The traps of parenthood

I’m a relatively new mom all things considered.  My daughter is about to turn 4, but I feel like I’ve learned a life’s worth of lessons with her so far.  Her presence has shown me so many limiting ways of being that I was operating from.  Now that I’ve plunged myself into this journey of self-awareness and awakening to the truth of who I am, I’m seeing more and more how many of those limiting behaviors I still have and I’m seeing more how others are similarly trapped (or more or less so, depending on where they are).

Early on, when Zara was less than 1, I often found myself complaining about her lack of sleep, her lack of doing what I wanted, when I wanted.  It was all around me too, all of us young mothers, complaining to one another, and there were many books out there to support the complaints, such as “how to get your baby to sleep,” “how to whisper to your baby the way this person does,” and the list is endless.  I could have stood at the parenting section for hours and not really known where to start.  It kind of felt like I was being given a chance to start over.  Instead of carrying my life forward from my old ways of being and my old job, where we would work and then complain, work and then complain, I was given the most precious gift of all, a beautiful baby girl with a wise soul, deep eyes and an open heart, who showed me with her presence and her reactions to my behavior and my unconscious energetic rebukes, what I was really doing.  She was giving me a chance to try again, to see if there really was another way to operate, instead of from defense, blame, victimhood and what about me-hood, she was showing me what my actions were doing to her and she was looking at me with those wise eyes, almost as if to say, “I know you can do this, really I do.”

I’ve since come a long way.  In fact, sometimes I’m not even sure I’m the same person who was angry at our little precious one (9 months old is one time I remember) for not going to sleep, and then deciding that if she wasn’t going to go to sleep, then I would turn on the TV and just watch it.  I’ve been learning how to forgive myself lately and whenever those memories of my unconscious behaviors come up and I start to blame myself and feel guilty, I’m learning to be kind to myself and stop, close my eyes and put my hands on my heart and say, “I forgive myself,” out loud.  It feels really good.  I really didn’t know any better, I really was doing the best I could have, and sometimes when I forgive myself audibly like that, I get goose bumps and I know that it’s true, that I’ve really forgiven myself and I’ve chosen self-love over self-beating-up like I used to.

I'm so grateful for Zara and all I've learned from her and the opportunities I've had to go within since she joined us.
I’m so grateful for Zara and all I’ve learned from her and the opportunities I’ve had to go within since she joined us.

I offer some suggestions to those who are/were like me, who are/were trapped in unconscious patterns of relating to the world and to their children, so that they may see that there are options and alternatives instead of just following along.  I offer them from my heart, from my experience, because I think we all want to do the best for our children and we often hate it when we hear those harsh words come out of our mouths or feel ourselves pulling away from our beauties, or even exploding at them.  We’ve all done it and I feel like we can all unite together in this, instead of hiding in shame and learn from one another and most importantly, learn from our children.  We all remember being the child who was yelled at, who was shamed, who was hit or threatened with abuse, we all remember those feelings, let’s assist one another in stopping the unconscious patterns and let’s start honoring ourselves and our children.

Some things that have helped me:

