Posts Tagged ‘modelling’

 

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!

 

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. 

 

 

 

A while back my kids agreed to try making some sock monkeys.  Originally the idea was to make them as gifts for others.  Eventually we did get around to making sock monkey gifts (like the ones pictured above who traveled to Greece to be with my sons’ cousins), but first my boys made their own sock monkey to love and to hold.  While this wasn’t the first time that they have sat down and sewed with me, this was the biggest project they have done in terms of sewing time.  There’s something to be said for getting a smiling monkey at the end as a motivator!

 

Just so you know, these monkeys were completed over several days with lots of breaks in between.  But as you will see the first part of making the monkey is quite easy and can be completed fairly quickly, which is great for keeping your kids interested and motivated.

 

I wanted to make sock monkeys with my kids after being introduced to them again through a sock monkey therapy tutorial that I had signed up for as part of 6 Degrees of Creativity, an Art Therapy Alliance e-course.  They were really fun to make, and although my guys were tired of sewing after making theirs, they helped me stuff the monkeys that were sent to their cousins in Greece (pictured above).

 

Working on the sock monkeys brought up plenty of opportunities for problem solving . . .

 

I was amazed as I watched my sons carefully focus on making and sewing their monkeys with minimal help from me.  While my youngest who is almost 8 did get more help than his big brother, he sewed the majority of his monkey himself, only needing help with attaching the body parts.  I had the camera rolling as they worked in hopes that it would inspire other young children to give it a try.  Aside from the boost in self esteem that comes with taking on such a project at this age, if you watch the video you will see the sense of community created as we all sewed together.  At times it looked like a production line as one of my sons threaded a needle for me while I started sewing something for him, and other son was stuffing a new monkey.

 

That being said, it wasn’t always roses. Working on the sock monkeys brought up plenty of opportunities for problem solving when my youngest was frustrated with sewing or worse began to get discouraged because he compared his progress to his big brother who was moving along quicker.

 

The project also took on a silliness of its own as the sock monkeys came alive dancing around though 3/4 finished.

 

Below I have included a picture tutorial as well as a 15 minute video which you may wish to watch with your kids as you make you monkeys.  If you do end up making sock monkeys, we would love to see pictures feel free to post them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/offbeatfamily or e-mail them to us at petrea AT offbeatfamily DOT com

 

 

  • Start by turning your sock inside out

 

  • Flatten the sock (as if putting it on) and cut up to just below the heal to make the legs
  • sew using the whip stitch from the bottom up to the crotch on each side, leaving a hole for stuffing
  • Turn the sock right side out and stuff

 

 

 

 

 

  • Sew up the crotch

 

  •  Divide up the second sock as shown here

 

 

  • cut the heel for the mouth
  • cut a thin tail from top of sock: heel to toe

  • cut semi circles for ears from remaining sock
  • Cut the arms as shown in above sock diagram
  • sew all inside out using the “whip stitch” leaving a space to turn right side out before stuffing
  • pin to body and sew in place
  • choose button or beads for eyes and sew on
  • use coloured thread to sew a on smile
  • add a heart if you like
Get ready for some sock monkey LOVE!

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.

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.

 

Navigating the Waters

Welcome to the second Metaphor Monday video. In this series I will explore a different metaphor each week viewing parenting from a different perspective. Enjoy!
Please post any comments below.

 


 

See you next week!

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