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The Purejoy Parenting Blog

Inspiration For Your Parenting Journey

Is This Permissive Parenting?

Oh no!!!! Is this PERMISSIVE parenting?!?!? (dun dun dun DUN!!!!!) 😨

When learning about about the Purejoy Parenting philosophy, it’s pretty common for parents to ask… aren’t I just letting my kid do whatever they want?

Thinking that you have the power to “let” someone do something or not is a conditioned belief.

One thing that differentiates Purejoy from other Parenting styles is that the focus is on examining your actions not your child’s. 🤔

Who are you without your conditioning?

Who is your child?

How are you supporting the child you have?

Check out this week’s Parenting Paused Podcast to discover more!

Parenting The Child You Have

You live in a culture that tells you how your children “should be”. Through the ages and stages, there is a lot of info that expects your child to measure up.

In Purejoy, we go a little deeper by supporting you in looking internally. What need are you trying to meet when you expect your child to act or be a certain way different than they are?

In Purejoy we view everyone as deserving love for who they are. Including YOU!

Enjoy the video blog and to hear more click on the podcast below, where I share what I learned the hard way! Hear the questions I asked myself as I learned to parent the child I had, instead of the child that lived in my fantasy.

 And give yourself a big hug for doing this challenging work!

 

 

Exploring vs Explaining

Exploring vs Explaining

This week let’s look at the difference between exploring and explaining.

Do you find yourself exploring with your child, exploring what’s going on, exploring their experience, showing up for them to explore their world, how they see things, the conclusions they’re coming to, the meanings they’re concluding? Or do you explain how the world works, how they’re supposed to think, what they’re supposed to do, how they’re supposed to be right depending on how you experience the world?

There is a strong tendency, especially when feeling powerless and uncomfortable with their actions, to fall back on explaining how things are. When doing this, can you see how little openness there is to explore their experience? Why is that? Usually when you step out of the known and into the unknown it will trigger a feeling you may have organized your life to not feel. If you resist this feeling one way is to fall back on the known.

 To truly explore you must open yourself to hear your child’s experience without judgment. As you listen, of course, it will trigger feelings about their experience and yet if you convince yourself your experience is the “right” one you will try to explain to your child why they are “wrong”. When emotionally triggered and something lights up inside that creates discomfort, do you try and shift their experience to be one that is comfortable for you?

 In opening the door to exploring it is important to stay in your own lane recognizing that you aren’t in control of your child’s experience. Maybe, you can control their actions and yet you can’t control what they think and how they feel. Trying to do this through explaining why you need to control them is an attempt to take care of yourself instead of exploring your child’s experience. 

Think about it. Why do you need your child, your partner or anyone to have the same experience you are having? Why do you need them to know your truth? It’s usually a way of seeking love, understanding and validation. You want to be known, right? The fear is that they might misunderstand you if you don’t explain your actions. 

What would it be like to explore that impulse inside you offering love, understanding and validation to your experience without needing the other to join you? Understanding that you don’t have the power to control what your child thinks or feels releases you to come alongside them as they explore their own. 

PRACTICE: Open your heart and your ears and listen to your child’s experience without taking it personally. Notice your internal judgments and stories as you listen. Refrain from trying to change their experience or even to question it. Reflect back what you hear asking them to tell you more. REMEMBER: this is their experience not truth. 

Knowing that their experience is about them and not you is empowering. Recognize their need for love. Open your heart to offering yourself and your child the opportunity to explore the terrain of the heart.

Examining Your Conditioning

Examining Your Conditioning

In Purejoy, the focus is on examining and exploring your internal experience in relation to your child’s behavior. Instead of controlling the behavior to change your internal experience you learn to question the meaning you put to your internal experience. 

 When feeling uncomfortable inside it is easy to blame the outside and then look for ways to control the behavior. Exploring that discomfort is a counter-instinctual move because of course you’d want to move away from the discomfort. And yet, turning towards the experience internally gives you an opportunity to sit in the seat of being a curious learner instead of a knower. It can be easier to sit in the seat of the all knowing parent and yet what is missed is the intimacy of the present moment. 

 Sitting in the seat of knowing what is best for your child, knowing what they should do or how they should be is based on your experience not on your child’s. 

 It can be disconcerting to experience the actual groundless ground in parenting in the present without depending on your knowledge. As you approach this you’ll often want to grab the wheel to get control. You’ll look to the experts, looking to the internet to find the answers and lose contact with your capacity to sit in the unknown which is where learning happens. 

