Let me grow… just like me: Magda Gerber

just-like-me

“Please let me grow as I be”, just let me…

It is common to think that, when we become parent it is “our job” to actively teach our children and to lead them to what we believe is best for them. Every moment is an opportunity to “teach”, then we often correct, we often lecture, we interfere because we want the “best”, because it is our “job”, because we are “responsible” or because we are simply doing our best.

I too, like most parents, want the best for my child. Most of the time, when I ask myself what do I mean by “best”, the answer is not always clear or consistent.

When I look at the bigger picture, by “best” I mean: be loved, be appreciated, be self-confident, be self-motivated, be happy. Sometimes, by “best” I mean: be capable, be independent, be “perfect”… this is often when I interfere, fix or correct

We are our children’s primary model … They are wired to follow us, learn from us, they are wired to grow in the environment we provide for them, they are wired to Experience, Try, Learn and figure for themselves. Children see what we do, hear what we say, they observe, they learn to respond the way they see us respond – just like we did when we were kids

Let me” is so powerful, it reminds me that we all need freedom to be who we are, truly are – and unfortunately, parents expectations from children don’t let them be…

Because I want to – always – look at the bigger picture, I need to understand my child, see who she really is. In order to do that, I need to take a step back and think, work to change my patterns. Here are my reminders:

  1. Back off and allow some freedom: I try not to interfere with my own beliefs or agenda – which is often harder than we think, especially in morning rushes – I try to let her lead and choose within limits, complete tasks without interfering or try to “guide”.
  2. Provide her with a suitable environment that allows her to experience, to feel loved & wanted – the environment that allows them to BE and to PLAY…
  3. Be very careful with the words I use and when I use them – in other words: I try to be careful with Praise, with “yes” directions instead of “no” and without shaming or guilt.
  4. Trust that she’ll be fine, that she is “big” enough to take decision
  5. We all learn, especially ME! we were not born parents, we learn to be. I try to be patient and acknowledge my weaknesses in order to be present and “help her grow” just like her

This is very hard for me to remember that she’s not “mine”, that she entered the world learning to be capable every day, every moments of the day.

Thank you Magda Gerber, thank you RIE ♥

The day(s) I completly lost it

Sarah cakeI’m trying, I’m trying and trying to be mindful, I really do – every second I’m with Sarah (now 2.5 years old). Most of the time it works, we can do great things together or just do nothing together and we’re happy – but sometimes nothing helps, I just can’t get it right…

It was one of those days when I couldn’t get it right: My Sarah was sick, needless to say that during those hard times, super “mindful powers” are needed, extra connection is a must to remain available and tuned to her needs. Where were those super mindful powers when I really needed them the most? Here’s what happened: When Sarah is sick, mama’s on duty: I leave everything (work in the middle of the day, most of the time) and pick her up from day care. I was at home with her for 3 days (then came the week-end). She had trouble breathing, she had fever, had lost her appetite and was on medication… poor baby, that must have been horrible!

Clingyness is of course understandable, but staying home with a sick baby has never been my cup of tea… I thought I was a “bad mama” for a long time for not being able to cope with the situation – when sanity and a good spirit are a necessity – and especially for not being able to be – fully – available for her during those days.

On Thursday (the 3rd day), she felt much better: fever was almost gone, still no appetite for anything beside ice cream/popsicle (I promised she would get one when she feels better) so she would take a chair, move it next to the fridge, climb and open the freezer, then take the popsicles, pick one, taste it and put the popsicles back. In the morning we went out a bit for a walk and came back home.

She fell asleep for a nap earlier than usual, but had trouble breathing again so she woke up after 15 minutes… She had no nap! NO NAP!!…

From that point I completely lost it, it was horrible, I had no patience, and of course, I reacted immediately when she pushed my buttons, it’s amazing how many buttons there are to push in those situations… I lost the ability of “feeling acknowledgment”, even after a 7-8 months practice (although I became quite good at it thanks to Janet Lansbury’s blog and Peaceful Parents confident Kids) – I wasn’t able to do anything, I yelled, yelled and yelled… I felt so bad about yelling that I apologized, but my attitude didn’t change – I still had no patience, I was tired and I was not able to be the strong mama that she needed at that time, I was not able to put her needs 1st.

She cried, what could she do! that was the kind of helpless tears, that kind you don’t want to hear: I felt her need to be heard, carried and hugged, but she didn’t want me to be near her. I felt I hurt her feelings so much that I would have preferred being yelled at back. “It’s OK to cry, I’m here if you need me, let’s hug until we feel better”, I usually I tell her, I validate and acknowledge feelings, but that day I couldn’t, I wasn’t able to, especially when I was the one responsible for that horrible situation! I was a complete mess for the entire afternoon.

