Blog Post, My Story

What I’ve Learnt from Self-Isolating as a Single Mum

What if self-isolating during covid-19 were an opportunity for self-growth? Even as a single Mum, I haven’t had this much one on one time with my daughter where we’ve been completely alone, with no one else around, for….. Well, I never have!

She is at the stage where her language has exploded and she loves to practice the art of conversation. All the time 🙂

I generally love it and I find such wisdom in the space of her ‘whys’ and her own explanations and reflections. But I also crave quiet time alone inside my own head. Where I can write, think, unravel and connect. Where I have clear SPACE.

Representative of my internal state at this stage 30mins into our day 😉

Usually I know that the capacity I have to meet her in her frustrations, big feelings, and state of overwhelm directly correlates to the opportunities I’ve had to meet these needs for myself.

To listen to a podcast. To go for a walk. To write. To dive into literature. All of these things ‘give’ to me. These are things that expand my heart, mind, and bandwidth for ‘holding’ of space when my mothering calls for it.

What has been a challenge during this time of isolation, is finding ways to still meet all of those things ‘for me’ everyday, in a way where I am also actively mothering and alongside my child.

Our fear becomes theirs

A few days ago I started to notice my shortened threshold for tolerance. It was a rising sense of frustration. An agitation and irritation and being touched and needed and talked to.

A feeling of overwhelm that I can get ‘nothing’ done. Like I’m just treading water. Eventually you get tired of that, your nervous system can’t take it anymore, and you need to enact an intervention, or you will create a rupture.

The interesting thing about the relationship with our children is that they mirror all of this back to us. We are an interdependent and co-regulating little unit. If she is out of sync, it’s my job to co-regulate and help her nervous system calm and come ‘back online’.

But if I’m out of sync, I can be almost sure she is going to mirror this dysfunction and tension back to me. She’s going to express the tension that I’m repressing.

She will also be TRYING to regulate herself amidst this tension. This is by doing things such as jumping across the couch. Hanging upside down. Throwing things – flinging the uncomfortable energy away from herself. These types of regulation attempts are often things that trigger and push me further into my own cycle of dysregulation.

One way to move her through this tension is to hold space for her tears – but I was not in a place to do that. I was struggling with my own regulation.

So when I’m in this space, I need a circuit breaker. These circuit breakers can shift energy, which can shift perspective, and a shift in our perspective can change our entire experience.

It’s our responsibility to shift the energy

Some things I’ve been doing in these moments where I know I need a circuit breaker for myself:

  • Take a big breath, hold it, and slowly release it. Over and over until I feel calmer.
  • Say ‘freeze’ and freeze in a statue pose. Ask her to copy. Then press her belly button as the ‘reset’ to start again.
  • Start star-jumping.
  • Break out in song or hum to myself.
  • Spin around together then fall on the floor: re-orient ourselves and the world around us.

I’ve been consciously reminding myself to show self-compassion in the same way I would to a friend. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to talk about how challenging I’m finding this moment right now.

If – more like WHEN – I speak in a way that doesn’t align with my values, I know how to ‘repair’ with her.

I know that talking through emotional processing gives her more lessons than maintaining the illusion of ‘perfection’ ever could.

Self-isolating an opportunity for self-growth

As I rub up against discomfort, as I feel the swell of rage within, as my skin feels prickled and pinched with every pull and grab, it feels like energy is being physically ripped out from within me.

And THAT is how apathy is transformed.

That is how ego is humbled.

That is how you meet new parts of yourself.

That is how you call forward the parts that ache to be healed and the passions yearning to be expressed.  

Perspective shifts and a path to consciousness

This is why mothering can be a spiritual practice, a path to consciousness, a stripping back and a (re)discovering of who you are.

I’m feeling into all the ways I can be challenged by experiencing life this way amidst a global epidemic.

How I can remain connected with communities.

How I can use this environment to teach my daughter.

How I can use this as an opportunity for learning about myself.

How I can serve others.

How I can bring greater awareness and gratitude to our seemingly small everyday moments.

It is also a reminder of the fragility of life and the certainty of death.