 If you think having more knowledge in your parenting file is going to create more internal comfort…take a moment and question this assumption. Is your goal to control your child’s behavior so you feel good about you? Maybe not. 

 Being willing to sit in the seat of the learner offers you “getting” to know yourself, your beliefs, your feelings, your patterns and the templates you grew up with. 

In my experience my daughter “not listening” or “talking back” became an opportunity to know myself in a deeper way. I got to know my emotional triggers, I got to see my massive need to be in control, I got to see how terrified I was to trust myself and the intimacy of the moment. I learned to take full responsibility for my part in the dynamic with my child. 

Counterinstinctually, turning towards my fears and facing them opened my heart to truly living in the present. I realized focusing on the process of parenting was much more powerful than focusing on the outcome. 

 Practice: Notice when you feel discomfort inside when your child behaves in a certain way. Instead of controlling the behavior, take a pause, slow down and turn your attention to your internal experience. Is there a part of you that thinks you HAVE to know how to respond at this moment? If you don’t, do you feel like a failure? Do you need to know to feel OK? Just notice and offer yourself kindness for whatever you see. 

 Give yourself the gift of kindness and remember that opening to being the learner instead of the knower offers you and your child the experience of sitting in awe of each other. 

Starting Anew

Starting Anew

  

Excited I made it to 2023. 🤣 2022 was a challenging year and I’m looking forward to embracing the newness of 2023. How about you? 

Starting anew is the focus this week in Purejoy. What does that even mean? How do you enter your days stepping into the intimacy of the moment? Especially with parenting it often feels easier to fall back on book knowledge and conditioned thinking to guide you forward. Trusting in your capacity to enter each moment and to parent from your heart is a mighty task especially if you were trained to doubt yourself and your wisdom.
 
The question I always asked myself is “Where am I parenting from? “ instead of “how am I parenting”. Especially when I felt powerless to get my daughter to do just about anything…I’d desperately scramble looking in my knowledge bank for the answers. Being intimate with the feeling of powerlessness was not something I was supported to do. I was taught to resist that feeling, bury that feeling, run from that feeling, control that feeling as quickly as I could. In my desperation to avoid feeling powerless I searched for any and every way to control my environment and my daughter.                                         
Focusing on” if I parent this way then my child will turn out this way” is parenting in the imagined future. Focusing on “meeting the moment with an open heart” is parenting in the present. Entering into the experience in the present is an opportunity to offer support for your child’s experience not sharing your experience of what you believe to be true.                
Everything you offer your child is based on your experience and knowledge and probably worked for you. And, yet your child is having a different experience, living in a different environment and facing different circumstances than you did. Their world is filled with experiences you didn’t have. Did you have access to unlimited information at your fingertips? Probably not.
 
Meeting your child’s world and experience often triggers feelings of powerlessness and can challenge your role as a parent. If you feel you need to be in control of what they do, how they do it, when they do it as an attempt to prepare the for the future you are refusing to be intimate with the moment.                                                                                                                              
The truth is it is extremely vulnerable to open up the groundless ground you find yourself on. Searching for ways to control the discomfort, you feel inside, keeps you from fully opening  the greatest gift of parenting: open-hearted relating.   
                                                                                                                   
Imagine offering your child the gift of your tender open heart instead of your knowledge of how to be in a world? What might our world look like if every child entered society with a heart filled with love and knowing they are a gift in and of themselves. Maybe, a lofty vision and yet it happens one child at a time. 
Working With Discomfort

Working With Discomfort

Here we are in the space between Christmas and New Year. So curious! Life is sort of just hanging out, the kids are home from school, we’ve had wild weather in the US that changed a lot of people’s holiday plans, and it’s the last week of 2022!

How was your Christmas? Your year? Are you ready to close it and begin a new one?

It’s been a big year for me! I’m coming up on the graduation of my 4th Purejoy Parent Coach training, I traveled to Lithuania, one son graduated from high school, we traveled as a family for 6 weeks in the summer, I’ve studied through numerous courses and read a handful of books. Lots of big growth, over here.

So what we’re taking a closer look at here today, as we consider the closing of the year and the beginning of a new one is how often we think that happiness is a lack of discomfort, of the hard things- yeah? Have you felt that way? Especially in your parenting. I know for me it’s often about, if I could just get this done, or if the kids would just get to bed, or go to school (we’ve had a lot of snow days here this year), then I would be comfier, and then happier.

I spend a lot of energy trying to create comfort.