  • Notice how you talk to yourself when you are around your children.  Is there a constant stream of “you little brat, I’m going to make you do this, how could you do this to me, we only have 5 minutes left, what do you mean you have to pee, you just threw your food on the floor, are you (insert swear word here) kidding me?”  From my experience and from reading Eckhart Tolle’s books, all we have to do is notice it to pull out of it.  Sometimes I’ve noticed it so strongly and I have to completely stop what I am doing and lie down and breathe, or I may do something absolutely silly (which was not like me early on) and run around the house 3 times (I learned that from the book “Adventures in Gentle Discipline”) or sing a song.  I do my best not to give up my power to the thoughts in my head, which are not me in the first place.
  • Notice yourself criticizing your children, either directly or behind their backs (especially when they are in hearing range, actually, it’s best to avoid it completely, they’ll sense it anyway).  Children hear and notice everything.  If you are supportive in front of them and then turn around and roll your eyes or slump over in exhaustion so your friends can see (I’ve seen this), they will feel it and notice it.  We are not masters of deception as parents, children are masters of detection, I especially remember this from my childhood.  Ask yourself why you feel like you need to complain about your child, what purpose does it serve?  Does it help people to like you, does it help you to feel like you fit in that way?  I wonder if all parents like to hear others complain about their children and what would happen if one of us parents started saying, “actually it really bothers me to hear you criticize your child, please don’t share those negative comments with me.  I will always support you in finding constructive ways to deal with your situation, but no criticism please.”  I think I may give it a try.  Actually, I’ve already done it and it’s worked!
  • Think about the things you were told as a child: you are fat, you are so useless, you are so stupid, you can’t do anything, you’ve dropped that again, what’s wrong with you, I hate it when you do that to me, etc.  It won’t take long to think about them, because they are stored inside us, in our subconscious minds, like a little program we learned as children, waiting to play over and over again.  Consider what program you want running in your child and speak from there.  For more information about children and their subconscious minds and the beliefs about the self that get stored there, you can check out Bruce Lipton’s, “the Biology of Belief.”  That book was such an intense wake up call for me.  Children even have different types of brain waves until they are 6, and that is so they can soak up as much about the world as possible, including beliefs about the self, and they get those mainly from their parents.  Consider what types of things you say to your child!
  • If your child is always resisting what you are saying, consider why.  From an early age (6 weeks) we followed “diaper free baby”, so that meant we would assist our daughter to pee in a potty, toilet or sink, instead of in her diapers.  It meant that we were in tune with her, noticing her body movements as signals for when she had to go, etc.  It was a really cool process and I’m glad we did it, we didn’t have to wash as many diapers and it meant we didn’t really have to potty train our daughter because she understood what her body needed to do and into where, from a very early age.  I remember putting her on the potty at certain points, maybe when she was 8 months and she would stand up and look at herself in the mirror (I had my hands under her arm pits and the potty was on the counter, so you can picture it!) and she would sing and bounce and marvel at herself.  I felt myself getting so frustrated that she wouldn’t do what I wanted.  I had such strong memories of my father being frustrated at me like that and I could feel the frustration in my entire body.  I tried to “get” her to go, but of course it didn’t work.  None of us like to be forced!!  I read “Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting” and my life and parenting turned right around.  I was mindful and aware of when I was forcing and I was able to pull back and centre myself and sure enough, there was less force, less control and less battles because I had adjusted how I was approaching my parenting.
  • Instead of blame and anger, consider stopping, breathing, getting some fresh air and realizing and knowing that your child is not out to get you, but is there to highlight that which you haven’t wanted to see for a long time:)  Consider thanking your child and moving on from a fresh place.  I’ve had a lot of help in my “moving on” and “letting go” because in my experience of life, it has never been as easy as just saying it and it being done.  I’ve learned about mindful parenting, I’ve learned about gentle discipline, unconditional parenting, making time for myself (still working on that one), allowing myself to say no and meaning it and it being okay, and I’ve also learned about healing and letting go with an energy coach/healer/guide that I see quite regularly, and through techniques my husband has learned on his own path of reclaiming his life (reconnective healing and heartmath, http://www.healandevolve.ca).  I’ve also learned that yoga, nature walks with my family and friends and dancing are very therapeutic and enjoyable for me.

I think there are traps in parenthood and I think they are there for a wonderful reason, just as our children chose us for a wonderful reason, to help us see the truth of who we are and so that we may honor and love them and allow them to flourish and shine the way they intended when they came to this beautiful planet.

These are pictures of me that Zara took.  I was doing "I Am Happy, I Am Good" (please see www.playingfromtheheartkidsconnect.com for info, it's a Radiant Child Yoga song), and she was cracking me up because she was coaching me along to do it with more emphasis and feeling.  It was a riot.  I've come a long, long way.  I'm really proud of me.
These are pictures of me that Zara took. I was doing “I Am Happy, I Am Good” (please see http://www.playingfromtheheartkidsconnect.com for info, it’s a Radiant Child Yoga song), and she was cracking me up because she was coaching me along to do it with more emphasis and feeling. It was a riot. I’ve come a long, long way. I’m really proud of me.

