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The Purejoy Parenting Blog

Trying Too Hard

Trying Too Hard

My girl, she’s 9, said to me the other night as we were winding down for bed…

I’m sad- and I don’t know why.

It struck me- that she was just willing to be with the feeling of sadness.

I asked her- how is that for you?

She said- sad.

So we just sat there, with sad- her eyes filled with tears as I wrapped my arm around her shoulders.

And I noticed that in me, something that wanted to fix it for her- so I took a deep breath and just noticed both of us.

I had to ask – is it ok to just be sad, in this moment? And not know why?

After-all- here it is, in this moment.

Can we just stay with it for a bit? Nothing to fix or change?

And in that moment I was learning from my girl.

She was so willing to just be with this energy in her body that she calls sad.

When I notice what I call ‘sad’ in my body- I quickly try to figure it out. I push that energy away a lot.

I try, really hard. Too hard.

To name it, and fix it, and often get my environment to get on board with my trying.

I ask the kids to clean up, and stop what they are doing, and pay attention to me.

I notice that I get frantic and I push and force and want to fix.

I clean, or try to have conversations and distract myself from the energy.

I try to change the external.

Sometimes tho-  more and more- I catch myself.

I recognize the sensation in my body, I feel the feeling, or hear the old story running through my mind.

Of- you’re never enough, or- will you ever get this? or- this is all going to come back on you!

And I pause- and SafeSeat.

I hear the one in me who is trying, so. hard.

I say to her — Oh Love, here you are.

You’re sad.

Of Course- you want them to cooperate, and of course, you want them to listen.

I feel her and see her and let her know I’ve got this.

And then I choose a behavior that is more present for all of us.

Oh- this is my energy! What can I do with it?

Do I have a need? Would I like to ask for support?

How about you? What is your ‘sad’ like?

Can you stay with it? For just a bit?

Long enough to really hear what it wants to say?

What energy is now available to you?

Raising A Kid?

Raising A Kid?

What if you aren’t raising kids- as much as creating an environment of emotional safety around them that supports them growing into the brilliant human being they are becoming in this life?

My son is 18. He says to me every now and then of his siblings- ‘you would never have let me do that as a kid’.

He’s right.

When he was little I asked him to reflect to me how I was a good mom.

My parenting didn’t make room for-

His big feelings that brought up my own big feelings- I wasn’t willing to feel.

His desires that asked something of me- to know and set my limits.

His personal expression that cast me into a fear of the future- I made assumptions and worried that others would judge us.

I expected that he play a character in my environment that I needed to reflect to me my worth and success as a parent. It was all about me!

Now, in my SafeSeat practice, I meet my own feelings, desires and expressions- my vulnerability – with kindness.

I take them back inside and out of the projections and expectations I used to place on my children.  I love myself- in my full range of being human.

From here I’m ready and trust that I can meet everything that my children bring to me with kindness and connection also.

The more I meet and love those parts in me, I discover my own brilliance.

All those big feelings, all those beautiful desires, all that life force energy wishing to be expressed.

When I do this, I am creating an environment where I meet my children every day in their own discoveries of who they are- their brilliance!

I’m a parenting coach and astrologer who loves to read and study!

One of the kiddos loves rock climbing, socializing and playing music.

One is most at home in his room, tells funny jokes, and loves gaming and pop culture.

One is a free spirit who draws and day dreams and sees magic in tiny things.

One is a snuggle bug who loves Pokemon and math problems and staying up late.

One loves to bake, write notes, and play any and all board or card games. 

What Purejoy to recognize each of our unique brilliance.

A Story of SafeSeat in Action

A Story of SafeSeat in Action

I thought you might enjoy hearing a story from a client of the SafeSeat in action.

“I find myself intrigued and awed by the possibilities that reveal themselves with the SafeSeat practice.

As sung in Encanto, I wonder what else I can do!

For me, the SafeSeat practice offers possibilities of MORE.  More love, more laughter, more rest, more connection, more learning, more creativity, and more embracing vulnerability.

Despite my best intentions, I still found myself engaging in a power struggle with my four-year-old over glitter and glue.

Usually, I might criticize myself: ‘Why did I let this happen? How could I think I could handle this? What’s wrong with me that I’m arguing with a child?!’

