There is a reason my bio describes me as “gentle yet direct”. Maybe it’s the fact that I was born under the sign of Gemini and maybe it’s because of the passion that burns within me to help parents liberate themselves from parenting ways that just don’t work for them – so they can make the most of the time they have with their kids. Either way, I walk the line of compassionately advocating for healthy, gentle parenting choices by offering the truth.
Who am I to offer “the truth“? Allow me to explain how I offer it.
I offer the raw truth of the my story, the truth of what is possible for parents who are willing to explore in great depth their own psyche and motivations, the truth of what I hear they don’t want in their parenting experience, a clear reflection of what they do want and how they can bring that about.
I offer the truth of my present moment interaction with the parent, what I am hearing-sensing-feeling, what can transpire if one suspends limitation for a moment, and possible practices that may assist in achieving ultimate parenting goals.
I offer the truth that all of the ideas we think are “the truth” are just ideas. We must make determinations for ourselves about what ideas we hold true because ideas are what become our words, then actions. If we are experiencing suffering of some sort we get to be responsible for finding our way out of it, asking for help when we need it.
I used to feel like parents “should” do it this way or that way, for the baby, for the parent, for the environment, for the planet. Now, I release judgment to meet the parent in the moment with love. It looks like this.
Accept. I accept each parent as a magnificent being who I am privileged to be interacting with. If this is a struggle at any point I choose to notice judgmental thoughts and focus on appreciating this person for who they are right now. The particular parenting style the person engages in is irrelevant. I acknowledge the person as unique and valuable. I look for ways to see the truth that this parent is more like me than different. I believe we both want the best for our children and to enjoy the parenting experience.
Listen. I listen on the inside first. Focusing my attention on the rhythm of my breath, the space inside of my body, noticing any thoughts or reactions I am having, I become present in the moment with myself and the other parent. I notice any judgments that arise and see them as that – human judgments – not fact or fiction, per se. Just judgments. Then I can fully listen to the other parent.
Maybe we’re just having a casual conversation or maybe we’re watching our kids play. If something comes up that needs attention I listen deeper. I find it amusing to watch the thoughts that may come up in response to certain situations or topics of interest. It is fascinating how the mind makes connections from this to that, all for the purpose of coming to a conclusion or judgment. Watch your mind for a while – it’s a trip.
Honor. If I need to attend to my child I will do so in the way that works for me and honors the others in our presence. It’s taken some practice to be able to do this. A large part of the parenting journey is about working through other people’s judgments, which often reflect inner judgment we’re holding onto without realizing it. Of course, once we realize it we can let it go or transform it into a strength.
I encourage parents to honor themselves and their children in the ways that work for them and to make changes as necessary. Once we approve of ourselves we realize the need to change another, have someone agree with us or impose our ideas on another literally melts away. We may also experience a synchronicity in our interactions where the people we are around have similar values or can benefit from what we have to offer.
Offer. Sometimes a helpful idea pops up and I offer it as an option. Maybe a parent is struggling with a certain aspect of life or a child’s behavior. I tune into what they are looking for – sympathy, a space to vent or a solution. I offer space and solutions that communicate the parent is exactly where they need to be, they have the guidance inside to navigate life and that they are finding their way to the parenting experience they desire.
I offer this because I feel it is the truth.
Are you struggling as a parent? If so, I’d like to share something with you: a story and some hope.