We are all living as these little organisms within our homes. Connected to each other more than we can understand.

Yet sometimes that does little to guard against that feeling of crushing isolation and loneliness.

Know though, that are thoughts are incredibly powerful. Our words are incredibly powerful. The creation of art is incredibly powerful. The practice of gratitude is incredibly powerful.

Surrendering and letting go

To feel my wholeness I let go of expectations on myself to get the same standard of work done as I usually would.

I let go of all house-cleaning pressures until she was in bed.

I put music on – music that I liked (sorry Wiggles) – and we danced.

I packed up the car and headed to an almost-empty beach.

We collected wild flowers and put them in a vase when we got home.

I felt into the hard moments, not wishing them away but surrendering.

When I’d created this spaciousness within myself, she was able to feel safe and held in releasing her feelings to me. She was able to let go of her feelings.

Two nights ago she had a huge ‘tantrum’ before bed. Crying and flinging herself away from me, screaming at me. I knew – and as I teach in transforming toddler tantrums – this tantrum was purposeful, and I could meet her in the ways that she needed.

As a result, yesterday and today our days have been transformed. We have both had a beautiful energy that has been in synchrony and we’ve both felt much ‘lighter’. I know we’ll cycle back into the hard places again – it’s inevitable.

But this is part of the cyclical nature of our whole human experience more broadly, isn’t it? There can be a type of comfort in knowing everything passes. Let this ignite our passion to soak up as much of this life as we can, knowing that the essence of it all is right in front of us in our everyday, ‘ordinary’ moments.

Trust and Gratitude.

Picking flowers on our beach excursion

If you’d like support, guidance, and connection in your own journeying of consciousness and good-enough-mothering, then check out my SUPPORT program.

toddler
Uncategorized

Why to Stop Mocking Your Toddler’s Tantrum

I think everyone who has a toddler can recall a time where their child has had a ‘meltdown’, ‘tantrum’, or shed tears over something seemingly insignificant.

You gave them the wrong coloured plate with their lunch. They wanted to button up their own jacket. Or maybe they couldn’t catch the ball that was thrown to them.

An example recently from my daughter was when she wailed before bedtime that she wanted her Wiggles balloon. She hadn’t seen the balloon in weeks, the concert was a month ago, and I explained this to her and explained how balloons deflate over time. It only intensified her cries.

Our Perception of a Tantrum

How we respond as a parent in these scenarios depends on how we ourselves are feeling at the time, and the perception we have of this ‘tantrum’.

Check out my Transforming Toddler Tantrums Course

If you view the tantrum as uncalled for, over the top, ‘silly’, and an overreaction, AND you are in a place of stress or frustration yourself, you may respond with anger. Maybe their tears and overwhelm provoke the same response in you, with your own feelings bubbling over. There can be an irritation that your child is acting ‘irrationally’.

Or if you’re in a regulated place yourself and perhaps you find this hilarious? Maybe you even whip out your phone to record it to send to your family or post on social media?

I get it. I’ve been in this place too where I’ve found it particularly funny that my daughter can get SO upset over something seemingly SO small (to me).

Shift Your Perspective on Tantrums

What I’d invite here though is a perspective shift.

A perspective shift helps you stop overreacting to your toddler or laughing at their emotional distress. It will also facilitate their emotional development, invite compassion, and deepen your connection with them.

This perspective shift is about recognizing that your toddler is rarely upset directly over the ‘thing’ that provoked their tears. This ‘thing’ is simply their trigger to release the deeper feelings that were already there.

Think of an equivalent being you’ve had a hard day at work or at home with your kids, and little annoyances, irritations, or upsets add up throughout the day. Each time something happens you ‘keep it together’. You deal with it and move on. You shake it off.

You swallow down the discomfort until something seemingly minor happens… then BAM. The annoyance, irritation, and upset burst out of you. Road rage is a perfect example of this. Something seemingly minor can set off a cascade of emotional reactions in somebody.

It’s the same process in our children. They experience upsets, difficulties, frustrations, and difficult feelings throughout their days. They don’t have the space, capacity, or support to express those emotions. So when they have their emotional outburst because of a seemingly ‘insignificant’ or ‘ridiculous’ trigger, the emotions bubbling over are deeper than they appear.