Instead, I recognized that I was emotionally triggered. I moved the glitter temporarily out of reach and took to my SafeSeat as my daughter cried in protest.

Although I wasn’t consciously aware of working through the steps, I suddenly felt a wave of compassion for my younger self. 

‘Of course, young Nina wants to protect the art supplies!’
‘Of course, young Nina doesn’t want to have to clean up a mess!’
‘And of course, young Nina wants to do things her way!’

At the same time, I felt compassion for my daughter in front of me.

‘Of course, she wants to do things her way!’
‘It must be so scary to have these big feelings and not know what to do with them!’

I was clearly able to see both sides of the conflict and, after offering compassion to myself, I opened to my adult capacities by turning towards my daughter in her distress.

By this point, my daughter’s cries had elevated to screaming, pushing, and kicking. I swooped her up in my arms and carried her to the couch.  As her rage continued, I felt so loving towards both my young daughter and towards my younger vulnerable one inside.  I spoke from a place of emotional safety as I said to her, ‘I know it feels dangerous right now, AND I am safe and you are safe.  I don’t like to be pushed and kicked. You can push and kick the pillow, the blanket, the chair, etc…’

Finally, as I was holding her arms, she stilled. Her rage shifted as she cried out for connection. We cuddled for a couple of minutes, and then she gleefully asked me to throw her against the couch cushions again! We played, tickled, and laughed for a few minutes before going back to our crafts.

The Kids Are Ok!

The Kids Are Ok!

I was in the middle of the kid’s leggings section of Target with my girls the other day – a feelings rich place for all of us. 

I knew we weren’t the only ones- I related to another mama who had the same agenda as me, get in there, get the things we need, get out. 

Through my Purejoy journey- I’ve stepped into taking responsibility for my feelings while checking in with my girls and asking them what their desires are and then opening to the possibility that we can all get a little bit of what we want- it’s been connecting.

But this particular day it was feeling extra wild.

Noticing how tense I felt I checked in with my own feelings- when I heard the other mama- whose kiddo was starting to cry – ask, what’s wrong?

Because I was already in my Target version of SafeSeat on the go- I heard those two words- very clear- from a different place, from safety.

The kiddo was having a feeling, expressing it- and the question- what’s wrong?

I feel it in me too- what’s wrong?

Then hearing another part of myself inside- what if nothing is ‘wrong’?

What if the kiddo is ok? What if I’m ok?

Over the next few weeks as I moved into inquiry mode – I noticed what happened when I thought and said, what’s wrong?

I heard other parents saying it too- my partner, my friend, a teacher- I noticed how common it was to go straight to what’s wrong? I noticed all the times I did it too.

So I did an experiment- I took the other side- I said, what’s right? And I felt into that too.

In opening to my curiosity, a deeper thing happened. The question became: what is here?

Nothing wrong or bad.
Nothing right or good.

Just what is.

The kids are ok!

They are so fine with feeling, expressing, and owning what is present for them in the moment.

I started trying out their wisdom- I’m having a feeling, there is nothing wrong or bad, or good and right.

Just a moment, of feeling.

I notice giving myself a pause- to recognize the feeling, and then I can choose to show up in the moment in my adult self.

Now going back to  the original question- of ‘what’s wrong?’ I realize the projection of my own discomfort on my kids and I can see that my capacity for those feelings has grown.

Check it out this week- do you find yourself saying ‘what’s wrong?’ or “this isn’t right? What is present for you if the kids are ok! -no matter what you perceive about their moment.

Of Course, You Yell At Your Kids!

Of Course, You Yell At Your Kids!

Growing up in your home you took on a certain view…often it was your caregiver’s view of the world. Since you were young you saw the world the way your caregivers did. Even though as you grew your view changed and often times was counter to your caregivers, when you get emotionally triggered your early view arises. 

When you are emotionally triggered you are relating to your trigger, not to your present moment experience. This can be so challenging because you have worked so hard to create a world where your children can live a different life than you did. It is painful to witness yourself acting out when rationally you know all the “right” things to do for your children to grow and thrive. 

Take heart, sweet ones…This happens to all of us. Hiding deep in your unconscious are those early templates that of course, you took on. You were young and impressionable and your caregivers were the main source of nourishment. You couldn’t walk out and get new parents so your view was formed and influenced by your environment. 

