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Choosing Presence (aka Sane Parenting Challenge)

Are you ready to create some space for change? Let’s start by imagining an all-too-common parenting scenario.

Sane Parenting?The house is a mess (or going in that direction), you haven’t had enough sleep (or something else is bothering you), your child seems upset for some unknown reason and you’re about to emotionally collide. You know your own tendencies in such a situation. Maybe you hold it together until everything falls apart, maybe you blow up or shut down. Either way, something lacks and you’re not satisfied with your response or your parenting experience. What gives?

Space. Simple space.

When we’re faced with challenges we can find ourselves reacting in ways we’d like to discard. Creating literal space – physical, mental and emotional – allows us to see and change our patterned responses. Parenting challenges will come and go, and we can learn to navigate them like a sailor learns to navigate stormy waters – harnessing the power of the waves to ride the storm and make the most of the journey.

Choosing Presence is an invitation to fundamentally choose the way you respond when parenting feels intense, one moment at a time – as you embrace the opportunities in the challenges. During this six week challenge we gradually practice simple skills to address how we experience the crazy aspects of parenting from the inside.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
–Victor Frankl

What skills are we practicing?

Mostly, the ability to stop and notice what we’re experiencing. While stopping may seem like a small piece of the puzzle, this microskill is the solid foundation necessary for any lasting change. We must stop ourselves to choose a different response. We have to interrupt the momentum of the past to choose the momentum of the present and create a different future (one based on intention instead of reactive patterns that no longer serve our goals).

Second, the ability to choose compassion, understanding and gentleness with ourselves (and our children) as we address our feelings and responses. How often are we hard on ourselves? Learning to simply notice what we’re feeling while choosing to acknowledge what negative (and positive) associations we may have to what we are feeling allows us to change the way we respond on the inside – which helps us to be able to respond differently on the outside.

Third, we practice concrete skills (like The Sit Down) to change the way we respond when we feel angry, sad, furious, melancholy, depressed or otherwise yucky. (You know, those intense times when you wonder either why you signed up for this or whether you’re really qualified to parent children). I’ve also written Navigating Emotions for Parents, an ebook with 20 exercises similar to those we practice, and you can download the book as part of the challenge.

What’s the goal?

Mainly, to become skilled at stopping ourselves in the moment so we can gradually choose the presence we bring to parenting. In addition, to cultivate a new relationship with the crazy aspects of parenting, ourselves, emotions and in result – our families. Feel free to create your own goals, too.

Will this be difficult?

Choosing Presence is simple – and comprehensive. Simple doesn’t always mean easy, or comfortable, and we do dig deeply into the experience of noticing ourselves and our reactions when things get crazy in our lives.

If you’re on the fence, I encourage you to simply decide what you really want for your parenting experience. If you have no desire for change or don’t find a one moment at a time approach to life very practical, this challenge may not be for you (although choosing to experience present moment awareness may still be beneficial).

If you find yourself at a crossroads and you know inside that you can benefit from support to make small changes you can continue, I invite you to join today and gradually choose the presence you bring to parenting.

The Details

Simple challenge, simple delivery (at least that’s what I intend)! Here’s what you need to know about the challenge…

Length – Six weeks (ample time to practice simple microskills long enough to notice a difference). Start whenever you want, stretch it out or keep up with the insights – it’s up to you. Most of the challenge is about practicing in your daily life rather than sitting at the computer to read or listen to lengthy instructions.

Format – Once you register below you can login and access the weekly exercises. They are available to read and listen here or download. You can move through the challenge at your own pace, reading the insights and practicing the meditations at your leisure. Additionally, you will receive the weekly exercises by email. Mostly, I invite you to take what you read and experience here and fold it into your life in ways that are meaningful to you.

Support – Feel free to email me for quick support as you work through the challenge.

Cost – $17 (contact me directly to pay what you can). The challenge was previously offered as pay what it’s worth, and if you feel it’s worth more or less than $17 after you complete the challenge I encourage you to contact me to discuss a refund or feel free to click here and explore some options for paying forward any benefit you experience with the challenge.

About the Facilitator – In three words: reformed angry mom. I still experience challenges and I am continually learning new ways to choose how I respond. I am entrusted with five lively children who teach me daily. I still yell sometimes although I no longer belittle or put my hands on my children forcefully. I’m a trained meditation facilitator and what I share comes from practicing in everyday life, certified parent educator (since kids don’t come with a manual) and author of the Navigating Emotions for Parents ebook and Force Free Parenting – a book being written about the role of force in adult-child relationships while providing viable alternatives (although I’m not sure when/if the book will actually reach completion). Most importantly, I feel my main qualification is determination. (If you’d like to learn more about me, please read this welcome message or contact me with questions).

Are you ready?

If you’re not quite ready, consider starting with Navigating Emotions for Parents. If you are ready, click on the button below to pay via Paypal. Please make sure your Paypal email is up to date and/or put the email you want to use in the notes section of your payment so I can contact you if any issues arise with your registration. Please make sure to complete your transaction and come back to after the purchase. You will be directed to create a login and then you can download the challenge from the Member Area. Thank you for your interest and please contact me with any questions you may have.

Sane Parenting Challenge – $17

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What Parents Are Sharing

I have started to notice that by pausing to be aware of myself in challenging moments, I am able to work through them more effectively. I still get angry, and I still sometimes raise my voice, but have been able to avoid the full on yelling rages that had me filled with guilt and shame just a few short weeks ago. — Joella

Just this morning I was cooking lunch while my daughter and step-sister played outside. I popped my head out to check on them and my daughter was digging in the mud. It wasn’t a big deal, but they were only supposed to be outside for just a quick minute until their pizza cooled. I was able to pause, breathe, and remind myself that not only is it natural for her to want to play in the mud, it wasn’t a big deal and we could easily get her cleaned up quickly in time to eat lunch. It’s amazing what even the briefest of pauses do for our self-reflection and sanity. — Jessica

I can feel more calm and peace, palpably. I suspect you are sending some smooth, loving energy with your words. So with this challenge, also started four weeks of self-care for me. I find it easier to provide *self-care* for myself with a bit of extra money, which is grande. And so, I found a lady through who came over last night, did the dishes and rearranged my display shelves for me. I carted several boxes away and it’s breathingly wonderful to feel more *open* – as in more *space*. So I’m taking space to not just be figurative, but open space in my home. Will continue this practice through our time. Thank you, Amy Phoenix!!! Much gratitude — Mica

Rather than stopping by guilt and not exploring further, I have committed my self to find joy and happiness, and embrace my humanness, so that gives me space to go deeper with my emotions. Thank you so much for this opportunity. It is big! — Tine