Parenting

Sometimes we just need to not take life so seriously.

 

 

Welcome to the 25th episode of Metaphor Monday! Today come for a drive with me as I talk about parenting from a different perspective.

 

 

 

 

On today’s Metaphor Monday, I look at the importance of learning how to put on the breaks with your children.

 

 

Special note: the music credits should read: “Ares live on the Ukulele”.  Thanks Ares for the impromptu music performance!

 

 

Today’s post was to be a video but there really wasn’t much point as you would not be able to see anything. Aside from that it is a holliday weekend here in Canada and I was quiet pleasantly distracted by family that we were visiting.

 

Temagami Night Sky, 2010 photo by Christos

 

When we were camping back in August I was reminded at night of how much clearer the sky is out of the city. Where we live in Toronto here is so much light pollution that most nights we don’t really get to see all the stars as we do when we are out of the city. Picture shining a flashlight on a lava lamp to see how it glows. It just doesn’t work. One night when we were in Temagami I looked up into the night sky and was so amazed at how clearly I could see all the millions of stars. It was spectacular. Nothing was getting in my way of seeing them so clearly. I began to think about how much clearer I can see things if only I don’t over focus on them. It’s easier to see if I am not blinded by light. Usual ally we think of light as illuminating, helping us seethings more clearly. But if there is too much light we are blindsighted and miss that which is important.

As parents, sometimes we can walk into a situation so focused on what we expect to see or even what we hope to see, that we become blinded to what is really there. I can recall many times having an expectation that there was going to be a problem in a situation with my children; I feel myself get all tense, I begin to get ready to address the predicted “issue” only to then realize that I was wrong, that things have turned out differently but okay just the same. Or there may be other times when I expect things to go a certain way in order for them to “turn out” and then (with the help of my children) I realize that there is a different way to get to the solution.

Sometimes our expectations can become a kind of light pollution shining so brightly we miss what is right in front of us.

I remember not that long ago, waking up one weekend expecting to make some whole grain pancakes with the grains I had soaked the night before. My boys had risen before me and were reeking havoc (admittedly my skewed perception, since they were veering from my “plan”) making breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like having breakfast made for me, it’s just that I was so blind sighted by my “vision” of making pancakes with the grains I had soaked and now what was I going to do with these?

I was getting ready to complain about the mess. So focused was I on the fact that my “vision” of a pancake breakfast was not going to be happenning that I couldn’t see the stars in front of me. There was so much more that I wasn’t seeing. Blind sighted by my own “vision” I almost missed some very important happenings: for one, my boys were trying to help; they were excited about surprising my husband and I; they were using their independence skills; they were feeling proud about what they had done, and most of all, they were coming from a place of love.

Luckily I came to my other senses and was able to see beyond my the light pollution of my “vision”. I could hear the tone of excitement and pride that they felt, not to mention feel their love filled smiles (and of course it smelled delicious too). No longer blindsighted by my own expectations, I was able to sit back and enjoy a wonderful breakfast made with love.

We all are blinded by the light from time to time. Sometimes that picture of how we think things should be or how they “should” go is so bright that we can’t see what else is right in front of us.

Are you willing to dim the light so that you can see more?

Are You Carrying Around Too Much?


 

Well, I took a week off from doing Metaphor Monday in keeping with my self-care practice: practicing what I preach.  I have just been super busy this last week or so.  I figured there is no need to get all worked up and tense then carry that baggage of “oh I failed because I missed a week of Metaphor Monday” I said to myself.   So without further ado, here is this week’s Metaphor Monday; the last of the Temagami-nature-inspired  metaphors for this year.   I’ve made a short video for this Metaphor, taken from one of our portages.  I hope you enjoy it!

When we go canoe camping we have to pack light and be practical about what we take with us.  We need to pare down in preparation for our portages which obviously will be more difficult if we have too much baggage.  After all we want to be able to enjoy the scenery when we portage.

When we set up camp we take out what we need and put it back right after, rearranging it at that time to balance the load.  And every time we have a meal it makes for a lighter load.