It is really challenging when I feel uncomfortable, especially when it’s about my children and the ways they’re going about their life- how they behave, what they say, how they choose to spend their time. I often feel like I’ve done something wrong and I see how I parented some of my children from a different perspective when I was younger than the one I hold now after much parenting practice. There is a niggling voice inside that says- if I was getting this right by now it wouldn’t be so hard, or they would get along, or I wouldn’t be sad, mad, powerless, helpless. I should be more comfortable by now!

When I slow down and offer love to all of it, I sense the incredible amount of energy and power it takes to have complete control of the environment, especially my kiddos!

They are new to this world, they’re young, they are constantly growing, changing, adapting and forming. Their energy is exploring the world with pure curiosity and organizing- it’s not secure. It’s not predictable.

When I’m willing to see it this way- it’s almost laughable how hard I try at times to make sure that everything is always the same, that I have this desire to be able to make the environment take care of me.

I then take a look at what true happiness might look like for me, if I consider that it might also come with some discomfort too. (remember the battery analogy from a few blogs ago). If I only consider that happiness offers me comfort, and my children to be agreeable, then I’m not able to show up in the challenging moments for my kiddos. Then I’m going to use my power over or control song and dance to get us to change in the moment we are in. Our happiness is pinned on their good behavior or whatever it takes to make mama comfy.
I find myself in my own childhood memories of needing to be something for someone else, acting in ways towards my children I promised I never would!

When I started practicing loving kindness for all the parts of me in my SacredSeat, and I mean ALL of them- the uncomfy ones, the sad ones, the mad ones, I had to first learn how to be with them in my body. I said to myself, no one is wrong or bad here, it’s no one’s fault, these feelings are inside of me and I’ve just tucked them away for so long they’re foreign and out of practice. I wiling to welcome them back in, here in the safety of my imagination.

That set me up differently when I entered into the discomfort of my child’s ungroundedness. I wasn’t expecting them to tether me. Rather, I grounded into my moment, just as I was, all feelings welcome and offered them support for exactly what was arising for them in the moment as well.

That practice was very supportive for me, it still is, but what has been so profound is practicing with other parents who are in similar situations, parenting their children. I was invited to the Purejoy view by one of my closest friends. We started out in a Parenting Paused course together almost 6 years ago and we’ve talked weekly, often daily ever since! I don’t have to go this alone. I would not be where I am today in my parenting, a place I deeply appreciate, if it wasn’t for finding a friend in the same work.

If you’re curious to join in practicing with other parents we have an opportunity for you! The SacredSeat 30 day challenge will kick off on January 2. This is a group experience where we spend the first 30 days of the new year together. You’ll get daily prompts to turn back towards the vulnerable part of you that still wishes to control your environment. You’ll have an opportunity to discover old strategies that kept you safe as a child and yet keep you from showing up more present and grounded for your child. You’ll receive community support and love to offer kindness to yourself and your family.

For more info – Click Here

How Do You Treat Yourself?

How Do You Treat Yourself?

Welcome to all of the new folks who have made your way here via the Happily Family conference!

This week we’re talking about how you treat yourself.

When my kiddos were little I was really focused on having a healthy relationship with them. I wanted to be the best mom ever- that they knew without a doubt that they were so very loved!

I didn’t know anything about how to turn back and have a relationship with myself. I was not aware of all my interactions with myself that were running in the background of my life.

I had this whole internal experience that I was unaware of- I had so wisely learned to focus on the external as a little one. It was second nature to keep my attention on them and their behavior and attempt to manage that.

The gift of my SafeSeat practice opened up my awareness of how this was working inside of me. It offered a really beautiful space to cultivate a loving relationship with internal parts of me that were longing to be seen and heard. It was a really different way to be, to put my attention inside instead of focusing outside. .

When I did it was shocking to witness all the hate and aggression that lived in there! I saw how in stressful moments that aggression often snuck up and out in reaction towards my kiddos- even when I had all this effort invested in making sure they behaved in a way that it didn’t. It got in the way of my true love.

You too?

It’s important to remember that you weren’t born with the concepts that you were mean, rude, aggressive or selfish. None of those things existed in you naturally when you were a baby. You didn’t know that if you reached out to get your needs met, or following your desires, that you would be labeled. Over time, to take care of yourself, you began to self-aggress toward those parts of yourself and the behaviors they inspired to keep them in check.

The tricky part is that those repressed needs, wants and desires didn’t just go away. They’re still tucked way down inside there somewhere you put them when you were young and they were not met with love.