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How To Talk To Kids

I’m 32.  I remember being a kid and wanting to be treated with respect and I wanted to be a part of the adult conversations.  I didn’t feel like I was a kid who couldn’t be part of the adult world!

I am reminded of this when I go out in the world with our three year old daughter and I hear some of the bizarre ways that people speak to her. I wonder if most of us forget what it is like to be a kid?  Do we forget that we didn’t like mean tricks, or when people tried to fool us or demean us or treat us like we didn’t know anything, or tell us that we were just selfish by nature instead of beautiful beings of light here to enlighten the world?   Did we forget that we don’t need to treat children as separate little beings who don’t know anything!!  That is exactly what we didn’t appreciate as little ones!

Here are some examples of what people have said to our daughter:

-“Oh that’s a nice hat, can I have it?  Can you give it to me so I can take it home?”

-“That’s a great teddy, I’m going to take it home with me, okay?”

-“You’d better be good while you are in here, you’d better be good,” (she was relaxing beautifully in a kid’s chair in a spa, and she had just told me she was feeling as light as a star!)

Here is how our daughter has responded, in the same order:

-“No.”

-“No.”

“I don’t like it when you talk to me like that.”

I was and am SOOOO PROUD of her.  Not to make this about me though.  She is teaching the world about how to talk to kids each time she does that, she is saying, “hey, respect please, don’t fool me and get me to give you my things, and don’t manipulate me and tell me how to act in a spa when I am a paying customer and am quietly enjoying myself!  How about you have a conversation with me because I am capable of that, despite my young age.”   In fact, an older gentleman so appreciated speaking to her one day when we were in line at the cash, that he bought her a chocolate bar, and she had just turned 3 a week before that!  I wrote about it in an older post, “Taking Candy From a Stranger.”

She is so inspiring!  She is helping me to see that I don’t need to fear speaking up for myself, that I don’t need to fear what may happen if she speaks up for herself and that I don’t need to worry about what people think of her or me.  Enough is enough, as she often says.  Let’s honor the children!  We were once children!   Let’s remember the truth of ourselves as people!

Thank you to Zara, our three our old beauty, our teacher and inspiration.

Give Kids Back Their Power!

I was so excited about what happened this afternoon!!  Our family has been learning to take back our power from the world, from circumstances, from scenarios, from people, from everything!  It has been so beautiful and so empowering.  I will explain through the example of what happened at our home earlier today.

My husband Robbin and my daughter Zara (3) were going to go to the park this afternoon and Robbin encouraged Zara to go upstairs to get some socks because it’s cold.  Zara said, “if you don’t get me socks, I won’t go to the park.”  I couldn’t believe it.  We so rarely speak to her or around her like that, but she had heard it before, so she kept it inside and used it right back.  I had first read about teaching children about the reasons for things instead of giving them consequences for why they should do it or removing the privilege in a fantastic parenting book called Gentle Discipline.  The book encourages parents to use logic and reasoning when explaining things to their children instead of just saying, “because I said so,” or “if you don’t do this, you won’t get this,” for example.  Very rarely, I have said to Zara, “okay, well I’ve explained that it’s cold out, so if you’re not going to wear your coat, we won’t go,” (which I totally support when necessary!) and she used it right back at us this afternoon.  After Zara said that, Robbin and I looked at each other, wondering what to say and then out of my mouth came,

“Well Zara, instead of making this about Daddy, why don’t you decide what you want to do.  If you want to go to the park, go get your socks. If you don’t want to go to the park, then don’t, it’s okay either way, but by making it so Daddy has to go get the socks, you’ve given up your power to Daddy going to get them, so do what you want to do instead.”

It was beautiful.  Zara heard me, she left the room, went up the stairs and got her socks and was jumping up and down with excitement to go to the park!!

We can all do this, not just with our children but for ourselves!  Instead of leaving our happiness up to someone else, we can stop, take back the responsibility for our own lives and live for ourselves, and voila, you’ve taken back your power from the world and the circumstances you find yourself in.  I am so grateful for this journey of reclaiming my life and actually living my life instead of being a victim to my life and all its circumstances!

