Of course not. She threw that money away when she had to: for dance lessons, for donuts on my birthday, for a new outfit from MacFrugals. She took us out to dinner on Saturday nights at the Big A for hamburgers with french fries, and gave us money so we could spend warm days swimming with the rest of the kids at Lake Gregory. By the end of the month we were packing our belongings into trash bags, my mom plucking butts from the ashtray outside and pacing back and forth with a short stub of cigarette hanging from her mouth. She would frantically glance up the street until Tom, Dick or Harry’s vehicle came into view and shuttled us off to a new place.

Getting rich off of welfare meant my mom slept through depression for a good majority of the day. We watched the same 5 VHS movies on a daily basis and filled the gaps in between with Nintendo. School attendance was often optional. When I couldn’t stand the dark, quiet pushing down on me inside, I took long walks through the winding hills in our mountain town, trying to get lost, knowing she would wake up and be sorry that I was gone. But I always knew how to get back home in the end. And I always wound up missing her first.

By the time I was in high school, many things had changed. My mom had given us a baby sister; a widowed mother, infant in arms, she could have fallen apart, but she didn’t. Through the support of her family, she won a court settlement of $60,000. This was for the removal of her ruptured silicone breast-implants. She wasted no time in pulling up her bootstraps. She moved us away from that god-forsaken town and purchased an old, faded blue, Ford LTD. She paid rent on a house for a full two years and moved us in. She got a job working nights at a local coffee shop. She took her wisdom of poverty and established a division she named “Special Projects” through the local church. It was a charitable cause that focused on assisting single mothers and getting them back on their feet.

That short time that spanned the life of what we called “mom’s boob-money’, was about 3 years total. During that time, I was given the greatest gift of my childhood; the opportunity to see who my mom could be. She wasn’t lazy. She wasn’t a low-life, dependent of the state. She didn’t pop out kids to collect a fatter welfare check. And she definitely didn’t choose the circumstances that had left us miserably poor for the majority of my life. Given the opportunity, she thrived. She helped other people that she knew were struggling like we had. She became a roll model for me for the first time.

But the effects of silicon in her bloodstream for the past 10 years, had taken its toll regardless of the riches it bestowed upon us. There were still days she couldn’t get out of bed. She had planned ahead and after waiting on a list for section 8 housing for more than 2 years, we were accepted. We moved into an apartment and my mom became a real welfare queen, paying rent that was $28 a month. She worked limited hours as a waitress, and spent the majority of her money medicating the pain she was daily living through. She had been diagnosed with Lupus, and than Reynaud's Syndrome and later, some kind of throat condition without a name. She kept medicating to get up and going. We knew that her good moments were sponsored by uppers, and that days of darkness would follow.

I moved out at the first glimpse of 18. My 4 year old sister spent a great deal of her childhood bouncing between my older sister’s house and my grandma’s. Eventually, wherever she was when she was away became more of a home than the places my mom was living. It turned out my mom couldn’t come up with her $28 rent. She was back to couch-surfing. Life got harder and so did the drugs.

It seems crazy now, but it was hard to feel sorry for her. It was even harder that day as I fled the college campus, cursing her name as tears ran down my cheeks. She had kept collecting the meager Welfare allotted to her as if my little sister were still a full time dependent. She owed the state the money she had unlawfully collected. She had been trying to apply for social security, trying to get a correct diagnosis, trying to keep living while the world, and her family, and even her daughters, slowly gave up on her. She was cuffed and taken away in the parking lot of her public defender.

We couldn’t pay bail. I was terrified my mom would show up to her trial date in an orange jumper, cuffed, without legal preparations. She would be dressed, playing the part of convicted felon in front of a judge who was yet to determine if she was even guilty. All praise be, a shitty X-boyfriend ended up paying for a bail bond to get her out. She would later be acquitted of all charges, but not until the stress and mental fatigue had pushed her half into a grave.

In the last years of her life she was diagnosed with scleroderma. It’s not a well known disease. It’s fatal, causing chronic and painful hardening of the skin and tissue. She had been dealing with this illness, and misdiagnosed since I was 10. Turns out Welfare queens don’t get the best medical coverage.

I realize that many people have made it through harder times than these; that single-momdom and welfare don't always end with tragedy. But in hindsight I see that poverty had it's clutches on us in ways that we could not have broken free. I spent my youth trying to defend my mom against the judgments of well meaning middle class Americans: “Why doesn’t your mom just… get a job...stop sleeping all day...spend less time worrying about that boyfriend…?”  I hear the same comments about specific groups of people today and I quietly cringe.

There are so many people in this world that are just trying to make it through the day.  I witnessed my mom live an entire life this way. I got a glimpse of her looking to the horizon, and making expectations for herself but it was too late. A lifetime of dependency, of willfully being a victim of her own means, and unwillingly being a product of poverty, led to her young death. I will always carry a sadness with me that she died in a state of ruin. But her absence has taught me that our story is one to own. It is pivotal that I examine it, and inspect what we were, as opposed to what I thought we were; or what I allowed other people to say we were. I am a bigger person when I claim this youth of mine. It fills me up, so that I no longer meet every obstacle with a “fake it ‘til you make it” philosophy. I am good enough, just as I am. And so was she.  