Now as a parent, when your child exhibits similar behaviors, driven by similar internal experiences, you sense that energy and your safety strategy takes over- you overpower them to try and bring comfort to your overloaded system. You control, punish, consequence or emotionally manipulate them so they will stop their behavior and then you can relax.

It’s really hard! So understandable <3
So in Purejoy we support you in turning inward , to your internal experience, to all those places you had to leave yourself to stay safe in the love and see what lives there.

For me, when I was able to do this, I realized I was controlling my kiddos so I didn’t have to feel all those repressed and abandoned feelings. If I could just get them to do what I wanted I could relax, be better, and feel like a good mama. I found myself ascribing labels to my kids the same way I was told my energy was not ok as a kiddo.

Turning back inward towards all those feelings and choosing to cultivate a loving relationship with myself I was able to show up in the moment for all the feelings my kiddos experienced without judgment, without labeling them and their experience.

When a behavior shows up that you don’t like, or triggers discomfort inside , ask yourself- where does that live inside of me? How am I treating myself? Am I being kind to my desires? Am I kind towards my needs? Approaching Christmas will probably give you some opportunities to practice, yeah?

What I found was that the support I was willing to give myself was also what would support my kids, to keep my heart open and in love with all of who they are.

Play and Laughter

Play and Laughter

Hello Everyone! Who’s getting excited about the holidays? Yeah? No?

I find myself a mix of serious-adult-must-get-things-done and also dropping into some of the wonder, awe and excitement my kiddos are bringing, as usual. 

I’ve said before here, but again… I LOVE kiddos and always have. I’m a mama to 5, I used to teach handwork to a Waldorf homeschool co-op, I’m an auntie, I became a parent coach, I really love understanding more and more about the world of the children around me. 

I see how as a culture we really put a lot on their shoulders as far as taking care of the adults.

The Purejoy view has really supported me to notice where I get stuck in the seriousness of life, of my mothering, my adulting, and then to open up to what is available to me when I’m willing to see through my child’s highest value of play- of delight and curiosity and exploring life as a gift all around us!

Kids love to have fun- to play and laugh!

I remember when I was a younger mama, I had these long lists of things for us to do. It was all centered around accomplishing things and getting them done. It was one step then another, even play time was scheduled! I was trying so hard to bring some resemblance of ease into our busy and full days. Most of the time I was barking at the kids to do this or that, to move to the next thing, to finish up, to start now. It was quite the agenda! I can see now how they were not able to meet my expectations, or my values, of order and accomplishment, of being able to end the day with a well-checked list. It wasn’t their job to make me feel better about my serious business of being an adult!

When I was able to slow down and look at this, I could feel the pushing and pulling in me.  Part of me seemed to feel it was dangerous to relax, have fun, and enjoy my kiddos. I had an old story that we had to be productive, and efficient, and get things done. We had to prove ourselves. 

As we often do here in this practice, I decided to at least try releasing the expectation, not make a list, take a deep breath and join their high value of laughter and playfulness. I made a commitment to learning from them!

I’ve cleared the schedule for long wanders following kids when there was shopping or errands to get done.

I’ve played video games with my big boys when I could have been napping with little ones. 

I’ve braided, knit, and sewn new creations with my daughter when I could have been working.


Early on in this practice I colored and drew pictures rather than dishes and laundry.

It blew me away!  The things still got done!

By the end of the day, or the week or the month, I recognized that I was far more open-hearted in our relationship than my previous form of pressuring myself and my kids to be so darn serious! 

I often interact with folks in my community and the Purejoy spaces who feel the same pressure I did back then. That the kids needed to learn to be responsible, and I was on a mission to do it!

What slowing down and noticing their delight did in me was that I actually saw that they were very responsible for the things that mattered most to them. When my agenda eased up on them and I began to own the things that mattered to me- i.e. toys picked up, garbage is taken out, school work finished a new creative energy emerged in me that supported us to work tougher more on the same page. If I was willing to consider their high values, I could actually work with them to get their cooperation with mine. 

We mixed my adult high values for some order and accomplishment, with theirs for connection with others and play!  I think that’s what the secret sauce was. We released the pressure to perform on that one, we made space for the reality of our days, and we were able to see it for what it was and engage with what supported us to all get along in them.

It’s not perfect by any means. It’s not always easy to link our values and work together. They let me know how much they don’t like to pick up their things or start their bedtime routine. What I notice now is that I can listen to their disgruntled expressions, and their whining and not take it as a personal attack on my serious attempts to accomplish my agenda and feel like a good mom. 