How Green Eggs and Ham helped my parenting

From randomhouse.com

I first read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss several months ago with my 3 year old daughter.  I remember reading it and being struck by how grumpy the character is who won’t eat the green eggs and ham, and how cheerful Sam I Am is, the one who keeps saying, “would you like them here or there, or with a goat?  on a boat?”

I think this book is brilliant.  It is exactly representative of how we don’t have to let our mood and well-being depend on others.  Here is this cute little character who is cheerful throughout the entire book, despite the resistance and almost rudeness of the other taller, fluffy character.

It really hit me one day that this book is so useful for parenting.  I was in the kitchen, preparing some food for my daughter which is always tricky.  I asked her if she would like some food x, and she said no, so I asked her if she would like food y, and she said no.  I felt myself slouch forward and I said, “oh,” and that was the end of it.  I kind of deflated.  Then I said to myself, “hey that little Sam I Am never lets it bother him that the grumpy guy won’t eat, so maybe I can be creative like him.”  So I tried offering her the food in a more wild and fun way, and it made me feel great!  I wasn’t giving up my power or my well-being to her food choices!  I could still get her some food that she would probably eat and I could enjoy myself at the same time!  It became fun and silly to offer her all kinds of wacky combinations of foods in wacky locations.  How about that.  Thank you sincerely Dr. Seuss.  You helped me to see I had a choice!

Mindfulness in shopping

Mindfulness!!

I remember my parents telling me to focus when I was younger and I remember knowing they were trying to help me, but they didn’t really help me because I didn’t know how to focus!!

Now I’m learning that bringing your attention to what you are doing is mindful, it is focused, it is being grounded, with your feet on the ground, all those expressions!  It is being engaged in your life, in the present moment, it is caring about yourself enough to notice what is going on, even if that means that you notice you are 20 minutes ahead of where you are in your day!  Mindfulness is noticing where your attention is or isn’t, it’s noticing that you are thinking about ice cream instead of having your attention on your two year old who is climbing up on the stool to reach the ice creams cones that you hid on the top shelf.

I first read about mindfulness in a beautiful parenting book that literally turned my parenting style around with great benefits called, “Everyday Blessings: The inner work of mindful parenting.”  I’ve come across mindfulness more and more as I continue to grow and heal and look inside to find out what is preventing me from living my true life.  There are many brilliant ways to learn about mindfulness and to live mindfully.  This post won’t be about all those brilliant ways, but rather about what I recently brought my attention to while shopping.

We tend to buy organic food when it is available and affordable.  For the most part, we don’t eat as many packaged foods with the exception of crackers and chips and pastas!  We all still love those! I’ve brought my attention to food labels whenever we buy something that is in a package and it’s a way of being aware of what I’m choosing to put into my body and to feed to my family.  We know our bodies can digest and process anything (please see the My Healings section of this blog and My Food Healing for more information!), but we’re choosing to eat healthy foods so our bodies don’t have to work as hard.  I have realized as I’ve shopped over this past year, that just because something is gluten free, or organic or sold as a natural product in a health food store, that it doesn’t mean that it is nutritious or wholesome.  I’ve been surprised that some of the supposedly healthy foods sold in packages are sometimes just as “junky” as their name brand counterparts.  I have found it both rewarding and refreshing to pick up those products, read the ingredients and then put them back.  It makes me feel like my awareness and the attention I put into food is worthwhile.  So here is the exception!

I was going to a local store here in Ottawa because they sell organic ice cream.  The store, Rainbow Foods, is the only one I’ve found that sells it.  So when I saw that it was on sale, I said to my daughter, “oh they have strawberry, do you want to try that too?”  She agreed, so I grabbed it without even looking.  I saw a picture of a strawberry on the packaging, it’s from a company that I buy from regularly and that I’ve always been impressed with, so I bought it! We brought it home and we opened it up right away to try.  For some reason, at that point, I read the ingredients and it said, “natural flavor” and there were no actual strawberries in it.  I felt so misled and disappointed.  How could that be?  How could there be no actual berries in it?  I felt like I was in a science fiction book where you get to choose from wafer 1-15, each with a different flavor because fruits and vegetables and “real food” couldn’t be grown any more because people had taken up all the space.  It was a real moment of “wow” for me, like, wow, how could they do that?  How could there be the word “strawberry” on the outside of the package, without the front of the container having to say, “strawberry flavoured ice cream”.  I used to work at Health Canada before my daughter was born and there are so many food regulations, and I was really surprised that there wasn’t a regulation that stipulated that if there is no actual ingredient, then the packaging must obviously state, “flavoured”.

