In my short 4 years of parenthood, I learned quick what I wanted to be as a mom and the kind of experiences I wanted to have as a mom and for my kids!
In the past I have been a stressed out mom who felt at the end of her rope and I have been a joyful mom full of energy and never ending patience.
Thankfully I spend A LOT more time in the latter state of being as opposed to the former. I feel like I hardly know what it felt like anymore to be stressed and overwhelmed.
It took some practice, and many mindset shifts (I share a bit about HOW to make mindset shifts by repointing your expectations and perspective HERE)
But the effort it took in the beginning was completely worth it. Over time, momentum got behind the joy and got going in the opposite direction of stress and now it is difficult to throw me off my rocker. (When the momentum was heavy behind the state of being of stress, it was hard to even see JOY from where I was at, let alone experience it. (This is actually a mindset shift that helped me immensely - momentum.... Thoughts and states of being gain momentum in your unconscious brain and become easier to maintain. Like exercise.
Here are my top 10 things I decided to REFUSE to do and/or be as a parent.
1) To feel shamed by any other mom or parent or human on earth.
Why do we care so much what other people think? Diversity is the beauty of life... I raise my child my way, and you can raise yours your way. (Barring ALL instances of neglect and abuse, OBVIOUSLY) And guess what, when we stop worrying what other people think (and worrying about what other people are doing) we will get aligned with people of the same mind set and the haters will fall away (making life SO much easier 😁 )
2) To choose to not trust my gut and instead listen to the chatter around me
Our gut is a powerful thing. We have forgotten how to trust our instincts and our emotion. It is attached to a much broader perspective. I chose to listen to mine and life is so much more wonderful.
3) To sacrifice my precious time with my kids for responsibilities sake
This one is an interesting one for me because for one: I love to work... ALOT... I enjoy my quiet space when Amma (my mom) takes the boys so that I can work. In addition to that, I also love the feeling of a clean house and I feel that the organization adds to the joy of our family. Having said that, I am no longer uptight about laundry and dishes and a perfectly coifed yard.
4) To push my kids when they aren't ready
All the baby books give you a list of milestones a hundred miles long.... I paid attention to it for like the first 6 months of life and then threw them away! My kids have personalities that are different and they are born with likes and dislikes that are palpable. I decided I wasn't going to care that they start potty training at 2 years. When Cruz felt interested, I let him take the lead and he did beautifully.
5) To feel the emotion of stress and anger while parenting
Stress and irritation: oh how I loath those emotions. They make me unproductive, miserable and cause me to act in ways I don't like to act; short with my kids, unable to hear their questions etc... I decided I never wanted to feel those yucky feelings again. So I set out on a journey to figure out how to eradicate (or at least GREATLY minimize) the chance of them happening. Turns out, it's an inside job. A very effective one. I can't control the outside world (and why would I want them to pander to my delicate state of being?) I made mindset shifts and they stuck because I wanted them to. I practiced them into being stable. I became them.
6) To choose laziness
Sometimes it takes a bit of effort in order to set yourself up for success in the long run. Sometimes I feel more like scrolling Instagram than getting fun projects set up for the boys or cooking with them. But the desire to connect with my babies was much more powerful than my desire to be lazy for 30 minutes. So, I said no to laziness.
7) To hurry my child for the sake of time
Kids are slower than adults, kids are slower than adults. Their brains are being exposed to so many new things that it takes a bit of time to create the synapses that happens with the neurons. They move slower because their brain is scanning and firing and wiring those neurons. When you get irritated that they are taking so long, just imagine their brain full of tiny sparks creating a brand new frame work via the experiences it is being exposed to.
Plus, I don't like feeling irritated and I don't like my kids feeling bad for doing something that is perfectly natural and that they have no control over!
8) To defer to another adult over my kids needs
I stopped forcing my kids to pander to an adults need for attention or respect. Kids are excellent judges of energy and character and if they are uncomfortable then THEY get to decide what action they would like to take. When they feel understood and they feel they have the freedom to choose, they typically don't act out. And if they do I try to figure out if they are hungry or tired and I use it as an opportunity to teach some emotional IQ. Kids experience big emotions and I will not allow them to be coerced into feeling guilty or bad for what they are feeling.
9) Take one moment for granted
Yes, I know you guys know that time goes fast... but I don't really even pay attention to that, or mean that. What I mean by "not take one moment for granted" is I try to get as much life out of every moment as I can so that each moment feels like a squeezed out and tossed lemon haha! I don't mean adding more ACTION to a moment to make the most of it, but to be able to look within that moment and feel the most amount of joy and satisfaction by focusing on all of the things that are going so right.
As with all things, this skill builds on itself and it gets better and better and easier and easier. The goal is for it to become second nature.
10) To not do my darnedest to create a joyful life for all of us
See above posts. My intention for this life is to be as satisfied as I can. And I firmly believe that there is no end to the amount of satisfaction and joy one can experience.
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