What Are The Tears Really About?

We can’t always know the reasons behind the feelings – although we can ponder them.

Perhaps when my daughter was so upset about her Wiggles balloon being gone she was releasing a deeply held feeling of loss and displacement? Of how hard it can be as a child when you lose something you love. When something is gone that you weren’t prepared to let go of. When you don’t get the chance to say ‘goodbye’.

Tears can be about their frustrations around not having a ‘choice’, not being able to exercise their autonomy or make decisions. Tears can be about grief and sadness around the changing of a relationship with their caregivers if a new sibling has come along. Tears can be about feeling unheard, lonely, frustrated. Any number of emotions.

Our little children can only process their emotions through tears, laughter, or play. They don’t have the language or the reflexivity to fully express and process their feelings through language. This is something that we as adults still struggle with, and we have fully developed brains!

What I Can Do Instead

The next time your toddler cries over something seemingly insignificant, listen to them. Support them the same way you would support a friend sharing their tears with you (even if you think their tears aren’t warranted).

You wouldn’t laugh at them, dismiss them, tell them to stop being ‘silly’, distract them, photograph them, or get angry at them. You would try to listen, empathise, show compassion, give them a hug, or just ‘be there’.

I know this is hard and I know we won’t be able to respond in this gentle way all of the time. But this is such meaningful work, holding space for them, making them feel safe, heard, and connected, and teaching them that all of their feelings are okay.

Check out my Transforming Toddler Tantrums Course if you’d like to learn more about:

  • The real reasons why toddlers have tantrums
  • How to release yourself from stress and guilt related to tantrums
  • How your own emotional state relates to your child’s
  • Strategies to not only support your toddler through their tantrum but help prevent the frequency of these outbursts

The course is just $44, takes only 15mins a day over 14 days to complete, and the first 5 to sign up also get 5 days of free one on one support. Sign up here.

purposeful habits
Blog Post

Creating Purposeful Habits

How are you going with your new year resolutions for 2020 so far? Research shows that 25% of people abandon new years resolutions within a week. A way to help combat this, is abandoning the idea of ‘resolutions’ in favour of purposeful habits.

There is a large body of research on goal setting and habits that provides insights into why there is such a big failure rate, and why focussing on habits is more effective. Dr Arianna Uhalde and Dr Benjamin Houltberg research motivation and found that we need to be thinking about the purpose of our goals, rather than just the goals themselves.

Re-frame challenge as opportunity for personal growth.

Think about what it is that you truly want: what your purpose is. Ultimately, you will only ever achieve broader resolutions through specific purposeful habits – practicing steps that will take you closer to achieving your goal(s).

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here are 5 strategies you can implement to dig into these questions of what you want, what your purpose is, how to create purposeful habits, and what your goals will be and your roadmap moving forward into 2020.

1. What do you actually want, and why?

First think about what it is you actually WANT, and then dig a little deeper into the ‘why’.

So an example: you may want a holiday. Okay. Why do you want a holiday? Is it because you’re craving emotional connection and time with your partner and children? Is it because you’re really not enjoying work and want to be able to look forward to a break from it? Is it because there’s a particular place you’ve dying to explore? When you dig into the primary want behind the goal, it can help to then strategize a plan to get there.

Considering a ‘why’ behind a desire may even prompt you to consider other goals and intentions that can help serve your needs and desires in other, smaller and more tangible ways throughout the year. So if you’re wanting that time for emotional connection as a family – are there ways you could scaffold to create this week by week as you work towards that goal of a holiday?

2. Set goals. Multiple.

Then set your goal – ideally goals. Dr Carla Marie Manly a clinical psychologist says that the psyche can become overwhelmed when presented with one major goal. Which is interesting, isn’t it? This idea that sometimes having tunnel vision on just ONE goal can actually make it more daunting and less likely to achieve.

So what we want – is to have several goals. Or break that one larger goal into separate and more tangible goals that will inch you closer and closer to that bigger one, through embedding purposeful habits into your life. It is also empowering and motivating when you set really achievable goals and this sense of reward and pride can help propel you forward. The ‘SMART’ guide to goal setting can be a helpful way of constructing your goals.

