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Dearest new mama,
 
You are incredible! Bringing a little one into the world is no easy task, as I am sure you are well aware. When I look back on when my guys were little wee ones I remember the joy as well as the fear I felt. Wanting to make sure I did things right by them. Worrying that I would mess up.  All moms feel that at one point or another.
 
And while it is important that we do our best, doing our best as a new mom does NOT mean being perfect. You are human.  You are allowed to make mistakes. You will make mistakes. Accept it now and know that making mistakes is part of being a parent. It is part of being human.  It is part of life!
 
What is important is what we learn from it.  But even more so what our babies who become children who become responsible adults learn from it.  THat’s right, we learn from our mistakes and so do our babies. They learn that the it is not the end of the world when they mess-up. They learn that they can recover, they will be alright, they can make it right.  Yes, all that from your mistake and how you handle it afterward.
 
So you see your task as a new mother, is not to be perfect, but to be human.  Handling any mishaps with the caring heart that you have.  It is your intention that matters after all.
 
There may be times that you feel fed-up, overwhelmed or just plain tired.  Your judgement may be compromised and you end up doing things differently than you thought you would.  It is tempting at these times to spiral into self-doubt or self judgement.  But that won’t help your situation.  One of the best things you can do is give your self permission to make mistakes.  It does not make you a failure.  You are a new mom, you are learning on the job, there is no manual.
 
Trust your Self.
 
 

Being a first-time mama is an amazing experience. The New Mama Welcome Pack blog hop is a celebration of this life changing event! Follow the links to discover more unmissable advice, stories and essential tips. And if you’re a new mama who wants to rock motherhood without guilt, overwhelm or losing yourself, check out the New Mama Welcome Pack here.

New Mama Welcome Pack / Lotte Lane / Dreaming Aloud / Zhendria / Birthing in Conscious Choice / Natalie Garay / Eli Trier / Knecht Ruprecht / Lise Meijer / Naomi Goodlet / A Lifestyle By Design / Story of Mum / Like a Bird / Holistic Mama / Birth Geek / Joyful Parenting / StrollerPacking / My Healthy Beginning / Mums and More / Kate Beddow – Growing Spirits / http://ellenightingale.com”>Ellen Nightingale / Stacie Whitney / MaternityLeavers / Photography for Busy Parents / Close Enough To Kiss / Atelier Susana Tavares / OffbeatFamily / Katie m. Berggren ~ Painting Motherhood / http://www.winshipwellness.com/blog.html”>Winship Wellness Blog / Liberate From Weight / JessicaCary / Art + Craft / RaisingPlayful Tots / Peaceful Mothering / Play Activities / Lauren Nenna / Nurture You / The Adventure Mama / Be Wise Be Healthy / b.a.d.momGoodmom / Doula in Your Pocket / Making Mom Strong / Adrienn Csoknyay / Joyful Parents / AlisonHummel / Simple Solutions for Photos / Lynne Newman / EuphoricBirth / Mumpreneur Mentor / AWalk in the Clouds / Parenting on the Fence / MiaMily

 

Over the past week, my youngest son has planted seeds with me.  He has carefully chosen seeds that he likes: watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, basil with the hopes of them growing into big and strong plants.  We have a plot at a community garden as well as a raised bed on our second floor balcony which my husband made.  He asked that his melon could be planted on the balcony because in the past year the animals have always gotten to the melons before we have.  He wants to protect them. He doesn’t want to have to pick them before they are ready, when they are too small and not ripe, simply to avoid having them bitten into.

 

And so with this in mind, knowing that his plants may not make it to full fruition, he planted the seeds anyway.  Knowing that there is only so much he can do to protect these plants, he patted the soil down anyway with hopes that in planting the seed and starting the growth, good things would happen.

 

And so it is with life.  We plant the seeds, knowing not all of them will make it, but hoping they will and doing what we can so that they do anyway.  We don’t give up at the start, not bothering to plant the seed.  We hold fast to our intentions, our hopes and our dreams, nurturing them with our belief in them, and in ourselves, our ability to bring them into fruition.

 

And so it is with parenting; we do what we can to bring our children up with a belief in themselves to reach their dreams, even against the odds.

 

We need to prepare the vessels that contain them.

Nourish.

Give them space.

Protect.

Remember only what is important.

Allow them to grow.

That is how we parent

 

 

Today I’m pleased to have Shel of ElfWench Studio sharing her thoughts on parenting

 

Tell us a little about your family

I live with my husband Shawn and our two kids in Sitka Alaska.  Jason aka The Squirrelman is 9 and Angelina aka The Diva is 3.  Jason is all about building things, computers, and books.  Like a lot of kids with ADHD he is scary smart.  We’re fairly sure he is going to be an engineer someday.  Angie is our creative force of nature.  She loves to dance and draw.  She will probably grow up to be a cross between Fancy Nancy, Angelina Ballerina, and  Zena Warrior Princess.  We also share our home with a spunky black cat named Midnite.