It really reminded me to continue to bring my attention to the foods I purchase with our money and that we eat to nourish our bodies.  I am planning on writing to the company to express my disappointment and I may even look into if there are any regulatory requirements for that as it is very misleading otherwise.  I found a container of organic strawberry yogurt today that didn’t have any strawberries, only flavour and red cabbage to make the color.  Wow again.  Strawberry yogurt with cabbage in it instead of strawberries.

All that to say, it is important to be mindful while shopping, especially as we buy food to nourish our bodies. I’m not mindful of clothing and other goods yet and knowing which companies best support their workers or which countries have regulations to protect their workers from poor working conditions and low wages, but one step at a time!  Please share any examples that you have come across as you have explored living more mindfully and what has really caught your attention as you open up your heart and your eyes to your life and what is really going on as you live it!!

A choice

I felt choice-less for so long.  It feels really long, even though it was about 31 years, well no, closer to 32, which is how old I am now.  It’s taken me a year and a half of work with an amazingly loving and beautiful and intuitive energy healer to get to the realization that I have a choice.  Every day, every minute, every second.  I can choose how I want my life to be.  I can choose.  Wow.  I had no idea.  I was living in such a helpless and choice-less place.  In fact, I think it’s pretty awesome that I’m starting to see that I have a choice, that I have a voice I can use, that I have legs that can move my body if I’m not pleased with where I am, and that I have a light inside that I can amplify so that I can bask in my light, in my love and always know that I am safe and loved and cared for.  Even if it had taken me my whole life, it would have been a worthy lesson, a lesson that would have been a huge accomplishment to have learned in one life time.  And now, here I am, every day, remembering that I can choose.

During my last healing session, which I kind of thinking of as a “cutting the cord” healing and a “finding my voice” healing, I remember saying to Jean, “you know, I look forward to the day when I don’t feel guilty or bad about things.”  Tee hee.  Jean looked at me, so intensely, so seriously and she said,” well you know Bradlee, you can wait for that day, or you can choose it now, you really don’t have to wait.”  Hahaha, I think you could have heard the light bulb turning on or the proverbial click, “aha, she got it!!”  It settled into every cell in my body, which was super exciting!  I have a choice!  Wohoo!!

So, a week or so later, I asked my daughter who is 3 if she could feel that I had been worrying about her when we were out at a friend’s house.  She said she could feel it.  I started to feel bad and then I said, “you know Zara, one of these days, I won’t worry about you any more, because you are so capable and so perfect in every way,” and then, I heard it again, the click, this realization, the choice that I had at that exact moment.  WOW!!  I said, “oh my goodness Zara, I have a choice!!  I don’t have to worry about you any more, right now, I can do this!  I don’t have to choose to do this any more!!”  I got really excited and I bolted right up.  I don’t remember if I sang, or danced, or if that was only an internal thing, but it was like a huge weight off of me and off of her.  I felt the difference, I was able to feel the weight of that worry, and I knew it was gone, that I had made a conscious decision to let her be herself, to trust her, to trust her inner knowing, which is so strong, so wise, so powerful.  As I’m healing, I’m learning to trust myself, to stop worrying about myself, so as I am letting go of the need to protect myself, it’s extending to Zara because I was so over-protective of her.  Now I see that I can also choose to let her go, let her be herself and to learn more to trust herself and to learn how capable she is without her mother always there, hovering.  My mom did the same for me, she was always there, protecting me one way or another because that inner need to protect your child is so strong, especially since it stems from all of your own past hurts.  For many reasons I’m now starting to understand (from this life and many past lives), I always felt so unloved, so unsafe, so scared.   If I can free myself and let myself be free, and let myself be me, then Zara will be herself, instead of a shadow of herself, like I always felt like I was.  I was barely there, that’s what it felt like.  May this letting go, may this choice, allow my daughter and I greater freedom, greater independence, greater trust and great love!!