The BEST part is that I found out that I had a lot of fun when I entered into my kiddo’s world in this way. I actually had a blast playing video games, coloring, and creating!  When I turned back to my duties my heart was full and light of kiddo time I moved through those chores quickly in hopes to get back to something fun!

Now, after lots of practice, I’ve narrowed down my high values too! They never were checklists and rigor! That was learned. My high values are about learning, reading, and teaching so I make sure those are in there too. Fun time with kids, of course getting the responsibilities of adult life done, and then some minutes for me to read, think and write!

My encouragement this week is to take some time to consider what are your high values. See what it is like to honor play and laughter for your kiddos, but also to drop a dose of seriousness and pick up something you truly love to do!

 

Do you feel STUCK?

Do you feel STUCK?

Have you ever felt stuck!? 

It’s a common parenting conundrum, for sure. I’ve been there many times. I get stuck in frustrations, sadness, the mom guilt cycle we have talked about here before. 

In the Purejoy view we see that you are never truly stuck, but that you might have a one-sided view of the situation at hand. 

Here is a metaphor to support.  You’ve had a dead battery in your car before- yeah? You open the hood of your vehicle and locate the battery. It has two poles, one positive and one negative. In order to restore power to the dead battery you have to connect both of them to the support source. You have to hook up the negative and the positive.  If you only attach one, you will still be sitting there all day- you’ll be stuck.  And yet when you  connect them both you restore power and then you’re on your way!!!

So often when you are feeling stuck it’s because you’ve got one side of the situation hooked up.  The good news is you can practice hooking up the other side also.

In my own parenting journey there have been many times where I was only focused on the negative aspects of a situation with my child. For a time one of my kiddos was hitting quite a lot.  He was hitting his sister, the neighbor kids, even me a few times. It was intense, no doubt, and all I could see was that he was being aggressive, hurting others, and that if he couldn’t stop big bad things would happen to him, things that were way out in the future. 

I was really stuck, I could not get him to stop. 

I could make a long list of negative things I saw, the drawbacks of hitting, and quickly.

Here’s what I’ve practiced over time when I have a long list like that.  If one of the sides come quick and easy. I realize I have one side hooked up, and support myself to find the other side. First, I zoom way out, and see that the world is what it is- it’s moving along in neutrality and there truly is nothing wrong or bad- only what is. 

From that view I can challenge myself to find the other side. 

Back to the example of my son hitting.  I sat down with a fresh sheet of paper and said what are the benefits of him hitting!? I can still feel a whole body cringe to remember that moment. Benefits? Of hitting? But ok…I’m safe here sitting in my SacredSeat, in my imagination where in neutrality (the world view above) I trust there is the other side if I am willing to look for it.  I’m wishing to get unstuck with this one, and be in true relationship with my child in his moment.

I start by saying- find one, you can find one benefit of his hitting. So I borrowed the one he shared with me, that he really needed the neighbor kiddo to get away from him. Ok! self-defense, that’s one. Then a question that deepens- what’s the benefit of self-defense? He’s holding his boundaries.


I kid you not! Just a few moments into finding the benefits of hitting I felt more connected to my truth as a parent.  Something shifted for me. I saw the brilliance of my child’s behavior, of all the ways he was taking care of himself and setting boundaries. My energy was restored. I felt it in my body.  I was more relaxed, more present.  I had new and more creative ideas now to support my child with what feelings drove him to hit and the curiosity to connect both the negatives and the positives. 

It went on a bit more, and as I  uncovered more benefits, others revealed themselves. His hitting was yes, boundary-setting, but it was also his embodied feelings, it was communication.  Was it a mature way of getting his needs met, no. He was only seven at the time, after all. It really began to paint a picture of the support he might need, and the capacity he had to take care of himself in a moment I was not with him. 

I really felt the value of seeing the behavior from both sides, how it invited me into intimacy with my child and his feelings that drove it.

In time I applied this to other parenting moments I felt stuck in. 

With my teens and their love of video games! I was stuck in a view of only the negative, again. I thought it was all bad and they were rotting their brains! I believed many parenting tips I had heard about the negative effect of screen time. The list of why it was all bad was quick and easy. 

So I took the other side. I practiced- what are the benefits? What are the games like? What does screen time give them? I even tried some of their games!


I found relaxation, entertainment, delight, and consistency. They were engaged, they worked hard, and they were so happy! They were creative and expressive!

It was beautifully connecting to meet them where they were, in the experience they were having. I had to be willing to see the other side. 