 

 

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use.

If I had to put a label on it, I would say intuitive.  We have no real set style and go with whatever seems to work.  I tend to evolve and adapt how I interact and react with my kids based on who they are at any given moment.  I had to laugh when one day my son’s OT asked me to come and talk to a group of parents whose kids had similar issues.  She said “whatever your secret is, I want you to share it with the other parents”.  She was astonished when I said I didn’t have a secret, I just do what feels like the right thing to do at that time.  Just as a I would with anyone else.  Why should my kids be any different?

 

What do you see your role is as a parent?

I see myself as a guide and I hope, a role model.  I very much believe in letting my children be who they are and not what I or anyone else thinks they should be.  We want them to figure out their hopes, their dreams, their own ambitions.  I see it as my job to encourage them in that while showing them how to honor other people for who they are as well, no matter how different.

 

 

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?

I won’t lie, I am not a patient person.  I can’t tell you the number of times I catch myself getting overly impatient with my kids.  I find that making sure to get some quiet “me” time in every day helps a lot.  Even if I have to put on a movie for the kids and lock myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes.  Sometimes it means writing in a notebook, listening to music, reading the news, or even crying out my frustrations some days.  Stopping what I’m doing, closing my eyes, and counting to 10 is also a trick I use frequently.  Believe it or not, it helps.  A lot.

 

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

Hugs.  Definitely the hugs.  That and watching them grow, explore, and become kind, amazing little people.

 

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself?  What might you say to other parents?

Chill out and don’t be so hard on yourself.  Don’t worry about the dirt and let them run around naked to their hearts content. Kids aren’t and shouldn’t be “by the book” so don’t sweat what “The Book” says.  The book isn’t doesn’t know your kids and isn’t raising them, YOU are.  Trust YOU. 

 

And give yourself a hug.

 

About Shel

To sum me up nicely: Wife, mommy, gamer, goddess, meat/dairy free, wench, history nut, bibliophile, photographer, artist, maker of shiny the things, tattooed, pierced, small biz owner, crazy for yoga & the sea breeze.

Where to Stalk:

Twitter www.twitter.com/theelfwench

Facebook

www.facebook.com/pages/ElfWench-Studio/125344074235597

ElfWench Studio www.ElfWenchStudio.com

Namaste

Shel

 

 

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below!  Be sure to join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!

Today I share with you a guest post from the wonderfully wise Allurynn of Creations by Moonlight, who shares her thoughts about her adventures into parenthood.

 

Tell us a little about your family

Well, I am married to my best friend and soulmate…we have 3 wonderful children. This is my second marriage so my two eldest are his step children. My daughter is twenty-two and lives on her own in California, my eldest son is sixteen and my youngest son is four.

Both my husband and I have “day jobs”, but we also run our own businesses, I’m a work-at-home Mom, as I have a home studio where I do my “day job” and run my jewelry business; and we also have an Alpaca Ranch where we sale products made by their fiber.

Up until six months ago, my youngest spent his days with me. Which I have to admit was a blessing to have the opportunity to raise him, since with my oldest two, I was a single Mom for 13 years, they were in Daycare early on in their lives. Now, my youngest attends preschool 2 days a week, at first it was a major adjustment for BOTH of us…now he really looks forward to it and I enjoy having those hours to focus on my work.

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use.

Well, I was raised by strict Italian catholic parents…that said, my childhood life wasn’t enjoyable…beatings were acceptable, not to mention verbal abuse. I swore I would not raise my kids that way.

Am I lenient, easy on my kids…no. If you asked them they would say I was strict, but fair and reasonable. I’ve never raised my hand to my kids but have often raised my voice. I was blessed with kids that are strong willed and strong minded, much like me, lol, so it’s been a challenge raising two of them as a single Mom. Disciplining them revolves around timeouts when they were young to grounding and having privileges taken away. But I always believe in clear communication, honesty and being there and available for my children as much as I can be. So, along with those timeouts and grounding there were lots of talk around behavior and consequences.

I never forced my spiritual believes on them either, so they are open to diversity and are well rounded kids. I don’t know what parenting style I have, I just know I did and do the best I could with not having a role model of my own. Twenty-two years later I see I did well by my daughter and hope to do the same for my other two.

 

What do you see your role is as a parent?

I see my role as a parent as being here to guide, protect and teach these wonderful souls who chose me to come to this earth through. I don’t see myself as superior but as an equal to them. They are such wise souls and I want to nurture and support them, not crush them or conform them to society’s ways. I’m all about giving them room to blossom and bloom in their own unique way.

 

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?

