Archive for February 2012

 

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.

 

 

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