As parents we all  have baggage that we carry with us from our past into our present experiences with our children.  Some of it may be useful, like when you use your own experiences as a child to guide you towards parenting in a way that is best for your child (and not necessarily the way you were parented).  Some of our baggage that we carry can interfere with our ability to parent to our best  because we get so weighed down emotionally from our baggage.

Sometimes we pass this baggage on to our children unwittingly when we put expectations on them that are too high.  Expectations that our parents had of us. Expectations that we feel we should have because other parents do. Expectations that ultimately our children feel they need to live up to, and when they don’t they carry this baggage around with them continuing the cycle.

Sometimes we need to remember to unload some of the luggage we carry piece by piece, carefully holding on to what serves us well, what feeds our soul, memories that teach us. We need to take care that we shift our load around to balance it out when we do. Sometimes that may mean replacing our baggage with more efficient, positive lighter things.

 

6 Ways to Avoid Being Bugged

Welcome to the continuation of last weeks Metaphor Monday about being bugged by your children’s behaviour.  This week I share some ideas on how to protect yourself from being so “bugged”.

 

 

 

Calling all VIPs, that’s Very Important Parents (yes you!). It’s time again to do a shout out to yourself. Sing your own praises because you are a very important parent to your child. Everyday there are amazing things that you do that make a difference to your child. It doesn’t have to be big. The little things ARE big to a child.
A few weeks back I posted about my sons’ Super Hero Club and how it made me think about how parents are super heroes too. I invited other parents to share their stories of heir parental superhero powers and was touched by the beautiful stories shared.

I am putting out another call for snippets of your superhero feats.  “Why?” you ask, because I absolutely believe it will make a big difference in your life to acknowledge your own achievements as a parent. Its not about having me acknowledge you (although I would gladly do that as I know just how hard parents work) but for you to be proud of yourself.  If we are always looking to others for appreciation and acknowledgement it sometimes may mean that we are waiting a long time.  Especially if we are expecting it from our children, who by the very nature of their being children, tend to be more self focused (like praising themselves and how good they are at everything!)  

It’s about self love after all.  We need to look inside not outside ourselves for recognition, then and only then will we see an authentic confidence from our children who learn from us that they need to accept themselves first in order for others to accept them.  When we sing our own praises for things we are truly proud of, our children learn that its okay to be proud of the things we are good at and we don’t have to make up things to be proud of.  It is our authenticity in all of this which teaches our children, they don’t have to boast or build themselves up as good at everything. Instead of bragging they will be too busy basking in their own true proud moments.

There is no need for insecure boasting in the efforts to seek praise outside onesself. Do you see what a gift you give your child when you acknowledge and praise youself without expecting recognition from others? Your children learn that the way they feel about what they do is more important than whether others think it’s great or not.  There is no need then for external rewards to do things well.  There is no need to do things because a peer says it’s what should be done or tried.  They begin to rely on themselves and their own judgement instead of the judgement of others.  They learn to trust that intuition that we all have but may have lost touch with.

Now is the time to share your amazing feats as a parent with the world no matter how small. Who knows you just might inspire another parent and start a ripple effect.

 

Don’t get so bugged . . .

 

Today’s parenting metaphor takes a closer look at why we sometimes are bothered by our kids.  Filmed in Temagami and  inpsired by nature, while we were canoe camping this past August.

On Not Being Sheep …

The other day we dropped our kids off at camp, reluctantly. That is to say they went reluctantly. There was a trip planned for the day that meant they has to go on a school bus for 2 1/2 hrs. Not that long for them considering they have gone on car trips that take 6 plus hours on our way to canoe in Temagami. So why were they reluctant? I have a confession: we are one of those families that don’t have a game boy Nintendo (or whatever mechanical hand held device that is popular) for one to stare madly at while playing games. Have they played? Yes on their friend’s. Do they play any games? Yes just not daily or even weekly.