When I was at Jean’s house for that last healing, Jean had turned off the soft music because she had felt like it was distracting me.  We went into this huge boil I had on my inner thigh to find out what was in there and it was my mom’s voice, yelling at me to leave her alone because she was busy and didn’t have time for me then.  I remember being little and even older and kind of hanging around her, looking for love, for play times, for connecting and she would ask me if I needed her to entertain me and she asked me to go do something else.  Whenever she said that, I felt awful inside, it always seemed so cruel, so hurtful, so loud, so scary, I didn’t want to be alone, I was so terrified of being alone, even if it was just by myself to play.  I think we all have that place inside, where we want to scream out, “LEAVE ME ALONE!!!”, especially as a mother of young children, who is trying to do everything perfectly, be responsible, to love her kids, to give her kids what she didn’t have, but not having enough time for herself.  I think all moms can relate to that, I have certainly felt it, as well as it’s opposite, “PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME.”  It can be quite a confusing dynamic to life out in daily life, and as I’m seeing it, how I was stuck in that, I can now appreciate all the confusion I felt!!

During the healing, I had to go inside and find that 3 year old me who had learned that it was better not to speak, better to be seen rather than heard, she who came to think she wasn’t good enough, wasn’t love-able and who was worthless.  I cried alot and then I sent her to the light with her true family.  She didn’t want to leave at first, she was too scared, so Jean helped me to love her and to coach her that she was okay, that she had done her job, that she could go home to the light.  I always love that part, I remember feeling all those little selves my whole life, controlling me, trying to protect me, trying to keep me safe, when really the circumstances had changed and yet, they were limiting me, creating my reality.  So, to find them inside, to hear their messages, to allow myself to feel the pain I was never allowed to feel, to express the emotions that were shoved down (again, we all do these things), and then to send them to the love and light, wow, it is truly transformational and pure and beautiful.    There was another little me in there too, a 6 month old me who was alone in her crib, crying out, feeling unsafe and unloved and wanting protection while my parents were in the hallway fighting.  It’s amazing, I never remember my parents fighting, they were so not the fighting kind (if they had disagreements it was usually non-verbal, but I remember feeling it nonetheless), but there must have been that time very early in my life.  I had absorbed the anger and fear from their argument, the leave me alone, and the please don’t leave me that were cycling back and forth during that argument.  It’s what happens to all children and really to all of us, if we aren’t aware, if we aren’t grounded in our bodies, the energy of the argument comes right in and stays there, even if it isn’t our argument, and then an hour later we have a headache and we don’t know why.  I can think of all those times I felt heavy after being around certain situations and that heaviness now makes sense!!

After experiencing the feelings I had as a 6 month old, we released her to the light too.  Then Jean had me envision a cord between my mom and I, and then she had me cut it.  I saw a picture of us falling apart, and then she quickly said, “okay, now seal it with your love.”  I LOVED that part!  It was so loving, so beautiful, so true, so in respect of the relationship with my mom, it was almost like a way of saying, ‘all that happened, it’s okay, we’re going to live side by side in the love,  not in a crazy mother daughter knot any more, it’s okay, we’re good, I love you mom, thank you for all that you have done for me and thanks for your support as I grow and become my true self.” I really felt nice.  Then I did it with my daughter and I, a shorter version because Jean hadn’t suggested it, but it felt right, to allow for her and I have to that same love, that same space, that same side by side dancing, instead of knotted tangled attempts at life.  Then, the music turned on, just like that and much louder than before when Jean had turned it off.  We both looked at each other, the stereo was on the other side of the room, and we were both silent.  She looked at the clock and it was 12:12pm and she kind of gasped, and she said, “Bradlee, it’s 12:12pm, it’s a number of a huge opening for you (she explained that any double numbers are representatives of openings in a life).”  Then she paused and she said, “Archangel Michael is here, wow, let’s just sit here with our eyes closed and take all of this in.”  I felt radiant and beautiful and then I cried a bit because I felt worthy, I felt loved and protected.  I had experienced this huge opening for my mom, myself and my daughter, a beautiful loving opening and Archangel Michael came to support me and to give me his love and he turned the music on.  I basked in it and felt the possibilities.  I remember crying on and off and I know we talked a bit more afterwards.  Jean had told me, “Bradlee if you don’t believe that you are supported and being cared for after this…” and then I knew, without a doubt, that I was loved, that God was with me, that angels are with me, and that they truly are with all of us, because if they are with me, they are with all of us. I had given up on God, Jesus and angels and all of it, and they keep coming to me to show me they’ve always been there, that I can call on them if I need them and that they are here for me to support and love me.