  • Specific: for example, ‘being healthy’ is really subjective. Get specific. Quit smoking. Or walk daily. Or eat something green at every meal.
  • Measurable: so quantify your resolution. Have it as something you can actually measure so then you can recognise when you have actually achieved your goal
  • Attainable: be realistic. Reading a book a week might not be realistic for you if you’re not reading at all right now. Try one a month. Or if you don’t exercise at all currently it might be unrealistic to say you’ll ran a marathon this year.
  • Relevant: keep it relevant – not only to your priorities but also to your values.
  • Time-Sensitive: actually give yourself a specific time-frame and break your goal down at least month by month. Of course you give yourself some compassion and flexibility, but ultimately you will not achieve the year-long goal if you don’t get a move on your daily to-do list. It’s always about the one next step that you can take.

3. Form your purposeful habits

Once you’ve developed your goals, you then develop your habit formation that you will create to achieve these goals. So thinking about each specific goal – what habit are you going to put in place that will help you achieve this goal?

Habits ideally need to be part of your everyday life. They need to be built into your routine. They need to be something relatively easy and realistic and ideally something that you enjoy. You’re unlikely to continue something as a habit if you get no sense of reward, satisfaction, or enjoyment from it.

Habit also needs to include carving out time, space, support, and location. If your goal is to write 500 words a day, WHEN will you actually do this? How will you set yourself up for success? Habits are all about consistency and without matching your goal up with a habit formation, it will be very difficult to see it through to fruition.

Lalley et al found with their research participants, that missing one opportunity to perform a habit forming behaviour did not affect the overall habit formation process.

4. Plan for your failure

Changing our lives through goal setting and forming purposeful habits is of course about consistency, but it’s also about resilience and self-forgiveness. That’s why this next step is about anticipating failure. Because failure is part of your success.

Flip your narrative on failure and see it as actually likely an integral part of you achieving your goals.

Everyone experiences failure.

Failure propels self-evaluation and growth.

Failure keeps us accountable.

Failure is part of life.

It’s also an inevitability with goals that are year-long because you know ‘life’ will get in the way, in various ways… Illness, challenge, relationship issues… Especially if you have kids or have caregiving responsibilities. You had a bad day? A bad week? Fine – accept that. Be with that. Actually see it as GOOD.

See your challenge an opportunity for further growth. Don’t let it form part of a negative self-talk narrative about how you’re failing or can’t do this or may as well give it all in and away not bother. No – don’t self-sabotage. Just keep going. It’s all about your one next step.

5. Celebrate and embrace the present moment

Lastly, celebrate. Being able to celebrate means recognising when you’ve had a ‘win’. When you are proud of yourself. This means that your goals need to be measurable and something that you can hold yourself to accountability for. When you feel you’re getting closer to something you’ve been working towards – do something for yourself that feels particularly nourishing and replenishing.

Be kind to yourself and come from the same place of compassion, empathy, and gentleness that you would come from when encouraging a friend or a child. If we don’t acknowledge where we make great leaps forward and achieve, then it can mean we’re dulling our light. Quelling or turning away from your own power and brilliance. So give yourself permission to celebrate, be present, and be proud.

I would love for us to build a narrative of celebration into our everyday lives, as a way to enable us to connect more with the present moment instead of always chasing the future. Be with what is, right now. And know that it is about every step that you are taking. That is what gets you to the next step, the next moment. And we don’t want to live our lives in a perpetual state of a sense of ‘lack’. I believe we can feel the fullness of our whole selves right now in the present moment, while also striving to better ourselves and our lives with self awareness and reflection.

Listen in to The Good Enough Mother (TGEM) Podcast Episode 16 on ‘Creating Purposeful Habits for 2020’.

When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.

Pauline R. Kezer
crying toddler in distress response
Blog Post, Practices

The crying child and how different parenting styles respond

There are as many styles of parenting as there are parents and how we respond to our crying child is subject a range of factors and contexts. I know that talking about how we raise our children and respond to a crying child can be a highly emotive – even moralistic – conversation.