 

So when the director of the camp gave the ok for kids to bring their electronics for the bus ride since it was such a long ride, guess what my 11yr old wanted to do? Bring the iPod of course since it has games on it. Geeze you’d think the trip was about the school bus ride and not the actual destination. My husband and I felt torn. As we so often do given our different life choices of minimal tv, electronic games, and veganism. Of course it wasn’t as simple as allowing him to take the iPod.

 

  1. His brother wanted to bring something and there wasn’t anything appropriate
  2. like most 11 yr olds our son has a tendency to loose things.

 

We don’t want to buy into the “give them electronic games and they will behave/shut up/ sit still mentality” which is what we felt the camp was doing. Afterall (I told my son ) when your dad and I were kids we didn’t have these kinds of electronics we would just sing on the school bus or play other interactive games with our peers.And come to think of it kid’s aren’t allowed to bring electronics with them on school trips either. Geeze what will they do? Oh no does this mean they have to talk or even interact with their peers?!! ok I know I am sounding somewhat snarky.

 

The point is, well, it’s two fold. Firstly the camp giving the go ahead is a set up for kids who don’t normally carry around these games in their pocket. Whines of “But everyone else will have one” are ineveitable. To me it is sad if that is the case.

 

So while my son’s point should not be the basis for our decision or any of his for that matter (flash to the future: everyone else smokes … everyone else drinks, everyone else ….) it puts a parent in a tough position. Do we compromise our values because every other parent allows their children to “fill in the blank”. We certainly don’t! Are we sheep or do we choose what is right for our family?

 

 

In the end we chose what we felt fit for our family, which was no electronics. We were’nt very popular that morning but you know what? At the end of the day it was forgotten and we felt good about our decision to stay with our values and not flock like sheep to someone elses’ values that are not a match.

 

 

Calm Waters

 

Welcome to another Metaphor Monday for parenting tips and tools. This week I give you some parenting tips for avoiding disappointment from turning into overwhelm for your child.

 

Filmed in the beautiful wilderness of Temagami Ontario! Enjoy!

 

 

Letting Go

I have created a short video below about letting go. I also included a story about how it came to be in this weeks post. Enjoy!

 

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of stuff. For some of us that means letting go of things we are sentimental about.  Sometimes its letting go of memories; things that happen that become our story or our truth. We may have invested our emotions in in the past with events that bothers us. As we hold on to these emotions they linger and overshadow our present moments. But in holding on we pay a price, the heavy load, the luggage we carry around wears us down.
With kids this holding on sounds like “he always does this” or “always gets his way” or the famous “its not fair” hanging on to perceived past injustices and carrying them into future experiences of what’s going on. Everything unjust becomes labeled as “always” happening and there doesn’t seem to be room for change because there is a holding on to the past experience so tightly that it is expected in the future. Holding on in this case is not the holding on of hope but rather of negativity.

 

The other weekend while canoe camping, a process in and of itself is a practice of letting go of stuff and leaving conveniences behind, the boys decided to make boats. They usually love collecting rocks like most boys or like to bring back souvenirs like chewed beaver sticks or other “keep-sakes” from their trip. Both enjoyed taking pictures of the sunset the first night. My youngest was photographing the sunset and was getting frustrated when he was not able to see the pictures right away on the camera screen. I reminded him that he could look at it anytime and to just enjoy the real thing in front of him, after a few more grumbles he was able to let it go and relax, not getting stuck in his expectation of how things should be.

 

After the boys made their nature boats they talked about bringing these back home with them. After hearing his brother talk about bringing them home my youngest decided he wanted to as well, even though on the way my youngest had made a boat on his own which he let go at the dock before we paddled off to our camp site. After talking about how we could document their launch with photos just as we had when they made them, they both agreed and became excited about launching their boat, sending it out into the water, out into the world, letting it go. Who knows what kind of travels their boats would go on perhaps it would be like the little carved canoe in the film “Paddle to the Sea” where a boy carves a wooden canoe and then releases it into the river which then travels down to the great lakes and eventually out to the ocean. This got them excited, they were ready to let go and open up to the possibilities. We talked more about not having to hang on to everything.