An aside: Please check out this link if you are interested in a story about how my daughter and I called on Green Tara (a Buddha) and she came to help us!  We are truly supported: https://livingmytruelife.com/2012/06/25/a-visit-from-green-tara/

Wow.  Is there any other word I can write than wow?  Maybe thank you.  Maybe there are no words, but rather I can live my true life, and be grateful that I am here, that I am questioning the old, letting go of the old, and welcoming in my truth and living really and truly from that place.

Before I finish this post, I’d like to add that I’ve always been scared that I have a bad singing voice. It’s always seemed so weak and scared to me. I can think of many times when I have been told that I am not a good singer, or felt like I was no good at singing, etc., so it never really surprised me.  Now that I’m teaching family and kids yoga and singing a lot, I was thinking I would get some voice lessons, to be able to project my voice and find it’s power.  I came home after this healing last Monday and I sang a song for my daughter and there was so much power and volume in my voice, I didn’t recognize it.  I tried it again, there it was, my voice, loud and powerful!!  And it sounded nice!!! By releasing those energies that day, it freed up my voice to the next level, so I could speak up for myself, so that I could find the power within and sing it out.  What a true blessing and gift.  I’m honored, thrilled and very excited to see how I continue to shift and evolve and open as I commit to myself, totally and completely.

With love and much peace,

Bradlee

How I took attachment parenting too far

Before you are a parent, it’s easy to judge, to watch parents, and think that you could do such a better job.  We have all done it.  When you are a parent, you reel, you think, wow, how could this be so hard, how could I be so unprepared for this?  Why didn’t anyone tell me that this little being would open me up so much, that I would be so filled with love for him/her and with pain from my own childhood, all at the same time?  Even if they had told me, you wonder, would you have listened, would it have sunk in?

I was so ready to love a child, that much I knew, but that was the extent of it.  After Zara was born in early 2009, I felt so much love for her, I was soooo happy, I wanted to love her, honor her, squeeze her and kiss her and I wanted to have a chance to do it right.  I thought to myself, maybe I can do this better than my parents, better than other people, maybe I can really do this.  Ha, I used to be so judgmental, even in loving my own child, I had to compare it to others.  I am so happy to continue to pull out of that consciousness that encircles our planet, the judgement, the need to be better, the need to compare, it’s getting easier just to be me, thank goodness.

After Zara was born, there were times when she wouldn’t sleep.  I watched others with babies that slept, so I thought I must have been doing it wrong.  I tried and tried and tried, unaware that trying was what might have been making it harder; trying to be perfect, trying to help her so she never cried, so she would never feel alone like I so remembered feeling.  After a lot of trying and crying, I started reading more and more parenting books.  I read about Attachment Parenting, principles of which include:

-co-sleeping, baby-wearing, breast-feeding and extended breast-feeding, not controlling your child, but rather giving them permission to be themselves, not forcing your child, but guiding them, baby-led weaning, gentle discipline, unconditional parenting, mindful parenting, etc.

I read so many books and I joined an awesome local Attachment Parenting group where I met like-minded people!!  Whenever Zara would nap, she needed to be in my arms, so through reading those books, I was able to accept that she needed to be in my arms to nap (or else she would wake up), so I accepted that for 2-ish hours a day, I would be sitting on the bed, reading.  I took advantage of that time and I read.  I filled myself up with all of these ways to honor my daughter in ways that I never knew possible.  I armed myself with those principles and they became my bible….