The most difficult part of parenting for me was when my older two hit puberty and they pulled away from me. Though I was told it’s a stage they all go through, as this is how they can find their independence and place in the world, it was a really difficult time for me. Those teenage years are scary, with all the influences out there and the peer pressure, not connecting and having clear communication with them left me in the dark and that was worrisome for me. It’s when we question ourselves as parents, if we did good by them, taught them enough to be rest assured that they will make wise choices.

When my daughter went through it, it broke my heart, we were so close and yet she too had to pull away and find herself. What got me through this difficult time was knowing it was a normal stage in their lives and feeling confident that I could trust them to be wise and smart with their choices. The best part is once they do get through it, a few years later they come back around. Our relationships have been as strong and close if not closer than they ever were. After going through it twice I know I can get through it with my third.

 

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

The most rewarding part of parenting for me has been watching my kids grow and blossom into young adults. Despite the hardships and struggles we’ve experienced they have come through, become stronger and have an understanding that they can get through rough spots in their lives too.

With my youngest, his family dynamics are much different, as he has both parents in his life and his world isn’t so full of struggles. So, with him I’m able to enjoy and cherish our time together, without the stress of being the sole provide. I can be in his life in a much bigger way and watching him grow into a “big boy” is so rewarding for me.

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself? What might you say to other parents?

Well, I feel I have an advantage here, cos’ I can look back to when I was a younger parent, having a 22 year old daughter, and I’ve been blessed with the chance of being a parent again in my 40’s having a 4 year old son. The most helpful message I could give myself or any young parent, would be to keep following my (their) heart, like I had been doing all along. Everyone has their own way of parenting, and much like religious paths…no one way is better than the other. I feel as long as we do the best we can to help them thrive and become well rounded adults, then we are doing it right.

 

Allurynn has been on her magickal Goddess journey for many years now; following the rhythms and cycles of the Moon and our Mother Earth. Nature not only inspires her, but it also feeds her soul, like the creation of her art does. Creations by Moonlight is a place where she can share her passion and love of handcrafted items to inspire, honor and adorn the Goddess in every woman, be it through her jewelry or unique treasures. Her art is a reflection of her own spirituality and vision. She allows her inner Goddess to reflect love and joy through her paintings and paper art and through her jewelry she allows the Goddess within to honor the Goddess in every woman.

You can find Allurynn here: Creations by Moonight   Facebook

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below!  Be sure to join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!

I am so happy to share with you today a guest post by the lovely and inspiring Karina Ladet of Karina’s Inner Space. Karina shares with us her thoughts on parenting from a multicultural perspective.

 

Tell us a little about your family

My name is Karina and I live with my husband Olivier and our two children, Gabriel (almost 6) and Lou Kalliste (almost 3) in a small village in the South of France. We’re a pretty multicultural family as I am a Cuban born Swede with a Swedish dad and a Romanian mom, and my husband is French. Being from different cultures means that my husband and I regularly “discuss” what is the “right” way to do things, ha, ha! I am pretty sure most couples deal with that but it seems like an extra challenge for us as we have been brought up in very different ways.

 

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use.

Wow! My parenting style started out very influenced by attachment parenting and I love being physically close to my children. With the arrival of our second child I have become a little more detached and I now allow myself more time for myself and I respect my own space more too… My husband has been brought up in a more traditional way and we have talked for hours about how to balance a traditional style with a more hippie-inspired one ; ). When we became parents for the first time we realised just how opposite our views on education were but I am happy to say that we have now (almost 6 years later!) found a good balance that works for us and our family.

 

What do you see your role is as a parent?

To be fully present with my children as much as possible and to walk my talk. I try to let my children be as free and independent as they need to be and also respect my need for boundaries. I see children as perfect and whole human beings when they arrive in this world and my task is to be there next to them when they need me. I try to communicate with them in a respectful way and let them express any feelings that they need to let out. I also realise more and more that it is so important that I live my own life and do things that make me happy because my children also learn from that. My view of my role as a parent seems to evolve with time. Nothing is rigid, everything can change.

 

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?

Oh! When my son was born he became the centre of our family and I was so in tune with his needs (or what I thought were his needs : ) that I completely forgot about myself. What helped me was to talk to other parents and to my husband. He is so much better at respecting his own boundaries and kept telling me it was ok for me to take care of myself too. I became so much more relaxed after that! Now I take it easy and try not to be too hard on myself

 

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

All the Love in my life! And getting to know two amazing young people. They have taught me so much about life and about myself. Going through pregnancies and giving birth has given me access to an incredible internal strength. After my son’s birth I felt like Superwoman! Anything was possible after going through that.

 

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself? What might you say to other parents?

 

• Take care of yourself too! You don’t have to do something big but give yourself some me-time every day.

• Ask for help when you need it! You don’t have to do everything on your own.

• Allow yourself to be human with good days and bad days. It’s ok not to be Supermom every day. Children don’t need perfect parents. They need loving and caring parents and then you can work your way from there.

