Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm that Mom

For the Blog Carnival inspired by Flo Gascon .. started by Ronnie Sundance Maier and fueled by super inspiring mom's and dad's around the globe!

I'm that mom

... who birthed her babies at home cause it felt like a good idea

.. who nursed her baby near every two hours for the first three years of his life cause it was just what he needed

.. who jumps in puddles when it rains even without waterproof foot wear on just cause it looks so tempting

.. who smokes pretend cigarettes with her kids cause such a big idea is clearly worth exploring in the most authenticate of ways 

.. who piles dishes on the counter when the dishwasher is full cause tickle backs on in high demand

.. who pulls out a ladder and holds it steady cause someone wonders if an egg dropped from the roof on to the grass will break

.. who bakes cakes, even if they are simply for the purpose of decoration and never actually get eaten cause the inspiration arises

.. who buys four cans of whip cream cause one is never enough

.. who is willing to pass back a cup/bottle/bowl for peeing in when pulling over is impossible cause sometimes holding it in just is way to hard

.. who watches from the sidelines while holding smaller hands cause she knows that participation comes in all sizes and shapes

... who watches way more disney channel shows then she might choose cause it means sitting beside someone I adore

.. who snuggles under the blankets and tells more then one bedtime story cause sometimes sleep can be elusive

And Yes I am that Mom, who would rather have others judge, laugh or shake their head at her then disappoint, embarrass or belittle her children (or anyone's children really).

Sunday, July 11, 2010


As we are looking to build our tribe of local friendships and connection we are spending more time around unfamiliar folks and witnessing a wide array of parenting preferences. Lately, the one thing that has really slapped me up side the head, is the true burden some folks feel in taking on this big job of parenting. 

This idea got me to wondering, I mean for the vast majority of folks they did choose to invite this human being in to the world. And again, for a large percentage it was cause they were crazy in love with their partner and wanted to make another human being out of that love. And from what I know for certain about babies they arrive in this world as nothing sort of a pure unconditional love. From day one, that is simply what they have to offer up, pure unaltered not tampered with or damaged unconditional love.  A rather powerful drug that makes parents fall head over heels in love. 

So if we have these people who are in love and they make this person that is pure love, where is the point that the child becomes this manipulative little being who is out to make their parents life challenging? Where is the turning point that the child stops being unconditional love and becomes devious and in need of discipling or reshaping? 

I imagine it could be at the point when they start to push a parents buttons and in doing so encourage this parent to turn inward and have a look at what is going on for them. Cause really, for a child to be spoiled wouldn't that mean at some point they were rotten? And if they were rotten wouldn't that mean at some point the scales began to tip from good to bad? In order for that tipping moment to emerge from a being that was pure unconditional love when it arrived one would have to argue it had something to due with the environment the unconditional love was being nurtured in. And if this is truly the case we present, how in the name of any powerful being can that be the fault or the responsibility of the child. They were the one who was invited in to this world after all and showed up wrapped in unconditional love. 

I vividly remember a moment in my life when an subtle internal shift occurred that opened an even deeper well of unconditional love with in me for my children. It was late in the night and my 2 year old had woken me again to nurse (for the first three years of his life this happened nearly every 2 hours) I turned to him with frustration. I heard a stream of stories and advice pouring in to my mind about how he was manipulating me, I should have trained him out of this by now etc. You know what I saw in return, a smile. A smile that radiated that pure untainted love he had for me. I recognized in that moment that that was all he ever had to offer me. It was at the heart of our every interaction. How in the world could I meet that with anything but the same pure and free love. 

I try my best to have a huge amount of compassion for the chest puffed father asserting his power over his children in the park, in a manner that belittles, shames and embarrasses them. I suspect he is responding to the world around him that encourages this sort of dominance as evidence that he is doing a "good job" as a parent. And I offer a smile to the frazzled mother in the grocery store who is threatening her children  in a public manner cause I suspect she has bought in to the idea that a good parent keeps their children quiet in order to not disturb those around her, who by the way don't have an ounce of unconditional love for her. 

