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: Magda Gerber

Magda Gerber quoteQuote of the Week:

“Having Respect for the world is when you allow people to be what they are”

I couldn’t think of a better quote to start this section, and frankly I have nothing to add

🙂

All you need is love

All you need is loveAll you need is love… All you need is love… All you need is love… LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is all you need

If only this was true…

I’ve been learning that the 1st years of a child’s life are critical. Critical because those years are building who this person will be, even as an adult… Knowing that makes every decision critical – not because everything is important, but because you’re building memories, feelings and reactions.

So, All you need is love, patience, confidence, basic understanding of what your child needs, guidance, and of course hope that you’re doing the good thing. All you need is a Zen atmosphere, inner-peace, a great Yes attitude and positiveness…

How hard can this be, well pretty hard, when all you can offer is Love, Love, Love.

How do you get confidence, basic understanding, guidance when you’re a mama for the 1st time?

How can you know that you’re doing great? that you treat your child with respect? that you’re on the right path?

I’ve been asking and getting all kind of advice, all kind of tips that would help me go through everything. I’ve been feeling guilty, feeling a failure of what I thought would come naturally: Why is that so hard, aren’t we supposed to be good mamas? I’ve come to realize that we’re not born mamas, we become mamas – so we learn

I’ve been reading a lot lately and realized that yes: Respect is the key! but then, how do you know how to set limits? how do you know your limits are fair and respectful? well, again: you don’t – you learn!

I’m learning the basics of RIE, and I’m proud of it. How come those principles are not obvious? I feel blessed, and even special that I finally have found what I want to follow…

I’m starting now, because every day counts
Claire H