 

 

Karina Ladet

 

 

 

 

is a channel and happy hippie-at-heart. She offers one on one readings, workshops and (soon!) e-courses where you can learn how to communicate with your guides and angels. Visit her on her blog Karina’s Inner Space or connect with her on facebook
 

 

 

 

 

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below!  Be sure to join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!

The other week-end the weather was so gorgeous there was no excuse for not getting outside and into nature.  On the Saturday it was a bit chillier, but a Peregrine Falcon payed us a visit beckoning us to come outside.  My sons were thrilled to see the Peregrine Falcon so close, as it had visited that week before in our backyard but further away.  Good thing too, as it was eating a sparrow on the back fence, not something I want to see up close (bloody awful, literally).

We watched in awe as this beautiful and strong bird went about its business.

We acknowledged together that though we felt bad for the bird it was eating, we knew that it was all part of the cycle of life.

I looked up Peregrine Falcon and found this “It has been suggested that rescuing the peregrine from extinction has been one of mankind’s greatest environmental success stories.”  How wonderful that this powerful and fast-flying bird sometimes referred to as the “cheetah of the sky” visited us that weekend.  It was a reminder of the marvel of nature’s strength and ability to survive and then thrive.

On the Sunday when the weather was milder, we went for a bike ride in the valley and stopped to make some nature art . I have included some fast forward videos here to inspire.

There is no right or wrong way of doing this.  As long as you are respectful of nature, living plants, and possible habitats for small inhabitants, then how it looks is up to you.

 

Today we have a guest post from the creative Leah Piken Kolidas of  the Blue Tree Art Gallery & Creative Every Day. Leah shares her insights into being a new parent  of  her 9 month old baby.

 

 

Tell us a little about your family:

I live with my husband, Andrew, our 9 month old daughter, Annabelle, and our four cats near Boston, MA. I’m a part-time artist and full-time SAHM. We are over the moon about our little girl!

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use:

We’re just at the beginning, so I imagine some of our style is yet to be determined. I know that we want to have a household with open communication, lots of nurturing, and creativity.  We want her to feel loved, supported, and encouraged. I want to be firm and consistent with certain things and more flexible (room for discussion) on others. Right now, while she’s young, parenting seems to be mostly about creating routines and a safe, loving environment in which she can thrive.

 

What do you see your role is as a parent?

I see my role as being a loving, supportive, encouraging, and consistent person in her life. Someone who will provide a safe, loving home, where she’s able to express herself, ask questions, and grow. I also see myself as being a role model, so that she learns by example, from watching my relationship with my husband and with my relationship with my work.

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?

Thus far, it has pained me most to see her cry. Working through getting her to fall asleep on her own was a real challenge for me, but with some support from my husband and friends who’ve been through it before, we found a way to help her through the transition and we’re all sleeping better now!

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

Watching her grow and learn is absolutely fascinating. Also, the look of love in her eyes, when she sees my husband and I, is the most heart-melting experience. I know that she feels loved.

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself?  What might you say to other parents?

To myself I’d say, nothing can truly prepare you for becoming a mother. The beginning is hard, but don’t doubt yourself. You’re going to be great parents. To other parents, I don’t feel like I can share any real words of wisdom at this point. I guess I’d just say, welcome to the adventure!

Leah Piken Kolidas

is a mixed-media artist living near Boston with her husband, their daughter, and their four cats. She sells her artwork at www.BlueTreeArtGallery.com and leads creativity challenges at her blog, www.CreativeEveryDay.com. You can also find her on twitter: @leah_art.

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below!  Be sure to join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!

Today I have a guest post over at Medicinal Marizipan please join me there!

 

Today I’m pleased to share the wonderful honesty of Michele Fischer from Finding Your Voice and Big Dreaming Entrepreneur.  

Tell us a little about your family

My family consists of me and my husband, our 14 month old daughter and a menagerie of fur kids that include 2 dogs and 4 cats.

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use.

I am intuitive. I don’t follow any style as I found most parenting books annoying (I used to throw them across the room when I was pregnant) because I just felt they made things seem so impossible. EVERYTHING was a big deal (Oh no don’t paint the nursery pink because you will prejudice the child against other colors!!!). I personally look at my daughter and do what feels right. My husband and I both are followers of a loose routine and consider ourselves very adaptable.

What do you see your role is as a parent?

I consider myself to be more of a guide to letting her become the best person she is meant to be-whatever that is for her! I sit back and watch what interests her. For example like she LOVES books! She will sit with them and “read” them out loud to herself-so I buy her more books. Next week if she likes blocks I will foster that. It’s not about pushing something down her throat because a book or society says you should.

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?


Dealing with extended family has been the biggest challenge. Suddenly family members we see 3 times a year wanted into our lives and I struggled with that. I love my time with those closest to me and am very protective of it. What helped me through it was just talking with my husband-A LOT and figuring out what worked for our family and how we could compromise to allow other people to be a part of our daughter’s life. It is an on-going adjustment.