It feels deeply personal because of our relationships with our children, and the high investment (in every sense of the word) so many of us put into childrearing. Why this topic can be emotive is also connected with the ways motherhood sets us up for comparison, judgement, and critique – from both others and ourselves.

In my latest podcast episode – 6. Parenting Paradigms – I give an overview of some of the major styles of parenting and give an overview of the characteristics of each style.

Parenting style examples

If you’re curious about what I refer to when I talk about different parenting styles, here is a little snippet of insight into some styles and their differences:

  • Authoritarian: you value discipline as part of parenting, often involving punishment and reward strategies. You can see a crying child as using crying as a form of manipulation.
  • Attachment: you believe in the close attachment of parents with their children. A crying child is communicating an unmet need that you should meet.
  • Free range: you respect your child as an independent, autonomous, and capable person. You resist structured and planned activities and programs, instead encouraging learning through free play.
  • Aware/Hand in hand: you see your child as a whole and separate person. Your job as a parent is to support their growth through recognizing and working through emotions (both your own and your child’s). You see your crying child as using a normal and healthy mechanism for stress release.
  • Conscious: you believe your children mirror you, highlighting and thrusting you onto a path of transformation. You parent through strategies of both modelling and encouraging inner work on resilience and growth.

Many of the prescriptions of parenting around ‘THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AT ALL COSTS’ are culturally constructed, rather than necessarily being based in evidence and research.

We can also say that the way that we mother matters, and the attachment needs and need for connection of babies and children matter, while ALSO critiquing the various cultural and social interpretations of different parenting methods.

How we perceive our crying child

One of the big points of difference in how we parent according to these different styles, is how we understand and respond to our children when they are distressed. This distress is often expressed through crying, or a ‘tantrum’. Different parenting styles reflect different ways of understanding what crying and tantrums actually mean. I think it also depends hugely on the age of a child. People’s perceptions can shift and change according to what age-group we are talking about.

There is the belief that crying is a form of manipulation. Children – from infants onwards – cry in order to coax their parent into giving them something they want (or ‘giving in’ to them).

There is the perception that crying is a form of communication. A child’s tears are a sign to their caregiver that they have some need that is not being met. This idea is most typically prevalent in infants but continues throughout childhood. We may even think about how this perception plays out with us as adults when we see another person crying and scramble to find something we can ‘do’ to make them feel better/stop crying.

There is also the idea building from this, that crying is a form of communication, but not ONLY a form of communication. Crying can sometimes be a way of releasing stress, tension, fears, and as a mechanism of catharsis.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ interpretation

I have to say that after reading widely on these different perceptions and understandings, I can understand and relate to where each is coming from. I can see myself and my daughter in every one of these perspectives.

The other day, my innocent child who I felt would never ‘manipulate’ me through her emotions, was perfectly happily sitting in her car-seat when I was outside the car. But as soon as I opened the door she feigned upset and sadness but then burst out laughing. She was crying to ‘manipulatively’ invoke a response in me.

She woke up last night crying and rolling around chewing on her finger. Between the sobs I heard her muttering ‘sore’ – referring to her teething pain. She was crying to communicate a need for comfort and pain relief.

Then there was the other week when she had a ‘tantrum’ (oh she has them all the time of course, but I’m just using this one as an example!) because she wanted to try put her own shirt on instead of me helping her. I said fine here you go, and then she started wailing that she wanted me to put the shirt on for her. Back and forth we went.

Her crying was not about the t-shirt. It was her way of releasing stress and tension. We’d had a big day where I’d been asking her to follow a lot of instructions, spend a fair amount of time in the car, and she’d had little time for free play and making her own choices. So this extra request tipped her over the edge. I sat and listened and empathized and after 5 or so minutes of crying she came in for a cuddle, and then happily let me dress her and on we went.

So these examples are to say: limiting ourselves into identifying with one style of parenting can limit the perspective and scope of understanding we have of our children’s dynamic, changing, and complex behaviour.