-Emily










 

1 Comment

EMILY

Becoming a human-vessel made me a mother, but it also taught me who I am as a woman; literally, I didn’t know that I had a uterus or that it was super bad-ass, until after I picked up my first Bradley Method book. Four home births later, my husband and I have maintained a sense of humor while maneuvering the daily failures, lessons and bonds, that parenting provides.

      My brighter moments are spent homeschooling outside in the Sierra National Forest with other wild families, and pursuing a slow and steady education towards attaining my BS (I will never not think that is funny). Other days you can find me: eating pineapple even though I am painfully allergic, actually running out of gas, and crying in public when strangers show empathy with one another.

     

 

AGE OLD DOGMA- Chances are You're Inadvertently Slighting Your Child.

“Mom, I’m hungry.” “No you’re not, you just ate dinner.”

“Mom, I’m cold.” “You’re fine, you have a jacket on.”

“Mom, I’m scared in the dark.” “There’s nothing in your room to be afraid of.”

How many times have you uttered one of those phrases or something similar? Chances are several times… today.

I didn’t think much of my “go-to” responses to my children’s pleas until I read a parenting article that turned everything on its head. Per usual, I can’t remember what the hell the article was or where I read it, but the fundamental directive stuck.

Those exchanges probably look relatively harmless, but the underlying message being sent to your child is, “You don’t know how you feel.”

How many of us, as adults, suffer from an inability to decide what is best for ourselves? We turn to others for guidance or enter into complete paralysis when faced with a choice. Many of us (me, me!) languish in decision fatigue- we weigh all of our options, spending hours researching, afraid to pull the trigger and realize later that we’ve chosen poorly. ( I mean, what if I don’t look at all 565 pages of rugs on Overstock? What if the best one is on page 565??) By the time we’ve invested umpteen energy we are “fatigued” and overwhelmed, with compromised judgment for deciding anything at all. 

We are the product of this type of parenting, through no fault of those who raised us. They were simply doing what they were taught via their own childhood experiences. Should we really trust the self-knowledge of a four-year-old anyway?

pexels-photo-701014.jpeg

Yes and no. The importance of our responses has less to do with the actual thing occurring and more to do with what’s being intimated to our child via what we say. Two things are unfolding: We’re disregarding their ability to know themselves and their own feelings, but we are also devaluing them. If every time you expressed that you were cold, your husband responded to you with, “You’re fine, you have a coat on,” you’d go ape shit on his ass after the second time (more likely the first). You’d feel about the size of a crumb after a couple weeks of being consistently discounted.

Imagine how our babies feel. (Heart currently breaking.)

Does this mean that I have to cater to my child’s every whim? No. It does mean that instead of glossing over his thoughts and feelings, I should take a moment to listen and discuss. If he says he’s hungry 30 minutes after dinner (five minutes if you’re River), I can say something like, “Okay, I hear you. I understand you’re hungry. I noticed you didn’t eat much of your meal. Do you think that might be why you’re still hungry? Would you like to finish your dinner?” To which he for sure will reply, “No, I’m full of my dinner. I want a banana.” I’d then have to let him know that at our house we don’t have snacks if we haven’t finished our meal. Same outcome, different approach, and it maybe took an extra minute. But, he felt heard and his feelings were not ignored. In short, he recognized his value.

Life is busy. It's easy to fall into the habit of treating our children’s requests like nuisances when we are rushed and trying to accomplish more than we can handle. We love them SO much, and we’re doing all of this business for them, but we don’t want them to think that they are nuisances. A shift in response can make a world of difference in the confidence of your now child and future grown-up. The little things count for more than we can often imagine. Deliberating over a rug is a relatively harmless offense, but the consequences of a child who doesn't have faith in her own ability to monitor herself can be devastating, as a wee one and as an adult.

During childhood, I remember being as unimpressed with my parents' alleged acumen as my children often are with mine, assuming I had all the answers and feeling extremely frustrated when told otherwise. I can also identify with, at times, feeling like a dismissed and insecure child as an adult. We’re all souls of the same size, mature upon arrival, housed in bodies of different statures, controlled by brains of varying development and just looking for love, connection… acceptance. Reminding ourselves of that innate sense of being and our mutual desires that bind us together, big and small, is an amazing way to behold our children through a more empathetic lens, offering them the respect that they, like us, not only yearn for but wholeheartedly deserve.

-Angi

1 Comment

ANGI

I was an oddity in high school, obsessed with the CIA, the supernatural, aliens, basically all things mysterious. As an adult, I've moved on to being captivated by human nature, my own and everyone elses. Exploring the whys and hows of my own psyche and trying to create connections that have depth and meaning brings significance to my experience in this school we call Life. I've gone from being a full time working mom, to a part time working mom, to a stay at home mom and the breadth of that experience has shown me the value in all of those roles. I am riveted by the complicated genius that is the female intellect and sharing insights with other engaging women has become, for me, an essential symbiosis.