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

Watching her learn, smile, explore. Knowing that I get to guide her on this journey is an amazing feeling.

 

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself? 

What might you say to other parents?

My message to most parents is to remember that a “good” parent is a happy parent. We don’t have to be martyrs and there is no shame in saying “I can’t do this I need help.” If you are running ragged, exhausted and feeling as if you’re always sacrificing for your family-how are they going to feel? I would hate to think my mother gave up everything to raise me. I want my daughter to remember parents that enjoyed life as much as she does; parents who pursued dreams and hobbies, had meaningful friendship and knew how to not only take care of ourselves but her as well.

I often think of something I heard a long time ago. When you are on an airplane and the flight attendants are doing the safety instructions-they always say, “be sure to put on your oxygen mask before you try and help anyone else including small children.” Bottom line is if you can’t breathe, and you pass out what good are you to anyone? Same thing is true with being a parent. You need to care for your children and YOURSELF. After all kids learn much more by example.

Michele Fischer

In her own words . . .


I am a writer, coach, seeker and entrepreneur with a variety of interests. I dream big and jump tangents and love the whole process of creating!
Website: Finding Your Voice and Big Dreaming Entrepreneur
Facebook page: Finding Your Voice
Twitter

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“Writing is the only thing that when I do it,
I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

 

 

 

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below!  Be sure to join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!

 

A few weeks ago my kids agreed to try some doodle art inspired by artist Traci Bautista .  We never really got to the doodle part, but the boys had fun with the layers that they created using found stencils. It was a fun art activity to do with the kids.

 

You could have each family member do their own then piece them together in a collage, you can frame them side by side or if you are brave like me have your kids work on the same one together. Be prepared for disagreements. Think of it as an opportunity for learning.

 

There is no wrong way of doing this activity.  Below are just some suggestions and ideas of what can happen.  Encourage spontaneity and above all FUN!

 

Materials

  • paint
  • paint brushes
  • paper
  • apron, smock or old clothing to wear
  • old tooth brushes (optional)
  • sponges (optional)
  • brayer (optional)
  • stencils
  • Objects to us as stencils such as feathers, netting, doilies, popsicle sticks tooth picks, pennies anything goes as long as you’re okay with getting paint on it.
  • Things to add texture: large brush, sponges old tooth brushes
  • Spray bottles filled with single colour and some water

 

Choose a medium to large size paper. Choose about 3 colours that everyone feels goes well together. Have some white paint to lighten the colours adding to the layering effect. Not sure about mixing colours? Check this link out: mixing colours.

 

Here is what you will generally be doing to create your painting:

Place items on the paper and spray paints lightly over the area you want to make an imprint of. Remove the “stencil”.  Allow paint to dry between layers or before putting another stencil on.  Any object you place down and spray paint on will leave a negative of the object when it is removed, giving a stencil effect. The first ones will leave white outlines, but as you add more layers of stencils and paint the painting will have more textures.

 

Place object on paper, spray one paint colour at a time allowing it to dry before adding another colour.  This is to avoid making the colours muddy or brown.

 

Use a brayer or sponge to put paint on a plastic letter stencil for a neat print.

Press this down on the paper, being careful not to shift it and smudge it.

Press firmly.

Lift carefully.

Use a styrofoam tray for a wide pallet for use with wide brushes and brayers (paint rollers).

 Be careful not to put too much paint on your brush or it will get under the stencil.

Rather than dragging the paint brush on the doilies or other stencils, dab the brush into the holes gently to leave a print.

Lift carefully.

Be sure to hold down the stencil as you apply the paint.

Be sure to praise team work!

You’re done when you decide!

 

Today I am thrilled to have my dear friend and yogini Carrie Hensley  of Dharma Connections share her parenting wisdom with us today.

 

 

Tell us a little about your family

We are a sweet family of three, my husband Chris, our son Drew, and me. We live in sunny Mesa, Arizona. We own a yoga studio & café, which has provided some fertile soil to stretch our relationships, provide Drew with his first job, and grow closer together as a family. We love anything outdoors from kayaking to four wheeling to camping. Currently, we are in the beginning stages of launching, as Drew is a sophomore in high school.

 

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use

I would describe my style as holistic.  I have always tried to view Drew as a whole being.  Having taught yoga for fourteen years, I have come to understand the power of letting go of my expectations in order to create the space to allow Drew to become who he was meant to be.

 

What do you see your role is as a parent?

My role as a parent continues to evolve through the different ages for Drew. Right now, I would consider myself to be more of a guide than a parent. He is at a stage in his young life where he needs to begin to spread his wings of independence.

