How Self-Care Improves Parenting

parenting self-care Nov 07, 2019

Self-care could be the single most important tool in parenting.

My mood, temperament, body language, even the words I use, and facial expressions play a role in what will happen between me and my child.

I am the leader in my household whether I want to be or not. Even if I'm still trying to figure out who I am and what I need in this world, my girls are waiting for me to set the stage and define the mood. Sometimes I can’t be the positive, loving, and empathetic person I set out to be. Sometimes my childhood and other issues get in the way of expressing the lighthearted and fun-loving person that I was born to be.

I am a product of my upbringing. It molded many of my initial responses to parenting. Those first reactions were on autopilot, and if I'm not mindful, I can slip back into this type of behavior. This is where my gut reaction gets in the way of thinking rationally. Even when I know that yelling isn’t productive, I still end up yelling or at least really wanting...

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Parenting Can Feel Isolating

The moment I left my job to stay home with Esme, I felt alone. Alone in a way I had never experienced. It was isolation coupled with the unknowing that left me at a loss. I was doing a job I knew nothing about, with zero training, no real mentors and monumental tasks and expectations. Overnight I would become the entire sustainability for another human being—one that was my flesh and blood, one I wanted more than anything and knew nothing about.

My friends were of no help. I was the first to have a child and they were all steadfast in their careers and single adult living. I quickly became jealous and resentful. I couldn’t even go to lunch or coffee or even a walk around the block without my baby. I was chained to her and there was no getting away, EVER. I was trapped and felt like a caged animal.

Because I wanted to have a family so desperately, acknowledging the isolation felt guilty and wrong, almost as if I didn’t have the right to be upset or have my feelings...

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Self-Regulation: How to Get Your Kids to Be Self-Regulating

When our kids are upset, we all hope they can say; “You know I didn’t really like it when my brother was unkind to me, and that’s why I am so upset today.” Yet, it takes a highly evolved and emotionally intelligent human to know where their larger feelings of upset are coming from. Sometimes those upsets and emotional reactions come long after the initial offense and can also be triggered by an unrelated action. Instead most of us, kids and adults, take out our upsets on the safest and closest people in our orbit. We lash out at those who will love us no matter what. When this happens with our children many of us take those outbursts personally. Sometimes we believe our child is displeased with us or is being unkind because they do not understand this type of behavior is hurtful and not acceptable. This is just not true.

Our children do not want to make us angry or push us into our own upset. They are merely just reacting to what is happening for them...

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How to Bring your Extended Family Along in Your Positive Parenting Journey

Having your extended family be a part of helping you raise your kids can be extremely beneficial but at times challenging. If we are lucky enough to have our parents nearby, they may even be helping us on a regular basis. This comes with both the ultimate feeling of security as we leave our kids in the care of those who are closest to us and also unwanted triggers as we see our folks use the same parenting methods which we may not always agree. Finding the right balance between allowing our parents to care for our children in their own way and giving them an idea of how we would like our kids treated can be quite tricky. Our parents did the best job parenting us with what they knew. In fact, we all do what we think is right for our kids. We know more now about interpersonal relationships, especially with regard to those between child and parent.

My sweet dad moved to Los Angeles and became our “manny” when Esme was born over 13 years ago. He was retired and spent...

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Speak Your Truth

I believe there is freedom in speaking our truth about our challenging parenting experiences—almost a liberation. Making these moments part of the narrative is essential for our generation to move forward in a better way. Why? Two reasons. First, we mustn’t let others believe they
are alone in their struggles. Every parent out there has days they feel defeated and alone. Secondly, if we fail to recognize our transgressions than they will eat us alive, making it easier
to repeat our patterns. I implore you to talk about the time you screamed at your child or the demeaning things you said out of anger and frustration because this is the honest truth in parenting. If we can bring these things to light and decide we want more, choose to do better and move away from conventionalities, then we can push forward a new movement. Admitting our wrongdoings and missteps or merely saying how difficult parenting is does not mean we love our kids any less.


Parenting is so confounding and...

