Self Care

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!

 

When my kids were preschoolers I would stay with them for a few minutes at bed-time, lying on their bed to help them settle. Many of those times I was so tired myself I would start to fall asleep. Most of the time they fell asleep pretty easily and I looked forward to when I would have my evening free to myself. Sounds selfish to me now as I write this, but it’s true. And selfish is not such a bad thing if it means taking care of yourself.

 

Selfish or selfless which is better? Well it all depends on how you define the two words I guess. Typically the word selfish, has negative connotations. The image of a greedy self absorbed could-care-less-for-anyone-else-but-themselves-ogre comes to mind. On the other hand, when I think of selfless the image of a Mother Teresa figure comes to mind, always doing for others and putting others first.

 

But as I begin to think about the two words more, some different thoughts come to mind:

 

  • Is making sure that you take time for yourself, serve you alone or does it allow you to rejuvenate your energy and peace of mind so that you can be more present with your children?
  • In thinking about your own needs you set an example for your children that they need to listen to their needs first. This doesn’t mean that they don’t think of others. Rather, before helping others, they make sure that they are in a position to do so otherwise, they will deplete themselves and be of no help. This way they don’t feel resentment towards others because they sacrificed their self dignity.
  • In taking care of yourself in balance with taking care of your children you let them know that they are important but everyone has needs. You teach them to value themselves and make choices that feel right to them.

 

We can meet our own needs in harmony with our children’s needs. When I start to notice that I am resenting having to give something up for my children that is a sign that I am not coming from an authentic place of wanting to be there for them. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be there for them, but rather signifies that I am not taking care of myself.

 

Self sacrifice has it’s price. You may think that you are doing your children a favour when you sacrifice your own needs, however, if you are feeling resentment chances are your children are feeling that too, and nobody wins if that is the case.

 

So how can you balance both needs? What it comes down to is a shift in perspective. If you are choosing to do something with your children and it means putting your needs on hold this is fine, as long as your needs don’t get lost in the mix. Team tag with your partner or other support to make sure your needs have time to be met. That way it’s scheduled in and when you are with your children, you are with your children, and your mind is not wandering off to thoughts about how you never have time for yourself.

 

Now that my children are older, their need for me to be present is still there. It hasn’t magically gone away, and I am glad. I am an imortant part of their life as they are an important part of mine. At 8 years of age (just 2 more weeks) and 11 1/2 years old they still want me to read story to them at night, and I am happy to to so. I look forward to it.

 

My 8 yearold still wants me to stay with him at bedtime after story for a few minutes. There was a point where I was fighting it, trying to change it, and he pushed for more time. Then I let go, and allowed myself to enjoy sitting in silence with him, being present with him. I realized that it was one of his ways of connecting with me at the end of a long day, and rather than feel resentment because I was eager to have my evening time, I began to feel appreciated as a parent.

 

That’s the shift. It doesn’t mean that I use up all my “adult time” staying with him at night, it’s limited to about 5 minutes after lights out. What it does mean is that I am respecting his needs, and not getting into the mind set that he should be able to settle on his own. It means that I am choosing to take a more caring persepctive, seeing his need as appreciating time with me as a parent rather than a need to take from me. And it means that I continue to take time for myself to keep the balance in our relationship.

 

 

Are you finding it hard to do the balancing act of self-care while meeting your children’s needs? Do you find it hard to take time for yourself? Do you secretly resent the amount of your time that your children seem to “take” from you? The Parent Inspiration Toolkit has many tools to help you with the balancing act of parenting. And now you can purchase the kit as a whole bundle or pick and choose from the Parent Inspiration Workbook , The Little Book of Self-Care and 4 different relaxing and rejuevinating meditations each with its own original music.  NEW: We now have samples of the meditations available for you to listen to. 

 

The other week I stumbled upon a writing prompt I had written in my journal with the intention of responding to it later.  It was a series of prompts to write a letter to your self that I had found while blog hopping (sorry to say I could not find the original reference- but when I Googled it there were many renditions of the letter to Self).  One of them was to write to yourself 10 years ago.  I thought I would give it a try.

 

After just writing a few sentences I was struck  by how powerful this exercise was for me.   My intuitive parent stepped right in and began to respond with such empathy I was brought to tears.  Parenting is tough, we all know that.  But sometimes we can be our own worst critic, ruminating over how we should have done things differently or comparing ourselves to other parents who don’t seem to be having such a hard time.

 

For me 10 years ago was a very significant point in time as a parent  because it was really so near  the beginning of parenthood for me (my eldest son would have been 1 1/2 years old).   Allowing myself to speak to my “new” parent self now, after 10 years, also brought to light how very important it is to continue to show the same empathy for one’s self even later on in one’s parenting career.

 

Perhaps this is something each and every  parent can give themselves as a gift for the new year.  We often talk about empathy for our children when they are going through tough times, but how about extending that empathic understanding to ourselves?

 

Here are some excerpts from my letter to my younger parent self.  The advice I give myself is relevant at any point in my parenting, even to this day when my children are (almost) 8 and 11 1/2 years old.

 

Dear Petrea,

You are a great mommy who loves your little baby boy deeply.  I know it is hard to be away from him and you feel stressed because you wish that you could give him more of your time.