 

One of my greatest parenting mentors shared with me that, between the ages of 14-21, you want to treat your child like you would your best friend. Instead of getting irritated at him when he calls saying he forgot his homework, I ask myself what I would do for a friend. This particular instance happened about six months ago. Drew forgot something that was worth a good portion of his grade. I could hear the stress in his voice over the phone. He is an A student, on the track team, and even did a leadership program at Stanford this past summer so I was grateful for an opportunity to show him that I trust and believe in him. About two days later he forgot something else. I did not receive a phone call. When he recounted the story, I asked why he didn’t call me. He said he should have learned his lesson the first time around. This whole experience taught him that not only can he count on me but also that he has to depend on himself.

 

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?

For me, the most difficult aspect of parenting is letting go of control. Often when there is resistance or a certain desired outcome, fear is lurking nearby.  It might be my fear of failing Drew as a parent, fear of what others think of my parenting, or fear of Drew getting hurt (intellectually I recognize he will get hurt… but think mama bear in the wild who will do ANYTHING to protect her cubs), etc. that catapults my need to control and obsess.

 

Yoga and mindfulness are two tools that have “saved” Drew and me on numerous occasions.  Both have helped me step back and observe, rather than react to, the source of my fear. As I come to understand the root cause of my need to control, I can let it go and trust the process to unfold as it needs to.

 

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

The most beautiful aspect of parenting has been to watch Drew evolve into all that he was meant to be… to see his soul dance behind his eyes… to know that he is content… to know that he is confident in who he is at his core and the path he is meant to follow. Can we ask for anything more as parents?

 

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself?  What might you say to other parents?

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. You can read countless books and gather many different perspectives, but ultimately when you parent from your heart with the intention of guiding your child into who they were meant to be in this lifetime, the words will flow from your lips, the necessary resources will appear, and the support that both you and your child need will surface in ways you never dreamed possible.

 

Carrie is a wife to her best friend and mother to a beautiful son.  She began teaching yoga in 1998. In 2005, Carrie co-opened Inside The Bungalow, yoga studio and cafe, with the intention of providing a Sacred space where students can come home to their own True Nature and uncover their journey of intention, authenticity, and reconnect to their life’s purpose.

Website: http://www.carriehensley.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dharmaconnections

Twitter: @carriehensley

Google+: https://plus.google.com/106130985171034933254/posts

 

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below!  Be sure to join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!


 

Today I welcome Jo Macdonald of The Red Box Company to share her parenting insights.  You can read more about Jo and the amazing work she is doing with women and girls at the end of this post!

Tell us a little about your family:

I’m married to a gorgeous Kiwi who I first met when I was 17 and we were both living in Hong Kong. We have 1 lovely son who is about to turn 13 and 2 beautiful girls aged 10 & 6. The final members of our family are a crazy Springer Spaniel called Milo and a fish called Douglas!

 

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use:

I like to think I keep the balance between telling my kids what to do and letting them figure things out on their own as I think it’s important to let them learn from their mistakes as much as possible. However, my son has just read that over my shoulder and said ‘mum, seriously, you’re way bossier than that!’ so maybe the balance is not quite right yet!!! All 3 kids agree that I use a lot of humour, laugh a lot and am very in touch with my inner child which I think is a good thing!

 

What do you see your role is as a parent?

To enable them to fulfill their dreams and potential, become independent capable people who can bring more beauty into the world, and to help them become a caring, supportive husband/wife/parent in the future.

 

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?

Probably the most difficult thing was when my eldest daughter was 18 months old and was rushed to hospital with epiglotitus & croup whilst we were in Australia. When the doctor told us to prepare ourselves for the fact that she may die the feeling of helplessness was unbearable, realising that even as a parent you can’t solve or fix everything is very frightening. Luckily the doctors were amazing and thanks to my mother-in-law who flew in from NZ to help care for my son, and the support of friends, family and each other, we made it through a horrible time. What we learnt though was to make the most of everyday, to never take anyone or anything for granted and to tell your children you love them every single day.

 

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

So many things! Learning how to love unconditionally, seeing them grow into beautiful young people who care for others, seeing the world through their eyes and wanting to be the best person I can be so that they are as proud of me as I am of them are just some of the rewards.

 

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself?

What might you say to other parents?

Don’t try to be perfect just do your best, parenting is not a competition. Be as willing to forgive yourself as you are to forgive others – children forgive an awful lot if they know you really love them. Never forget that a hug and a mug of hot chocolate can cure everything from a bumped knee to a broken heart!

 

Jo Macdonald

In her own words…

I’m a mother, creator, writer, blogger, women’s circle leader and menstruation coach with a huge weakness for books, peppermint tea and chocolate (preferably enjoying all three together whilst curled up in front of a log fire). I don’t believe in perfectionism, making life complicated or meditating for hours in a cave by myself (although there are days when this does sound appealing!). I am not a saint or a guru but have a very real life with a husband, 3 kids, and a crazy dog and I absolutely love it – 99% of the time! I think women are amazing, I think you are amazing, and I think we can all learn to live our best lives by embracing our menstrual cycle and remembering to slow down, breathe and                                         simplify.