 

At one point when we were paddling back to the car, my youngest spontaneously released his boat, I thought prematurely, but he was fine with this. However, being the typical adult, who sometimes gets stuck and has a hard time letting go of stuff or ideas, I suggested we retrieve it because I missed photographing the moment of release.

 

We all can learn to let go a little more, whether it is letting go of fear of whether your kids are capable of something, or simply letting go of the past as in the last minute that just went by. Letting go of “hard” feelings is also a tough one. But if we don’t learn to how will our kids. Holding on to resentment or disappointment can also be a set up for us expecting similar unwanted behaviours from our children. If we just let go of our expectations a little more and be open to all the possibilities, imagine what adventures we can enjoy.

 

Parenting from a different perspective . . .

 

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Last week I spoke about the importance of taking time to breathe and slow things down with your children.  When I taped Metaphor Monday #16 I ended up having more to say than I had thought so here is part two of “Metaphor Monday Breathe”. Enjoy!

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~Oprah Winfrey

Are You Breathing for Life or Breathing for Living?

 

“He lives most life whoever breathes most air.”  -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

 


“A lifetime is not what is between

the moments of birth and death.

A lifetime is one moment

Between my two little breaths.

The present, the here, the now,

That’s all the life I get.

I live each moment in full,

In kindness, in peace, without regret.”

Chade Meng, Taoist poet

 

 

 

Ever been stuck, so stuck  you just can’t seem to get unstuck?  Today’s metaphor is about being stuck and how to “get out of the mud”.

 

Tell us what you do when you get stuck as a parent.  How do you get unstuck? How do you move beyond the “stuckedness”?

 

 

A few years back, my sons  made up a club between them that I have to remind myself of whenever there are sibling spats.  They call their club “Super Heroes’ Club” and designate their stuffed animals as super heroes who earn powers every time they do something helpful or good amongst themselves.  It seems to give them a sense of control over their lives as well as a feeling of being special and appreciated.  They take the assignment of super hero powers seriously to the point that my youngest gets upset if his toys have not earned as many powers as his brother’s toys.

 

A few months back when my youngest was having difficulty following routines my eldest suggested that it may help him if we said that every time he did his routine one of his “guys” earned another super power. While my youngest didn’t go for it I thought it was a pretty innovative idea on the part of my son. I could tell he had really put some thought into coming up with a solution (this was during one of our family meetings).  Likely my youngest wanted to maintain some sense of control over the the super hero rules not to mention that he probably wanted to keep the pretend and real stuff separate for simplicity sake of course.

 

This got me thinking about how kids aren’t the only ones who need some sort of recognition that they are doing well. Sometimes as parents we need some encouragement or a “prize” to feel appreciated and keep us going. After all aren”t we by the very definition of being a parent super heroes? Don’t we deserve some recognition of our hard work? Everyone needs to hear that they are doing well and that they are appreciated. The trick as parents is to read between the lines to hear the appreciation. But sometimes we need to hear it loud and clear.  And like my sons’ super hero club where they basically toot their own horn about how great they are, there is no reason that as adults we shouldn’t sing our own praises, why wait for outside recognition when we are quite capable of giving it to ourselves.  Yes its true you can praise yourself, you just may need a little practice since in this society we are socialized to wait for praise, even strive for praise outside of ourselves instead of giving ourselves what we need.

 

 

So today I invite you to announce to the world what you deserve recognition for as a parent. No need to be shy.  What have you done well that you are proud of?  I know its hard, perhaps even out of the ordinary for some of you to sing your own praises.   To give you a little encouragement,  I will send a special gift MP3 of The Inspired Parent Affirmation Meditation to your inbox to every parent who joins in and announces at least one thing to the world that makes you a superhero parent  (note this is a one time thing, you will not be signed up for our monthly newsletter or list automatically, but you are welcome to do so by filling out the form in the top right corner if it calls to you!).  Take the chance now and share with others your proud moments.

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