How we can respond to crying

Although a contentious parenting topic, I would argue that there is pretty compelling evidence available that would caution us against leaving our children and babies to cry unsupported and alone. If you’re interested in exploring this evidence further I’d encourage you to check out my free eBook here and click on the links included at the end of the ‘sleep’ section.

But the reality is: there will be times where our babies will cry and we have done everything humanly possible to meet (and anticipate) every one of their needs. Nothing we do can help them, and so we feel helpless. But what you can do?

You can be with them. Hold them lovingly as they cry and let them know that you are there for them and it’s going to be okay. Crying in the arms of a loved one is a very different experience to crying alone.

This is supported by research, such as that of Gunnar, who found that when crying infants are held by a caregiver their stress response (the HPA-axis) doesn’t happen, compared to when they are left to cry alone with spiking stress-hormones. More than this: think about your own feeling of distress and crying, and how you feel when supported and listened to by a trusted loved one.

All children cry, regardless of what style of parenting you use.  

For children who are older, not only will they cry, but we as parents will make them cry. This is whether our style is authoritarian, gentle, attachment, or conscious, we will cause our children to cry for a myriad of reasons – including setting boundaries. But it is how we set those boundaries and respond to this distress that is important – not whether our children are crying or not.

We remain empathetic, understanding of their needs and respectful of our own needs and boundaries as parents too.

Reflect on your parenting style

I also think an interesting exercise to do is examine your own internal response to your child’s tears. Question where your beliefs came from? Do they come from your parents and your own childhood? From what you think is the ‘right’ thing to do according to baby books or parenting guides? Is it how you see others in your social circle respond to crying in their children? What emotions bubble to the surface for you?

Most of all: tune in to you, because when you meet your own feelings you are better able to manage and meet your children’s feelings.

Feel the freedom of rejecting the pressure to box yourself into one parenting style. I hope opening up this conversation encourages you to reflect on your own beliefs and practices, and go gently on yourself as you travel down this ever-shifting path of mothering.  

conscious mother mothering daughter gazing at each other in a field
Blog Post, Practices

Conscious Mothering and Self Growth

Becoming mother is one of the most significant transformations of self growth a woman will ever go through. Part of our experience as human beings – regardless of whether we’re parents or not – is evolving and re-making ourselves, through all the phases of our lives. For this reason, I am hesitant to use the terminology of ‘self growth’ because I think that is something we’re always in a process of engaging in. But mothering for me has meant constantly going through transformations that mirror the transformations my daughter experiences in her own growth. I have come to view and experience mothering as the ultimate catalyst for self growth.

Mothering as Transformation

Mothering has a way of pushing you to your absolute edges. You can experience the most intensely joyful and fulfilling moments of love, purpose, and meaning. But you can also be so tested, so pushed, that you feel like you’re at breaking point. It is this cycle of breaking and re-making that mothering can propel us into. But finding and exploring the idea of ‘conscious mothering’ or ‘conscious parenting’ has helped me to find greater meaning, strength, and purpose in the most challenging parts of motherhood.

Part of what we’re warned about before becoming mothers or when we’re pregnant is preparing for the onslaught of ‘boring’, ‘repetitive’ or ‘mind numbing’ tasks. The tasks that seemingly go along with mothering a baby and young child. Tasks like nappy changes, cleaning up mess, cooking, washing, and everything else associated in the domestic realm. There is a tonne of domestic and emotional labour that is associated with caregiving. That is not to say that this labour is women’s work (it shouldn’t only be, even we know that statistically, it is. Tune in to episode 3 of TGEM podcast to hear some stats on this).

Yes sometimes these tasks may feel mundane or repetitive. These are all important and taken for granted aspects of mothering-work that we need to make visible and acknowledge. They don’t always feel mundane and repetitive though, and they don’t HAVE to feel this way. I’m going to dive deeper into the ways we can transform our understandings and the value we place on these aspects of motherhood. But for now, what I want to do is put these tasks of mothering aside and talk about what becoming a mother can mean beyond the immediate demands of caregiving. ⠀⠀

The task of mothering is one that is a psychologically intense task of nourishing, equipping, and encouraging the blossoming of another human being. We are simultaneously held responsible for their development and flourishing while also being required to release them into a world that we have no control over. This responsibility and process is one that transforms us just as much as it transforms our children.