 

As well as working with women I am the creative director and founder of The Red Box Company which aims to make periods, and puberty, something for girls to celebrate through education, workshops and my first Period celebration Red Boxes.

Here’s where you can find Jo:

Website: www.theredboxcompany.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/redboxcompany
Twitter: www.twitter.com/redboxcompany

 

Editors note: Check out Jo’s parent pages where she  has a wonderful  FREE e-book ’7 tips for Talking to your Daughter about Periods and Puberty’

 

 

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please use the share buttons below!  Be sure to join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Guest Parenting Series!


If you have seen our Metaphor Monday Series the you know our family loves being outdoors into nature. This past weekend for Family Day Long weekend (it’s a fairly new Canadian holiday) we drove north of the city to find some snow. It’s been a mild winter, with barely any snow, a fair amount of rain and the classic grey skies of winter.

 

We camped in a yurt, smaller than our kitchen (ok our kitchen is fairly large but still) A yurt is a small temporary vinyl hut (see picture below).

 

There is nothing like being in one small room with your whole family to make one eager to get out in the frigid cold. So that’s what we did of course. We had our cross country skis, snowshoes and winter apparel and were set to get out into nature.
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After x-country skiing in the first half of the day, we had our lunch, lounged around and then went for a hike. Everyone My husband and I were eager to get outside once again out of the small confines of our yurt. There was some debate amongst the smaller folk about whether or not snow shoes should be worn which we handled quickly skillfully with the “we know best” parent card.

 

Needless to say our eldest was not so pleased, but once we were out on the trail he quickly forgot. Of course I debated in my head whether to just let him learn on his own that going on an unknown trail full of lots of snow was likely done best with snow shoes and not just winter boots. But I quickly dropped that idea when I imagined just how treacherous it might get not to mention the complaining voices of my children as they were unable to get up the snow-covered hilly paths ahead of us. Perhaps it was selfish, as I did not want my nature hike spoiled by unhappy children. Some might say it was good planning.

 

Once on the path we were all pretty happy. The fresh air, the beautiful snow-covered scenery and the promises of discovering more beauty on the trail kept us going.

 

We traveled all the way down to the frozen lake to see what we could see. People ice fishing in the distance and snowmobiling up close. We had our own little show as we sat on a bench ate snack and stared out onto the frozen lake.

 

Anyway, after snack we headed back, continuing to follow the hiking sign where we had left off to detour to the lake. There were some steep slopes to climb and I’m pretty sure both kids were glad they had their snowshoes on for grip. At some point my youngest and I were far behind my eldest and my husband. I could see that even with the snack break his energy was waning. The sun was going down and coloring the sky with it’ s beautiful glow. I took my son’s slow pace as an opportunity to take some pictures and bask in the beauty while pointing it out to him.

 

His interest in the beautiful scenery began to dwindle the more we hiked trying to catch up with the other half of our family. His tolerance for hiking was diminished. It reminded me of one of the ice fishers who had passed us on the way down to the lake who had pushed by us with a scowl on his face. His partner had happily answered my inquiries in passing about how they had faired, letting me know that they had not caught anything. I felt I had to be like the partner who was able to let go and appreciate the present.

 

After a while my husband told me we had to turn around because he thought we were going the wrong way. A few minutes later my son noticed we had been that way already and I told him he was right that we had headed in the wrong direction. He pouted disappointedly. Really I couldn’t blame him. He’d been out all day and now our hike had been mistakenly extended.

 

As his paced slowed more I felt my patience tested. I knew that if I became annoyed he’d only drag his feet more having his pride hurt. I knew that if I lost patience, not only would it not get us there faster, but also would likely slow us down more. And to top it off we’d both be miserable. I tried to be transparent, letting him know my thoughts on the matter while making him aware of his choices: he can choose to focus on the beautiful sunset and the snow-covered scenery surrounding us or he can choose to complain that we still are not back at the yurt yet.

 

He continued to move slowly, stopping to pick up snow and throw it to curiously at a tree. I decided that this was his way of coping: distraction. Every now and again he’d try to get me with some snow. He was adapting to the situation. It’s not that he didn’t still announce that he was tired and ask when we’re we going to be back and why did his dad go the wrong way. But he was coping, he was still walking, he was still playful.

 

When we got back I felt refreshed. I had managed to stay present. My son managed to cope with the longer than intended hike. And we were back.

 

What helps you stay present in trying situations with your children?

 

Today Chizelle  S. Salter of Chizelle T.V.  shares her thoughts on being a parent.  

Tell us a little about your family:

I have an amazing husband and three beautiful daughters. One in her mid twenties, one 8 and one 4 1/2. We’re planning on adding to our family soon. :)

 

Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use.