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The Parent Trap

parenting shaming Nov 07, 2019

Why is Parenting in front of other adults so shaming?

I have never felt more alienated as I did parenting my kids in public or around other adults and family. I clearly remember Esme disobeying me in front of grown-ups. The looks and sideways glances were unreal. It was almost as if I was being bullied into “making” my kid behave. I immediately felt judged as if my child and I were now on the “naughty” list. Or, somehow the baby that had been doted over incessantly by all those around her became the “troubled” or “bad” kid with one misstep. Nobody came close and held my hand, told me it was normal to have kids who disobey and asserted themselves. Not one person said “come with love and use kindness” to get your child connected so that they want to behave.

My family, friends, and people I didn’t even know expected me to punish my 3-year-old—to make her feel bad or withdraw some sort of privilege. Worse yet, to...

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My New Normal

All I ever wanted was to be a mother, and once I became a mother, it wasn’t all I ever wanted. I loved my daughters with all my heart and found the “tasks” of being a mom easy. I breastfed, wore my kids constantly and co-slept trying to be a “good” attachment parent. The emotional aspects of parenting are what eluded me. I didn’t “understand” my kids, their upsets and what they unearthed. Crying, tantrums and general discontent seemed to trigger an SOS in my nervous system, leaving me feeling at a complete loss as to how to respond appropriately. I wanted it to stop and did everything in my power to make that happen. The shushing, rocking, swaddling, bribing, distracting and punishing left me exhausted and feeling awful about myself and my parenting. Had I just known then what I know now, that crying is OK, feelings are part of being an emotional person and listening is the key to helping babies and children feel heard and understood....

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10 Steps to Peaceful Parenting

Learning to be a more Peaceful Parent led me on a journey of becoming a more peaceful person. For me, these two are inextricably linked. I never really quite understood how my inner happiness and calm or lack thereof could so greatly affect my children. I mean, I knew if I was in a bad mood I was not a great parent. But what I didn’t really understand until later was that if I kept myself “resourced” then I was an entirely different parent compared to when I was just getting by.

There are many things that have helped me along the way to gain perspective on my own inner being. Below I've listed some of the ones that have made a big difference in how I parent my own kids. I not only do these things for self-preservation but in fact, I do them for my children's benefit as well. When I am whole, they can have a better experience in this world and in our household.

1.  Get lots of rest! I mean lots! I use to see every concert I could possibly manage, go...

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How Regulating Our Feelings Can Help Us Become a Connected Parent

Don’t take it personally! Really? I just read that the other day, don’t take your child’s anger and “off-track” behavior personally. WHAT? You mean to tell me when my 10-year-old rolls her eyes in the back of her head and says that I don’t know what I am talking about demanding that I leave her room I am not supposed to take it personally? Really?! She is so disrespectful and obviously has NO manners; I don’t even know where she came from.

Science tells us when our kids are “off track” they are no longer relying on the use of their prefrontal cortex (the reasoning center of the brain). They are fully depending on the limbic system (the emotional center of the brain). That means they literally can’t think. Dr. Dan Siegel talks a lot about this in all of his books and he describes it as “flipping your lid.” So instead of getting angry, reprimanding the behavior, lecturing and rupturing the already compromised...

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Why I Wasn't Prepared to be a Parent

If you had met me 10 years ago and asked me about becoming a new mom I would have told you I had everything figured out. My baby registry was filled with all the newest thingamabobs and doohickies. I had read Dr. Sears, Sweet Dreams, The Happiest Baby on the Block, and a half dozen other baby books of the time. The birth plan I constructed after attending hours of Bradley Method Instruction was “iron-clad”.  But when I brought that sweet little baby home, I was at a complete loss. I remained that way on and off, even though the birth of a second child and into the throws of preschool until I decided I needed help—a new direction, one that would allow me to feel good about my parenting instead of manipulating, threatening and coercing.

To get my two young girls to do as I asked, I set up systems that didn’t allow them to fail for fear they would be penalized with either a “time-out”, taking away a precious toy and TV time, or...

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