I have met so many beautiful parents who are attachment parenting (AP), doing what they feel is best for their child.  It is truly exciting to see so many parents who just aren’t willing to let their kids cry themselves to sleep, or to be let alone in their rooms to cry until they can “calm down.”  There are many more of us who are aware of what we experienced as children and who are trying to do better for their children.  I think the irony is that in the trying, we end up doing the exact opposite of our parents, and then there we are, right at the other extreme, and really, is that any better?  Maybe if I share my story a bit it will help to explain what I went through and what I see other people doing.

I decided that I was going to use every single principle from those books I read: we would limit praise, we would get creative to help Zara transition, we would co-sleep, I would breastfeed until she was ready to wean, she would never be left to cry it out by herself (I had tried that a couple of times in my most desperate moments and I felt like I was a tiny baby again, crying by myself, feeling like I was dying inside, so thankfully it didn’t last more than 3-4 times), we would follow her lead, we would give her lots of leeway, I would carry her in a baby carrier or baby backpack, I would limit how much I would leave her because it was always hard on both of us when I left, etc.   Again, I used all of those principles as my bible, if something happened, I would scan my mental list of attachment parenting tools and I would use the gentle approaches to help us.  Is that wrong, is it a bad thing?  No not necessarily.  It really helped us, but it was extreme and I will elaborate.

It got to the point where it was like Zara was controlling us.  I was so desperate for her to feel loved and appreciated, that I gave myself up. I used all of those tools from the attachment parenting books and I used them to my detriment, even to Zara’s detriment.  I never gave myself permission to say no to her, I did everything I could all the time to say yes.  I thought it was horrible if she cried, so I did dances so she wouldn’t cry.  I tried to keep her happy at all costs.  I sacrificed my well-being, the well-being of our family and my relationship with my husband even, just to employ those principles.  It was like I had read those books through the eyes of a 2 year old hurt me, and I vowed to follow them no matter what, even when I was suffering inside from using those AP principles.  I remember so many incidents where I was using some tools, thinking I was “doing so well”, because I was doing what I had read, but somewhere inside I knew I had gone too far. I even judged other parents for not AP parenting, and I remember judging other AP parents for not being AP enough.

It wasn’t until I got really sick and couldn’t eat anything any more, that I started to see it.  The naturopath I saw told me, “you are reactive parenting,” and I remember being shocked, horrified. What, I thought, how could I be reactive parenting, I’m an AP parent!!  But she was right.  I was viewing my daughter’s life through the eyes of all those hurt inner children who I was still carrying inside and I was reacting to the past hurts I had experienced, from a place of “there is no f&*^king way I’m doing that to Zara.”  And there it was.  I was reactive parenting.  Wow. What a good call!!  Hahaha, it was hard to hear, but it was exactly what I needed to hear, and that comment started me on my path to my soul, to my awakening from the depths of unconsciousness, to the awareness and the place I am in now, more connected to myself, more aware, more balanced than I ever thought possible.

So now, I ask myself, am I still off balance, are there more ways I can come more to the middle, to be living and parenting from my heart and not from the hurts?  I have come so far, I am so proud of myself, so proud of my daughter for how far she has come as I have opened up my heart and let go of the hurt that kept me so deeply locked in protection mode and so proud of my husband for doing the same work, so we can each be free and be a more cohesive and happy and balanced family unit. I am so happy that I am working to get to this balanced place, so I’m not carrying around as much anger towards my parents, instead I can love them and honor them and really and truly know that I am just like them, doing the best I can, through different paths, not one path being better or any more worthy than another. It is truly a different life for me and for my family and I am feeling so blessed and loved.

I can always come closer to the middle, to a more balanced place and I am exceptionally committed to that, to living my true life, instead of one that is chosen for me by emotions, judgement and fear.  No longer.

I ask you, are you at one of the extremes with your parenting?  Can you be honest with yourself and take baby steps to come back to the middle?  I send you love and support as you love yourself and your family and take a look.

With love,

Bradlee