I would say for the want of a better word we use attachment parenting? Our four year old still jumps in our bed at night, we home school our girls (we do follow a combination of set syllabus and natural learning).

What do you see your role is as a parent?

To nurture my children and respect and treat them as individuals. I want to leave my children feeling respected, valued, important and loved – I think once these emotional needs are fulfilled then the rest will follow.

 

What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?

I’m in no way a perfect mother, and I think my natural tendency leans towards being highly strung so I do need to keep in mind that this is not an environment in which children thrive! I love the awesome affirmations you send out – they’ve been so good for me. :)

 

What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?

I feel blessed every single day for my daughters, not all day, but certainly every day. My most rewarding experience would be the relationship I have with my 24 year old, we are so close and I am so proud of the person she has become. She’s just so awesome and inspiring and amazing!

 

Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself?

What might you say to other parents?

1) Treasure every moment, they will go by in the blink of an eye.

2) Play more.

 

Chizelle S. Salter 

owns and runs a lifestyle site with an emphasis on self-love. “I believe my life purpose is to lead The Ultimate Self-love Revolution. To use my creativity and inspiration to teach an empower myself and others to live a life of abundance and joy, to be surrounded by beauty and be all that we can be”
You can find Chizelle on her Website: www.chizelle.tv, on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

 

If you like this post and think other parents would benefit from hearing different parenting voices please share!  Join  us next Thursday for another inspiring glimpse into parenting on the Listen to the Beat Within Parenting Series!

 

 

The other day I was taking my eldest son to a doctor’s appointment and we took Public Transit as we usually do, since the office is right on the subway line.  It was rush hour so somewhat on the crowded side, and there were several groups of youth canvasing asking passersby for change or tokens to help Toronto’s youth.  We passed them on the way as we rushed to our appointment again on the way back to drop my son at school.  This second group was younger children, a school group that were volunteering their time to fund raise.

 

As we passed them by headed towards the stairs to catch our train, I stopped mid stair.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the everyday rush of getting places or getting things done that we pass by opportunities.  This is why I stopped.  I reached into my purse and pulled out some money, giving it to my son to donate.  He took it then hesitated, because it meant him going up the stairs and approaching someone he didn’t know, as well he said he was eager to get to school (nothing like a dentist appointment for doing that) I let him know that it was ok since we had missed the train anyway, and he then went and made the donation.

 

Of course I could have just done it myself.  I really wanted my son to do it for several reasons:

1. I felt is was important for him to feel like he was taking action, helping others helping a cause.  I had noticed him looking at the youth who were calling out their campaign with their T-shirts on “Help Toronto’s youth, your change can make changes happen”.  I believe it is important for him to recognize and be grateful for what he has, that he is not in a position where  he need this kind of help.

2. I wanted to push him a bit outside his comfort level by having him approach the volunteers himself with the hopes that he will feel confident to initiate this himself one day

3. I wanted to model the idea of taking time to notice what is happening around us and rather than be passive bystanders watching and not doing, I wanted him to remember to engage and participate fully in life, take opportunities to help when you notice them, however small.

4.  I wanted the youth to feel heard, to encourage their efforts by listening to them and show them that we appreciate what they are doing by taking action and donating.  I think that it is important important that youth who volunteer their time and effort feel that they are actually making a difference.  Giving them a positive response helps ensure that they will continue to be active participants in change rather than discouraged bystanders who feel there is no hope.

5. When others see you donate for a cause I think it has a ripple effect.  It makes it all the more easier for them to justify stopping and taking a few minutes to reach into their wallet, walk over and help out.

 

Giving a little bit of money may have been a “drop in the bucket”, but we can’t forget that each drop creates its own ripple.  This was not just about helping through giving money.  It was so much more than that:  giving attention to our surroundings and what messages to pay attention to; giving our attention an appreciation to the youth who are taking their time to raise awareness; taking the time as little as it might be, yet still breaking the habit of just walking through crowds with blinders on; and finally by responding we potentially set off a ripple effect to the crowds who  may be in “I can’t stop -have to get somewhere important” or “I am not going to pay attention to what is being asked of me because it doesn’t concern me” mode but then notice someone else taking action and stop and do something themselves.

 

Our actions are more powerful than we think.  Hopefully it is the kind of power that brings other great things to life.  Your children are watching.  Everyday there are opportunities for change, lessons to be learned.  When we take the time to take our blinders off and be open to seeing the opportunities and lessons life presents to us, our children will see them too.

 

 

Petrea Hansen Adamidis R.C.A.T. is a Registered Art Therapist with over 18 years of experience working with children and families.  She is an engager in silliness extraordinaire, a therapeutic story weaver, she'll take you on awesomely exciting yet relaxing adventures with her guided imagery meditations.  More about Petrea.
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