Take this in and see if you are willing to offer yourself kindness in this moment. Open to the possibility that your acting out is not a conscious decision…it arises deep from your unconscious and it is possible to pause and offer kindness to this younger part of yourself. 

You are trying to take care of yourself just like your children are when they express their BIG feelings. What would it be like to honor you and at the same time honor them?

Ahhhhhh! Take a moment to receive this and see what it is like to release yourself from the guilt and shame that threatens to keep you from the precious present moment. 

This week, see what it is like to move to your SafeSeat especially after you act out. Go there…open your heart to the one inside who is struggling. You also deserve love for being exactly who you are in the moment. 

Do You Value Your Child?

Do You Value Your Child?

When do you feel most valued in your relationships? Is it when another makes space for your opinions, thoughts, ideas and truly shows interest in who you are?

Often with our children we take up most of the space with our opinions, thoughts, ideas and wanting to be listened too. So, can you imagine how your child might feel when they try to share and you need to be “right” or in control? Hmmmmm! 

Standing in the position of the “all knowing one” puts us in the position of needing to be “right” which often forces our child into the position of being “wrong”. We often think we know what is best for them and yet do we really? Maybe, we know what is best for us, which is for our children to do what we say, when we say it and do it with a smile on their face. 

It’s easy to forget that our child is a separate being with different thoughts, ideas and values, especially when we feel insecure in our parenting. Needing to be the authority gives us a certain sense of power which often mask our feeling powerless and doubt in whether we are doing it right or not. 

If feeling emotionally threatened by your child’s differences you may find yourself criticizing and shaming them for their difference instead of honoring their unique brilliance. Slowing down and recognizing the value in seeing your child as a separate being with their own likes and dislikes is empowering in the long run. It makes space to support them in knowing themselves while also giving you the space to honor yourself.

Showing your child that they bring great value to your life is supportive in building their self-esteem and feeling like they matter. 

This week, notice when your child does something that adds value to your life and let them know. See if you notice a little twinkle in their eye as you recognize their brilliance.

Self Reflection

Self Reflection

Are you committed to your self-care? Do you have a practice for inner reflection? I know, I know when are you supposed to do that with all that is going on in your life? And yet, I found without time for myself to self-reflect on my internal experience I spent most of my time trying to control my external one.

Trying to control my daughter’s behavior to manage my internal experience did NOT work. At times, if I used enough power over I could get her to behave, and yet it never felt good in my internal experience. Each time she acted out and I strong-armed her it took a lot longer to re-engage in a connected way.

Taking time in my SafeSeat, offering kindness to my internal experience meant I could stay in the middle of the action “growing” myself up emotionally. Then I could ride my daughter’s emotional waves while supporting her instead of seeing her behavior as an emotional threat.

Building the capacity to stay with whatever is arising in your internal experience, without acting it out, takes time and a commitment to your SafeSeat practice.

As you continue to move to your SafeSeat, when your internal signals are firing, over time you’ll learn to separate out the past from the present. When you are emotionally triggered you are having a relationship with your trigger not the present moment interaction with your child.

Choosing to go inward instead of outward takes courage since our culture is so focused on controlling the child’s behavior. I chose to take responsibility for my internal experience instead of blaming my daughter’s behavior on causing it.

You can too.

Next time you notice you are emotionally triggered move to your SafeSeat offering yourself kindness. Give yourself what you are seeking from your child. Practice, practice, practice and eventually you’ll become the act of kindness.

What a gift to you and your child.

Who Has The Power

Who Has The Power

When my daughter started behaving in ways I didn’t think she should I was flummoxed. I thought inside “I’m treating her well and meeting all her needs on-demand so what am I doing wrong?” She was acting defiant and expressing a lot of rage and this wasn’t part of my parenting plan which I was sure was going to work.

I had studied, I’d done personal work and I waited until 44 to be a mom. I was determined I was not going to be my mom and yet everything was backfiring and I didn’t know where to turn.

In my frustration and feeling powerless my emotions were extremely volatile. Rage, just like my moms, came up and I found myself screaming like a crazy woman and running to the bathroom over and over determined not to act out on my daughter. I felt held hostage by my four-year-old.

She was in charge because I had given her the power. I wasn’t sure how to take it back in a healthy way. The template I’d grown up with was a “power over” model and I was sure I didn’t want to do that. What I did instead was take the other side and gave in which led her to power over me. Of course, she took the driver’s seat because I kept handing it to her.