You worry. Don’t let your worry take over who you are and get in the way . . .   You will have another child.  You will learn more . You will make mistakes that you regret, but you must let go of that regret, you must pay it no mind for it will eat away at you and fuel your worry, your self doubt.

Know that you are a wonderful parent, a fantastic parent.  You are human , yes, you make mistakes, yes, but you can and will learn from  them.

You are the best mom your son has, he needs you, he needs you to believe in yourself.  For when you believe in yourself as a mother, as a parent, your son will learn to believe in himself.

Don’t worry that one year has passed.  There is still time, there is always time.  You are a great parent, know that, feel that, believe that, and you will see how much easier things will be,  your life will be easier, your parenting will  be easier.

 

Let go of the past.

Walk boldly, with confidence, into the future!

Love your Wise Parent Self.

 

No matter what stage of parenting you are at, whether it is 2 months in, or 2 years, 12 years or twenty years into parenting, it’s never too late to show your self some gentle understanding and acknowledgment for all of your hard work as a parent.  Sometimes all it takes is a little perspective of time to realize the beauty of what we have done as parents.  I invite you to write a letter to your younger parent self.  For showing compassion to yourself is the first step in letting go of past “mistakes” and moving towards the intuitive parenting that we all have inside.

 

With the holidays upon us it’s easy to forget to take care of one’s self. I find myself rushing about baking gingerbread cookies  like the ones above I made last night from Naturally Yours’ video. We parents so often put ourselves last as we prepare for welcoming others into their home.

 

This season make yourself a priority. Be sure to take some time for yourself, to relax and regenerate. If you wait until its all over, you’ll miss out on enjoying what the holidays are all about. Below are some helpful posts to make the most out of this busy time of year. Enjoy!

 

Jo of the Red Box Company shares 10 tips for staying stress free over the holidays

 

Carrie Hensley of Free to Be Me has a great video with tips for helping you stay present and centered during the holidays.

 

Jackie of essence of wild has a wondeful post on taking cues from nature to find peace.

Gina of Veda Sun shares some tips on staying present with Awareness Practices for you and your family’s sake.

 

Tina of Open Roads Coaching has some great activities you can do with your family the grinch jar and wishing tree.

 

Pixie Campbell has a wonderful ceremony to let go of emotional baggage which you can do with your children to help them visualize letting go . You don’t have to celebrate the winter solstice to do this,it goes well with the traditional New Years letting go or releasing the year to make room for wishes .

 

And if you want to give yourself some play time I have just the thing on my sister site with my free Free Your Inner Child e-course

 

May your holidays be full of  peace, bliss and joy!

 

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”.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce

When is the last time you played? I don’t mean a game on your phone or something like that, I mean played like when you were a child. Not just going through the motions with your child, while you think of the one million things you have to do (yes we all do it) . Playing for playing sake. Letting yourself go into the play and getting lost in the silliness, the moment, the imagination of it all.

Parents need to play too, We need to enjoy life and allow ourselves to be silly not just with our kids but with the whole wide world! Allow yourself to laugh a great big belly laugh. Do it now! It’s good for you! We don’t need to take ourselves so seriously all the time.

Have you gotten into a rut with all work and no play?

Find your muse and let him or her take you on a wild, silly, playful adventure today even if just for a few minutes.

Finding it hard to get your play on? Need some inspiration?

It has been about a year now that both Petrea and myself have started eating a low fat raw vegan diet. It has been a very positive and healthful transition for me and Petrea.  Prior to this we were mostly eating raw vegan foods that included lots of nuts, oils (mostly coconut), seeds and high fat fruit like avocados.  To take it even back further, we were vegan for about 12 years.

We had switched to a raw vegan diet slowly after Petrea started reading up on some of the benefits.  It seemed like a natural transition from a standard diet to vegetarian to vegan to raw vegan. But, for me this transition to raw vegan had some interesting results.  Rather than feeling better, I was feeling tired, cranky, sick, and had low energy.  My training (cycling) had slipped and I just did not have enough left in the tank to complete a workout.  On the days that I felt some energy, the quality of my workouts were poor.  I could not understand why and started to worry about what was going on. Now, worrying is not a good thing, it stressed me out and further fatigued my tired system. Read the rest of this entry »

 

So mommies (and daddies) it’s been almost a week since you were reminded about the stupendous job you do as a parent via mothers day celebrations. Did you take it all in. Did you feel the gratitude. Did you give gratitude to your self and your efforts as a parent?

 

You know you have been entrusted with one of the most important jobs on this planet. To nurture and guide children on this complicated planet of ours.

Read the rest of this entry »

I found this video the boys made a few years ago. Edited it.  Now its ready for you to enjoy!

 

Why not make one for yourself today! You can use any greens you want.

 

Often as parents we can become consumed with looking out for our child’s “best interest” and doing things for our children.  Signing them up for sports,  classes or camps. Making sure they eat well.  Ensuring that they get to sleep on time.  Setting up regular play-dates.  Spending special time with them.  The list goes on and on.   With all the things we do for our children, it is easy to forget about ourselves and  our own needs.  After all who takes care of  us parents?  We need to take care of ourselves.  As parents, we need to take the time  to replensih and recharge.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Beauty is everywhere.

We just have to look,


And listen

to the Music

 

 

 

 

 


 

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