I still don't think it's okay though. I wonder about a world that accepts and makes it okay, to take unconditional love, manipulate it or train it or discipline it and then turn around and blame the results of that on the person who arrived invited offering nothing but that unconditional love. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cause your just as important as I am

Just the other day the boys and I were at home doing our thing. We were having what the boys call "a home day." It is what they ask for quite regularly to integrate new experiences, information and ideas in to their world.

I was starting to cook up some food for dinner and the boys were lounging in my bed, watching Disney channel. When off in the distance I heard the high pitched screaming of a child. The child was screaming "no, no, no, no," repeatedly in a desperate sort of manner. To say it broke my heart was an understatement. Now I took a moment to ground myself in the knowing that I hadn't a clue of what was going on or what the parent and child interaction looked like and to cultivate compassion for all parties involved in this heart wrenching altercation. And then it went on and on and on and on. I scoped the areas close to my home, in hopes of catching the interaction and offering a smile, or hand if it looked safe. However, I could not get a visual on the heart broken child. So I stood on my deck and I cried. I cried for the child who was so obviously asserting their desire for something to stop and I cried for the adult who wasn't able to hear that see that or meet the child's need.

Later in the evening, the boys and I were discussing what I had heard and how I so desperately wished I could help out. Mitchel so wisely said, "Ya but the parent might not have liked that." This caused me to pause before offering up a response. To me, the child is just as important as the adult and if I can show up and simply offer a smile that breaks the moment or let's the child know their is an adult in the world who recognizes them in their distress, that's enough.  I think he got that for the most part. But me I kept on thinking.

How often in our world do we over hear parents talking about their children using negative language? How often do we hear parents discussing funny or embarrassing moments right their in front of their obviously uncomfortable children? I think this sends a subtle, quiet message that us grown ups are far more important then children. I mean heck really this is only the tip of the iceberg in the number of ways this message is given to children over and over and over again in mainstream society.

This whole ideas has always baffled me, from childhood, through University and in to parenting.  My wondering is this, is respect something you have to earn? Or is it something you give freely to those around you in order to be open to receiving it right back at you? And what is the magical age by which you arrive that gives you "power" over others? Is it your right as an adult to then make up for all those years you wished someone would listen to you or take you seriously by disrespecting and holding power over younger smaller people?

I am thankful for that fact that I have always questioned the value of one age group over another. I truly believe it is the driving force behind how I came to know the little people I was blessed to work with in a number of "work" situations. I remember once, a mother saying to me, "I wanted you to work with my child because you always bend down to talk to her at eye level." What was shocking here was two part, the first being I had no conscious clue that this is what I was doing. And secondly, that others around me weren't.

When I first met my boys it made sense to me that their will and desire was on par with mine. It was one of those things that came from with in.  I was surrounded during my early parenting years by parents who were desperate to have their children sleep, who were using anything from Ferber to the Baby whisperer to make this happen. I just could not bring myself to get in the way of what ever need it was that my young sons had that waked them. I mean come on we spent our ever waking moment wrapped up in each other, why suddenly when the lights went out would they want to be separated from me for 10-12 hours. I struggled in the face of others who cringed at my nursing toddlers, somewhere in me I knew their need to receive nourishment from physical contact with me was just as important as my need to for personal space.

For me a huge part of honoring my children's importance lies in the place where I take them seriously.  A few days back, Makinley announced "I am going to work in a toothpaste factory when I grow up." There are many a response I could have come back with that discouraged this any thing from, "you won't get rich doing that" to out right laughter would have crushed his very in the moment determination. Instead, I listened and took him quite seriously. To which he explained, "and mom I am going to ask my boss if I can bring some toothpaste home for you so you won't have to buy it anymore. I hope I can be the guy who puts the cap on at the end."  Wow, he had given this some careful consideration and was asserting his dreams, hopes and ideas about the future while also considering my economical needs. This was a tender sharing by a young person who's dreams are just as important as mine.

As I move through the challenges of parenting I am continually called to bite my tongue to keep my thoughts and ideas quiet while holding my children in space that is as valuable as my own. Cause sure I can apologize later for the mistakes I make (cause there are plenty of those) but grander are the moments when I can keep my internal dialogue to myself while  holding my child in the space that reflects how we are equally important in this world!