What this looked like was me asking her questions that were WAY too big for her to be making as a four-year-old like, “where do you want to eat?” instead of “tonight, we are eating at ……”

I was confused because I didn’t want her to feel angry with me…and yet let me tell you I was really angry with her for taking over and always saying NO to whatever I wanted. ! I’d lost my empowerment to steer the boat.

Only when my rage entered the field was I willing to step out of the position of the victim. I was determined to empower myself instead of powering over my daughter like my mom did me. As crazy as it sounds I am forever grateful for my daughter expressing her rage so I could meet mine.

Once I saw that I’d made her the location of my rage I turned back inside and met my rage with loving-kindness. It was a young rage of having to give myself up to please my alcoholic mom. It was a young rage having to do whatever my dad wanted instead of being supported to follow my dreams. There was a LOT of RAGE stored inside and until I was willing to look at it my daughter took it over.

Slowly, as I turned towards the rage instead of avoiding it something quite miraculous opened. Under the rage I met my desires that I’d subordinated to fit into my family. I found my wisdom….my insight…and my courage to show up the way I wanted.

Finally, I sat down in my being and therefore empowered myself as a parent offering my child a healthy mature mama!

Building Self-Esteem

Building Self-Esteem

How is 2022 going so far? This year, we are going to dive a bit deeper into the Pillars of Purejoy. These are the Purejoy foundations that are unique and distinct to the Purejoy Parenting model. At Purejoy we don’t focus on controlling our child’s behavior instead, we focus on our internal experience while working with the emotional triggers that arise when our children behave in certain ways. 

I found when looking outside for advice or methods to control my daughter’s behavior I wasn’t trusting my internal wisdom. Comparing myself with other parents was brutal. It seemed at the time that other parents didn’t struggle as much as I did. I knew I wasn’t interested in consequencing or punishing my daughter when she behaved in ways that triggered me, and yet I was stumped as to what else to do. 

Where was my internal wisdom hiding?

I assumed it would just show up when I needed it and yet when parenting I had to dive deep to find my true knowing. First, I had to turn towards the behaviors in myself that I was still judging. Making peace within brought peace without. 

Slowly, I turned inward instead of outward trusting that if I didn’t control my daughter’s behavior the world wouldn’t end. As I sat, it got clearer and clearer that when my daughter acted out she was trusting herself. She wasn’t trying to please or placate me which I learned to do. She was expressing her internal experience and looking to me for support. 

Finally, as I trusted I could stay with the intensity arising in my internal world, I showed up for my daughter in hers. This offered my daughter a safe environment to trust herself instead of looking to me for permission to be who she truly is. 

Give yourself time, Open your heart, and expect to see miracles as you welcome your wisdom to the table. 

Trusting Your Wisdom

Trusting Your Wisdom

How is 2022 going so far? This year, we are going to dive a bit deeper into the Pillars of Purejoy. These are the Purejoy foundations that are unique and distinct to the Purejoy Parenting model. At Purejoy we don’t focus on controlling our child’s behavior instead, we focus on our internal experience while working with the emotional triggers that arise when our children behave in certain ways. 

I found when looking outside for advice or methods to control my daughter’s behavior I wasn’t trusting my internal wisdom. Comparing myself with other parents was brutal. It seemed at the time that other parents didn’t struggle as much as I did. I knew I wasn’t interested in consequencing or punishing my daughter when she behaved in ways that triggered me, and yet I was stumped as to what else to do. 

Where was my internal wisdom hiding? I assumed it would just show up when I needed it and yet when parenting I had to dive deep to find my true knowing. First, I had to turn towards the behaviors in myself that I was still judging. Making peace within brought peace without. 

Slowly, I turned inward instead of outward trusting that if I didn’t control my daughter’s behavior the world wouldn’t end. As I sat, it got clearer and clearer that when my daughter acted out she was trusting herself. She wasn’t trying to please or placate me which I learned to do. She was expressing her internal experience and looking to me for support. 

Finally, as I trusted I could stay with the intensity arising in my internal world, I showed up for my daughter in hers. This offered my daughter a safe environment to trust herself instead of looking to me for permission to be who she truly is. 

Give yourself time, Open your heart, and expect to see miracles as you welcome your wisdom to the table. 

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