This could have been such a lovely day, we baked a cake, and she even started to play independently for a few minutes until she saw me trying to catch that on video 😦

The day after was the same, but Friday here is the week-end, so I wasn’t alone with her anymore and I was relieved! The house was a mess (most of the time, that doesn’t bother me, I even contribute a lot to that mess), but during those 2 days it did bother me. So again, no patience…

On Saturday, I was my new ME again – the new me with all my nice parenting attitude, all the mindful sentences and attitude, all tuned and connected. I like the new ME and so does Sarah. The new ME makes a lot of mistakes, being mindful is hard in the beginning.

For the past few months, I have the feeling that she needs me more than before – maybe because I’m now willing to see. It’s amazing the difference that it makes in our lives.

The “connected mama” attitude comes with a tool kit: patience, understanding, empathy, coping mechanisms, feeling acknowledgment and validation and a yes attitude that the “messy mama” attitude switches off.

The “connected mama” can say “no” and stand for it.

The “connected mama” looks in the eyes and smiles more often

The “connected mama” jumps & sits in the mud if she’s asked to

The “connected mama”loves, loves, loves & loves unconditionally

I hope I can stick to the “connected mama” as long as I can, and forgive myself for those messy days, for those times when the “messy mama” comes out…

Quote of the week: Raise your words…

rumi

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

Mama, it’s a surprise for you

surpriseToday was an amazing day. Today I received an amazing present, a huge smile on a tiny face and the most important thing: a great moment to remember.

Today, my dear almost 2.5 year old daughter ran towards me with her hand full of tiny white rocks: “Mama, it’s a surprise for you”

She opened her tiny hand and poured the rocks into mine, “it’s a present” she said, with a smile on her face. I smiled back, and with an enthusiastic voice, I thanked her for having given me the present she had carefully carried and had chosen to give to me. She ran back, gathered some more rocks and ran back towards me to bring them, so I thanked her again.

I have asked her to keep those white rocks for me and poured them into her tiny hands. She looked at me and said, “those are yours, no one will take them” – “No one” i replied, “No one”.

She “played” for almost an hour, filling plastic cups with those small white rocks, preparing presents for mama, dad and neighbours.

That was a fantastic day because I didn’t interrupt her, I didn’t mind her getting dirty and just watched her having fun…

Today was a fantastic day because I was able to be thankful for rocks, for those tiny moments that make a different. By really being thankful I was able to make her happy. By being thankful I was able to enjoy all the dirt on her tiny hands and clothe.

Today was a fantastic day because this precious moment of play made other moments precious and suddenly everything was easy.

Today was just a fantastic day

Quote of the Week

Sarah's running

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”

Denis Waitley

 

Have a great day ♥

Tomorrow Is Another Day

Tomorrow is another dayAre we really there? I mean, really…

I’ve been reading a great blog lately: Hands Free Mama about being REALLY there, not just there but really there – about making a connection, and basically about the important stuff in life. I can’t really say that my life has changed, but, among the other stuff I’m reading, this blog made me realize that every moment is important – because there is just one today, just ONE

Tomorrow is another day, has always been a sentence I liked. I liked it a lot actually because it meant a lot to me. It was like an excuse to make things better next time, not now, not today. Today, I’m going to let things happen and see how it goes – I’m there anyway. Today, everything will be OK, and of course if not, Tomorrow is another day. So, my day looked like:

  • Today, I yelled, nevermind: Tomorrow is another day.
  • I stayed late at work today, nevermind: Tomorrow is another day
  • I haven’t been paying attention to my husband for the past 2 years… nevermind: Tomorrow is another day
  • I’ve been trying to cope with the whole mamaHood situation, giving a lot of excuses, nevermind: Tomorrow WILL be a better day

This is true, Tomorrow is another day. Assuming that there will be tomorrow, tomorrow I will:

  • Pay attention
  • Make a connection
  • Play
  • Cook / Bake with my daughter
  • ENJOY the day
  • Say I love you
  • Breathe, breathe and breathe some more when she pushes my buttons, be respectful and try to understand her
  • Say YES as much as I can

What different does it make, today – tomorrow? Well, this is what I realized – again, assuming that there will be tomorrow, one day makes a huge difference.

One day made a huge difference when my baby smiled, when my baby crawled, when my baby said “mama”, when my baby talked, my baby walked, when my baby said “I love you” for the 1st time – Just one day! 1 day before all those important days in her life, she didn’t

winnie-the-pooh-today-quote-bigOne day… only 1. So, as there is just 1 today, I want to appreciate it, and if I can I want today to be good.

In order to do all that, today I will learn, today I will read all I can to make a difference. Today I will be kind, respectful to my child. Today I will try to see with her eyes, not mine and show empathy. Today I will play with her, today I will bake a cake with her… Today. Today I will walk to the park, today I will laugh… Today

The paradox is that I want everything today, but big changes can’t be made in a day. So 1 step at a time, I am doing those changes, and I am doing 1 little thing each time… Today

After only 2 months of implementing the basics of RIE and other Positive Parenting basics (really the basics, I’m not ready for the advanced stuff) I really see the difference. I’m calm and more peaceful, which makes today easier… which makes today a better day.