Here’s what I know now. That the other side is always there it’s just that I’m fixated on the side that serves my beliefs or views. That’s how I get stuck. When I am willing to hook up the other side, the other polarity, I notice I am more free to be myself alongside my kiddos, supporting them to find what works well for them, for their life, and their experience. 

So try it this week- if you find yourself really listing out all the reasons something is positive or negative. Hook up the other polarity and see what kind of energy flows into your parenting batteries! 

 

How I Treat Myself

How I Treat Myself

Welcome, Welcome to those of you who have made your way here via the Happily Family Conference!

When I was young I dreamed that one day I would be a mama! I would pick out names and imagine outfits for my future children while I mopped floors at my first job as the church janitor.

I LOVE kids! A lot! I always have. I’m fascinated by them too!

I had all of my 6 kids in a span of 9 years- and of course, it was delightful to welcome each of them into the world, to actually name them- in real life, my girlhood dreams come true!

It was also really challenging- really hard at times.

One of my babes died of SIDS when he was two months old. I gave birth to twins! My partner worked out of state for long stretches of time. There were full days, even weeks where the only other humans I interacted with were my kids.

At times being a mom has meant isolation and unending exhaustion while trying to stay with the constant need for snacks and meals, rides to practice, clean clothes, big feelings, sibling squabbles, individual attention to the kids, time outside the house…the list could go on for quite a while.

I knew I still wanted to be a mama, but why was it so challenging- this one thing I had wanted so deeply? I never imagined it would be so hard.

You probably have your version of this too- yeah? How you both long to be a parent and it’s also really difficult.

Parenting really does have a profound way of showing us these disowned traits and unresolved energies we’ve been talking about over the last few weeks here in the Purejoy blog.

Until I became a parent, especially these long hard days at home with two babes and a toddler and the two big kids as well- I had been able to organize my life in such a way that I could avoid those feelings and traits.

If you find yourself in a hard or challenging place- first, offer yourself some loving kindness.

You can put your hand on your heart right now- and close your eyes and speak kindly to yourself.

I see you, Mama! This is really difficult! You are trying so hard! You love your kiddo so much! And, it’s a LOT!

It can be really difficult to see something this hard as an opportunity, but in my experience, that was the truth. My suffering gave me a chance to know and love myself in a more true way. I still hated that it was hard! But I did learn to love myself amidst it.

In hindsight, I can see now the opportunity that was there for me right in the middle of the difficulty and chaos- as these parts of me awakened in response to my children’s needs, wants, and the innocence of their self-expression. I was able to check out my stories, really listen to the ways I treated myself on the inside, and make new choices about that.

If you were at the Happily Family conference you probably heard Leslie’s talk about setting personal boundaries as an internal job- that’s how we view it in Purejoy. The definition of a boundary is – what is ok and not ok with me, about how I treat myself.  It’s not about how others treat me. Take a minute to really think about this one.

With this view of boundaries, I had to consider that I cannot expect my child to give me something I am not first willing to give myself. It’s not about controlling, or limiting, or punishing my kiddos to get them to behave in a way that I have not learned to take care of myself- to treat myself kindly.

This is a radically different way to see boundary setting- so give yourself some time to wrap your mind and heart around it.

For me, it took quite some time to really get what this meant.

There were lots of factors that supported me to believe that the only way for me to finally feel good inside, about myself, was to get everything in my environment under control and working well. So I kept limiting and managing my kids so that I could feel good about myself. It always backfired because I was working in relation to my own discomfort.

The discomfort was inside of me. It was about what I thought was best for them, what the books told me we should do, what my family said was best for kids, and how we never seemed to be nailing that! I was worried that too much sugar would rot their teeth- the dentist said. I was nervous that screens would fry their brains- I had read an article online. I was scared that their hitting each other would ruin their sibling relationship forever. If I could just get them to clean up, if I could just get them to eat better, if I could just get them off the screens- the internal judgment would stop and I could get out of my discomfort.

What this new view of boundaries supported me to do is take stock of how I was talking to myself- about who I was, what kind of mom I was being, about all the ways I was messing this up. It was brutal. I would never talk to another person the way I discovered I was running on autopilot always inside my mind.

I slowed down, way down in my SafeSeat, and got curious about how I wanted to treat myself. In that moment, I could make the switch to loving rather than hating, towards myself, before I moved to the kiddos. It took practice and still, there are times I blow past this one precious moment where I can access my choice as an adult. To honor a boundary about how I treat myself.