Conscious Mothering

What I’m talking about here is conscious mothering. If you’ve never heard of this term before, you’re probably wondering what ‘conscious mothering’ means? Does it erupt an image of a calm, intuitive, perfect Mum who does yoga, eats organically, never yells, and glides through motherhood? Remember to shatter that illusion: the perfect mother does not exist.

Conscious parenting is not about perfection.

It is not about pretending you are a spirituality guru.

It is not about judging yourself.

What it is about, is this…

Letting parenthood catapult us into a greater awareness of ourselves, and the world around us.

Surrendering to what ‘is’ rather than being in a process of constantly trying to change and work against where we find ourselves and our children.

Learning from our children as much as they learn from us.

Becoming conscious of our own thoughts, behaviours, history, and values.

Living presently to appreciate and be comfortable with who WE are as individuals.

Our job is not to mould our children into who we imagined or want them to be.

Our job is to model for them a person who is living their own lives to their highest potential, who can value and live within the present moment without always getting entangled in the past or yearning for the future.

Conscious parenting means working on ourselves and going through our own internal transformations in order to guide and support our children. There is a focus on our internal world as the marker of disruption or challenge, rather than the child. On connecting with our child and peeling back layers of behaviour to see the underlying emotion our child is working through, rather than resorting to traditional methods of discipline and punishment/rewards.

We relinquish control when we realize our children are not an object for us to dominate, but who are actually giving us opportunities to cultivate deeper connections in our world.

Are you the mother of a toddler?

Join my Transforming Toddler Tantrums Course to learn how to respond to toddler tantrums as a conscious parent.

Dr Shefali Tsabury

One of the most popular voices for conscious mothering is Dr Sheflai Tsabary, author of ‘The Conscious Parent’ and ‘The Awakened Family’.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from Dr Tsabary:

  • “When you parent, it’s crucial you realize you aren’t raising a ‘mini me,’ but a spirit throbbing with its own signature. For this reason, it’s important to separate who you are from who each of your children is. Children aren’t ours to possess or own in any way. When we know this in the depths of our soul, we tailor our raising of them to their needs, rather than molding them to fit our needs.”
  • “It’s no surprise we fail to tune into our children’s essence. How can we listen to them, when so many of us barely listen to ourselves? How can we feel their spirit and hear the beat of their heart if we can’t do this in our own life?”
  • “Because children are essentially good, when we see a child hit, it ought to evoke in us an empathic response such as, ‘What pain they must be in to feel the need to hit’.”
  • “Often it’s the adjustment of our expectations, rather than reality itself, that’s the hurdle we have to leap.”

One of the quotes that most resonates for me, and that I think about almost daily is that “our children are spirits throbbing with their own signature.” I think of that as I beat to my daughter’s rhythm and she pulsates in response to my energy. This is something I was told and have learnt through the wonderful coaching and teachings of Julie Tenner, owner of The Pleasure Nutritionist and co-founder with Bridget Wood of Nourishing the Mother who are an amazing duo who talk all things conscious mothering.

Using Conscious Mothering

Does this way of seeing the world resonate for you? They don’t have to, of course. Even if they do, I am resistant to the idea of dogmatically following any type of philosophy – especially when it comes to parenting.

But what comes from understanding and exploring conscious mothering as a parenting paradigm is releasing the pressured focus we have on shaping our children, and seeing motherhood as a catalyst for self-growth and transformation, that will ultimately allow us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be for our children.

As parents we can model and therefore infuse in our children the values, tools, and self-love that will encourage and facilitate their own ‘becoming’ in a world that is inherently complex and difficult. Herein lies the reason why the work mothering is so challenging, but also why it is THE most important and powerful work in our world (and yes you can engage in mothering work without being a biological mother – men too).

The work of mothering has the potential to change ourselves and therefore our world, our culture, and our society.

Want to learn how to support toddlers through tantrums from a conscious parenting perspective? Join my Transforming Toddler Tantrums Course to learn more.