Part of being home more is that I come face-to-face with with my dissatisfaction with my house. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to move or be in a different house. I love our neighborhood and I actually feel really settled and nested in our house. The issue is that I have never had a vision for how I’d like this house to be organized, furnished and decorated. We have made certain decisions about flooring, paint and furnishings during the 5 years that we’ve been here, but I’ve mostly removed myself from the process and allowed David and my parents to drive the aesthetic. I think this mostly comes from an acute insecurity about anything design-related. I just don’t have the kind of brain that visualizes how things go together or what will look good. When people start talking about colors, patterns and spatial relationships, I have trouble translating the words into anything meaningful. This makes me feel stupid and frustrated and I choose to withdraw. So I have a house that I like and I pretty much like most of the things in it, but it has never felt like an accurate reflection of me or my aesthetic (assuming I have one). more…
Monthly Archives: November 2011
Last night at seminar I spoke about the work I’m doing with Sarah and Catalina to get more present in my body. Breck acknowledged the progress I’m making in getting more physically connected, but he said wants me to engage in something that will allow me to express a more aggressive energy as well, such as boxing or martial arts. Doing a class like that sounds utterly miserable, but I’m sure that’s because I’m so uncomfortable with the more aggressive parts of myself. . . which is exactly the point. If it sounded natural and fun to take a boxing class, Breck wouldn’t be suggesting it for me! So I’m now on a journey to find my inner Rocky (or Bruce Lee?).
My bookshelves are lined with numerous parenting books, most of which I have never explored beyond the first chapter or two. With some, I have found that I get the gist of the author’s theory within the first few pages and I can’t bear the thought of wading through endless chapters of research and anecdotes. With others, I have been so overwhelmed by the ambitious premise of the book (think, “why your infant should only eat homemade raw whole organic baby food”) that I shut down with shame and refuse to take in anything that might be helpful. With still others, the advice has just clashed with my basic parenting instincts. Despite my poor track record, I have come upon three gems that have pulled me in and have impacted the way I parent. more…
I hate losing my cool with my kids. I feel like a jerk and I feel mean. In my head, I long to be a combination of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and June Cleaver, floating from room to room dispensing unconditional love to my children. I imagine myself remaining calm and serene in the face of any provocation while drawing on my vast life experience to dispense endless nuggets of wisdom, which my children gobble up like little Pac-Men (and Women). In reality, I feel more like a unpredictable mixture of Lucy Ricardo, Cinderella’s stepmother and Pee-Wee Herman. So much for grace and serenity.
The kids were home from school today because of Veteran’s Day. The tantrums and fights were non-stop and I exploded at least once an hour. In those moments, I feel as though I have made no progress at all in my pursuit of calmer and more connected parenting. I feel like a total failure as a mother and I am ruthless in assessing my missteps.
I MUST remind myself that I am not chasing an ideal as a mother. I want to be an authentic and effective parent who acts from intention instead of reaction. But within that pursuit there are a few things I need to keep in mind: (1) Transforming any area is a long and challenging process, (2) I will always be a work in progress, and (3) It’s important for my kids to see me as a human being who makes mistakes and can clean them up with love and humility. Ahhhhhh (long exhale as I regain perspective)
On another note: Below are some pictures from the field trip I took this week with my son’s 2nd grade class to Cabrillo Marina tidepools in San Pedro. It was fantastic!!
Ever since I read the book Screamfree Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel (one of the best parenting books I have read, by the way), I have been looking for ways to be calmer and more connected during emotionally-charged interactions with my kids. When my kids have strong emotional outbursts (tantrums, yelling, slamming doors, sibling fights), I tend to take on my kids’ emotional state. While I’m trying to handle the situation and set boundaries, I am also fighting against in my own internal maelstrom and feelings that “something is wrong.” This conflict between my attempts to reason and my emotional flooding results in me getting reactive (e.g., yelling or withdrawing) or trying to fix the “problem.” I really want to find a calmer place in those explosive moments so I can be a guide for my kids rather than a participant in their drama. more…
These two pictures of my daughters getting ready for Halloween fill me with emotion. I look at the image of my oldest daughter helping her younger sister with her make-up and it warms me from my head to my toes. They look so grown up to me with their long hair and their long legs. A few years ago they looked like tiny little girls in their costumes — now they look like young ladies. However, when I look back at these same pictures a few years from now, I will think that they look like tiny little girls compared to the teenagers they have become. It’s so bittersweet to look at these moments captured in photos while knowing that the moments are already gone.